Access by Various artists

Read Post

Access: Some aspects of New Zealand's disability history - part two

103 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

  • Joe Wylie,

    If there are any graves on the site of the old state farm they may, for all I know, date from the time when the place was used as a reformatory or borstal prior to WW2.
    If they exist they're unmarked.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I guess People First have their sources, but I don't know specifically. Several of their members used to live there.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Just came across this fascinating piece about those family decisions about institutionalisation etc. Part of University of Otago’s Prof of History Barbara Brookes’ work on shame. A different academic approach to the topic.
    http://remedianetwork.net/2014/08/08/family-emotional-economies-and-disability-at-birth/

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    A gem, Hilary.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    This is a follow up story to the family that was going to be evicted from their rental accommodation and had nowhere to go. At the last minute a housing New Zealand home was released from the sales programme but it needs a lot of work before the family can easily live there. That work will take months, and in the meantime there is considerable extra stress and strain as they make do
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/65485571/long-wait-for-modifications-forces-boy-to-shower-at-stadium

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Gee, who would have thought they needed to start the housing modification process months before the family moved? #gasp

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Angela Hart,

    That work will take months,

    Actually, the 'work' won't take months.

    The paperwork will.

    Rips my undies it does when I read this rubbish...as if its a major widening a doorway (done it myself) or stripping out a bathroom (ditto) and leveling a floor(yep) and replacing drains and pipework (gee, I'm a clever girl) relining walls (piece of piss) and laying lino (ok, if pushed, but the adhesives are really yucky).

    This is not the Taj Mahal...its a minor bathroom renovation...made all the more easy if for wheelchair access.

    What has happened to this country that we have to make such a big deal of this stuff?

    Grrrrrrrr.....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    hey, the govt has an RMA-gutting bill for you :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Yayyyy!

    Peter and I had a random hook up with an ancillary medical person (in the disability field) at a campsite. This guy had started his apprenticeship the year Peter broke his neck...1970. He had helped make the pen holder Peter still uses today.

    We got all nostalgic for the good old days, when hand controls were put in cars in an afternoon with the odd dozen of beer in thanks. When the disabled person and the technician got together and worked out a practical solution for the problem. When form filling was kept to an absolute minimum...if there at all.

    When a bunch of guys from Lions or Rotary would rock on up and say, "hey, we'll get the gear together and do the job on the weekend".

    Ladies, a plate.

    Then they made the bureaucrats the key people and it all went to shit.

    And costs more!

    Still grrrrrrrr.....

    Architects, for a door widening and bathroom renovation????

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    When a bunch of guys from Lions or Rotary would rock on up and say, “hey, we’ll get the gear together and do the job on the weekend”.

    Ladies, a plate.

    Presumably that's how they buried the bodies at that little kiwi answer to Auschwitz, the hapless Kimberley Centre, back in those good old days. Seriously, part of me is still spewing over that vile piece of fantasy. Self-serving nonsense like that only degrades PAS.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Seriously, part of me is still spewing over that vile piece of fantasy. Self-serving nonsense like that only degrades PAS.

    Joe, I only know what I've read...and occasionally there is a hint that there are unmarked graves at the Kimberly site.

    I would also like to see more evidence, or have a former resident/staff accounts properly investigated.

    Kimberly was a horrorshow for some residents, and I don't believe there is enough in the way of available publications that tell those stories.

    It must be acknowledged that those former residents are from a section in our society who are routinely dismissed and their veracity undermined.

    Then, and now.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Joe, I only know what I’ve read…and occasionally there is a hint that there are unmarked graves at the Kimberly site.

    Apart from Hilary Stace's repeated allegations, based on unsubstantiated rumour? Seriously again, have you thought through the implications? In pretty well all of its incarnations Kimberley had a medical superintendent, a live-in doctor. Whose watch might these allegations have happened on? What about the head attendant and matron, who also lived on site? If anyone's having trouble naming them I could help with a few.

    As someone who grew up on the Kimberley site, and having what the events of the past year have confirmed as a lifelong involvement with someone with an intellectual disability, I've been broadly supportive of Hilary Stace's work. I'm dismayed, however, by what appears to be a condescension born of self-serving snobbery towards those who worked there. When I think of someone like Cath Page, who went way beyond the call of duty to introduce Montessori methods at Kimberley in the 1960s, equating the psychopaedic nurses of yesteryear with concentration camp guards seems utterly horrible.

