Termination of Reefton Hospital
4 October, 2018
c.6 October, 1988: Reefton citizens form a human chain around their hospital. I would love to read more about this whole phenomena of towns being assimilated. And, to write about it too.
Regions absorbed into the megalopolis, refusing to be assimilated. A continuation of the Abolition of the Provinces battle from 1876. New Zealand certainly started out as self-governing communities, beautifully anarchic in nature. Huge independence and vibrancy in community life. And when the ‘city’ came to absorb them into the Borg Collective, they battled for autonomy. I assume Reefton’s hospital, like many others, was part of this narrative.
It was in 1951 that local body funding of hospitals was eliminated. As economists understand, hospital expenditure and prudence is thus shifted away from ratepayer’s judgement and into the hands of big government. The hospitals ceased to function so well. The professional ethos and institutional knowledge wore away. Infrastructure in the hands of outsiders. “Medical treatment” mistaken for health care, “social work” for the improvement of community life, “police protection” for safety….etc.
By 1988 this hospital in Reefton probably was FUBAR because of state intervention. The Human Chain probably remembered it for what it only used to be. The State effectively, but not technically, closed it down so the people would now have to travel to Greymouth.
See also: Termination of Westland Hospital
Ref. These photos both contributions to West Coast NZ History (though, sadly, our Facebook page was re-named West Coast South Island History to pander to the same PC ethos that shut down this hospital!)
See also The New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound for the contemporary documentary on the hospital termination. It’s not online but, in my experience, if you ask them to action it then it soon will be done and we can all watch.