Seacliff History Hall opens at Wakari Hospital
A record of the important role Seacliff Hospital made to the development of mental health care in Otago and Southland will be on permanent display at Wakari Hospital from this week.
After over eight years of planning by a group of enthusiastic Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and former Seacliff staff, a Seacliff History Hall will be officially opened on Wednesday 2 November.
On permanent display will be photographs, narratives and memorabilia giving a snapshot of the significant role Seacliff played in the early development of mental health care.
Director of Nursing - Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Services, Te Whatu Ora Southern, Heather Casey says the idea of a Seacliff History Hall came about in 2012 at a staff reunion held to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the closure of Seacliff Hospital and marking 130 years since Seacliff opened.
“It was a very special occasion, with many of the older generation of Seacliff staff attending, as well as younger staff who were still working in the health service, but who had worked at Seacliff Hospital for short periods until it closed,” says Ms Casey.
“Shortly after the reunion, a group of enthusiastic staff and ex-staff decided that it was important to acknowledge the role of Seacliff Hospital in the development of mental health services in the Southern district and the idea of the Seacliff History Hall was born. A core group of about eight people have been working on this project for the past eight years. They’ve done a great job, especially because many were still working full-time.”
The group have been supported by staff at the Photo Gallery in Filleul Street, who have done a wonderful job on the photographs and also providing advice and ideas.
“We’re really pleased to be able to showcase the history of Seacliff Hospital. It is also important to acknowledge that the care and treatment provided there was the best available at the time based on best evidence,” says Ms Casey.
“The History Hall has been a labour of love and I’m very proud of everyone involved and those who have supported us to make it happen.”
The History Hall is located in the ground floor corridor, to the left of the main entrance of the main Wakari Hospital Building.