    With the claim that bodies are buried on site, presented initially as if it were somehow sanctified by genuine research, is an unfortunate move into the murky world depicted in Lynley Hood's A City Possessed.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    "equating the psychopaedic nurses of yesteryear with concentration camp guards seems utterly horrible."

    Until someone pops up with a better response, and to keep the issue alive, I would have to offer that it would only take a small number of bad apples, and enough of the good one's remaining silent, to give the very real perception to some that indeed the nurses were 'guards'.

    This applies today, in the disability field. Shit is happening to some that need care, and others( also in the system) fail to speak up.

    This is well documented today. (I, or someone else, can post links to publications that prove this).

    And years down the track, when the history is written, those real stories of neglect and abuse at the hands of state funded carers will be lost because the insiders are writing the history and command the narrative.

    Many evils can be hidden in plain sight.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    t must be acknowledged that those former residents are from a section in our society who are routinely dismissed and their veracity undermined.

    Then, and now.

    Like any group they're a mixed bunch. To acknowledge that is to acknowledge their humanity. For example, the former Kimberley inmate in the link you provided appears to be telling a rather different story from the gentleman whose book Hilary Stace recommended upthread. Then there are people like this, who provide a disturbing reminder that not everyone with an intellectual disability can be safely condescended to.

    I'm a firm believer in the post-institutional promise of the 'ordinary life' offered by Pathways to Inclusion. I also believe that we're still a long way from achieving that promise, and that pointlessly denigrating our historical treatment of the intellectually disabled is a self-serving distraction.

    When I attended a parent teacher meeting at the then Avondale College special class back in the late 80s I was brought up short by the veteran teacher's casual mention of how she'd taught the mother of one of her current pupils. It was presented without judgement, but with the clear understanding that the disability was congenital. Despite claims to the contrary, the darker aspects of pre-WW2 eugenics have never prevailed in this country. We're far from perfect, but it would be a pity if we lost sight of our humane achievements by giving credence to unsubstantiated tales of skullduggery.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I would have to offer that it would only take a small number of bad apples, and enough of the good one’s remaining silent, to give the very real perception to some that indeed the nurses were ‘guards’.

    Rosemary, my mother was directed into psychopaedic nursing in 1940 at the age of 18 by the then Manpower Commission. Those familiar with Rita Angus's life story will be aware that she successfully opposed the attempt to 'manpower' her into work for which she was plainly unsuited.

    Perhaps my mother might have resisted if she'd been older, smarter, or better educated. As she'd hoped to train as a midwife her level of hardship may have been less than that experienced by others. There seems to have been an element of vindictiveness in some of the decisions made by the Manpower Commission. For example, my mother recollected two sisters, daughters from a Canterbury high country sheep station who'd enjoyed a privileged life with servants, being directed to work at Templeton. One of the sisters suffered a nervous breakdown. On an even darker note she spoke of "sadists" (plural) who "should never have been allowed near those people".

    I've seen no evidence that these "sadists" prevailed and made their way to the administration of the early Kimberley. Presumably they moved on to something better suited to their talents once the wartime exigencies had passed. However reprehensible we might find the historic practice of concentrating the disabled in their own community, the culture of Kimberley in its first decades under head attendant Charles Guy was hardly vulnerable to being compromised by "a few bad apples". There's been no mention made here of Health Minister Mabel Howard's oversight of the establishment of the Kimberley Centre. I do know that she visited the place more than once. If we're going to judge people then surely we should make some attempt to learn who they were and how they used their power, rather than resorting to caricature.

    This applies today, in the disability field. Shit is happening to some that need care, and others( also in the system) fail to speak up.

    This is why I find the ill-informed demonising of our past counterproductive. Battling historical straw people may be fun, but it's a distraction from the sins of the present.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Joe, I apologise for that assertion. I have heard it repeated several times by members of People First, and had no reason to doubt it, but never any evidence either. That site had a century or so of various institutions and government programmes and who knows what went on there in earlier centuries. So I take back the allegation that there are unmarked graves from the Kimberley era.

    As a person interested in disability and a trained historian I know that you can't judge earlier times by the standards of the present. The thorough story of the deinstitutionalisation of Kimberley by the Donald Beasley Institute shows that although there were disagreements over aims and processes, families, staff and many of the residents at Kimberley were of course working and making decisions and judgements for the best of intentions. I know some family members who fought the closure and then became champions of it. So ideas can change over time. I have also talked to former psychopaedic nurses who did their very best with the resources they had and had great respect for their patients. Robert Martin's recent autobiography notes his interactions with many good and helpful staff.

    But I can still criticise the idea of institutionalisation - whereby society decides who is 'normal' and who does not deserve the right to independence and agency so needs to have these choices denied them - and be vigilant about re-insitutionalisation. I also fight against the poor resourcing available to disabled people living in the community and their families.

    But I also acknowledge there is still a need for happy, safe and temporary respite for many children and families in the Horowhenua region so good luck to those setting up the new service in the building at the edge of the site.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Joe, I'm not sure where the linking of psychopaedic nurses and concentration camp guards came from, but certainly not from me. As I said I have talked to some former nurses and also a former Kimberley Medical Superintendent and the local DHB medical officer (both paediatricians for which I have a great deal of respect).

    I also acknowledge there are people currently working in disability support who should not be allowed near vulnerable people, but that is a separate, ongoing issue.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    So I take back the allegation that there are unmarked graves from the Kimberley era.

    Thank you kindly Hilary. It only bothers me because I know that if it were true it would reflect badly on people who, while their methods might have been of another era, were essentially decent and humane.

    But I can still criticise the idea of institutionalisation – whereby society decides who is ‘normal’ and who does not deserve the right to independence and agency so needs to have these choices denied them – and be vigilant about re-insitutionalisation. I also fight against the poor resourcing available to disabled people living in the community and their families.

    I have to admit that I was somewhat shocked to read that Brent Swain was admitted to Kimberley as recently as the early 1970s. I'd naively assumed that attitudes had begun to move beyond the idea of institutionalisation for all but the most severe disabilities by then.

    A couple of points about Kimberley's history - some of the chronic disabilities that the place once catered for have vanished or been mitigated by advances in medicine. For example, NZ's last sufferer from cretinism, a condition easily cured once its cause was understood, was supposed to have died there in the 1960s. One of the grimmest wards was reserved for those afflicted with hydrocephalus. Thanks to the development of the cerebral shunt, by the late 1950s they were freed from being bedridden, and their carers no longer had the unenviable task of physically turning them over to minimise the risk of bedsores. Then of course there are the various conditions that, again due to medical advances, can be detected in early pregnancy. I have no opinion to offer on that beyond being grateful that it's a decision I've never had to make.

    But I also acknowledge there is still a need for happy, safe and temporary respite for many children and families in the Horowhenua region so good luck to those setting up the new service in the building at the edge of the site.

    Any move to re-establish Kimberley as some kind of national facility seems like a return to re-instutionalisation. While I remember attendants and nurses occasionally driving individual patients to and from their homes as far away as Wanganui, I always wondered about those unfortunates who happened to live further away.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Joe, I’m not sure where the linking of psychopaedic nurses and concentration camp guards came from, but certainly not from me.

    It was the stuff about the individual kindness shown to patients by their carers being of little value. While I make no claim that they were anything other than functionaries who carried out policy, in the early decades there was a genuine progressive culture of attempting to provide a quality of life that wasn't present at Templeton. While there appear to have been tensions between old school operatives and progressives, the Kimberley I've been at some pains to objectively recall was no haven for ratbags.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    If something life-threateningly bad was going to happen to you in the old health department gulag it seems likely that it would have been in one of the institutions designed to deal with ‘criminal’ behaviour, such as Lake Alice or Porirua.

    When Kimberley became the Levin Hospital and Training School in the early 1960s signs were erected exhorting the drive-through public to show consideration, as this was ‘a child’s world’. Provided you remained a child in your behaviour the state would look after you while withholding your rights as an adult. If you became violently disruptive, and had the size and strength to present a problem to your carers, presumably you’d have been reclassified as an adult and sent to an adult institution.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I wonder if there's ever been any official recognition of these unfortunates. One of the victims listed, a woman who suffered from a severely disabling psychiatric illness, was the grandmother of someone I know. While the official account states that those who died were locked in their wards, her family believed that she was often chained to her bed.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Excellent to hear that the issues of historic (and ongoing) abuse of those in state care is getting some new traction. Interviews on Radio NZ (Nine to Noon) yesterday with Judge Carolyn Henwood from the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service, lawyer Sonja Cooper and Garth Young from MSD, and this morning Paul Gibson, Disability Rights Commissioner, who is passionate about sorting this.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    There was a television programme about Seacliff a few years ago - a family trying to find what happened to their relation who was sent there as a young woman in the early 20th century. They had heard she had died in the fire, but found that she lived there until she died in the 1950s and her body was then given to the medical school (doubt there was any consent process). Seems her family completely ignored her existence all those decades.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.