A Brief History of New Zealand Mental Health

Terms given to stereotype /or label a person:


Imbecile mental defective
moron congenital mental defective
cretin mentally disabled
delinquent mentally impaired
miscreant psycho
consumer idiot schizo tangata whai ora
low grade cretin intern
asylum vagrant
patient lunatic asylum
lunatic client
mental hospital psychiatric hospital

psych services                         attendant

psych assistance                     HCA (Healthcare Assistants)

MHSW (Mental Health Support Worker)

1853 Lunatic Asylums

AK Wellington, mt view

insane lunatic

1872 Napier (inpatient number 7)

Auckland (inpatient number 125

Hokitika (inpatient number 45)

1873 New Plymouth 2

Karori 27                    Sunny side 123

1904  Dunedin 174

1908 mental hospital department

1910 F Ward Porirua (Women only)

1887 mt view Porirua until 1911

“Out of sight, out of mind”. Was sadly people’s psyche of the era.

1911 Mental defectives act

1928 Mental Health Dept

1948 Health Dept (mental health, & hygiene division).

1911 Mental Health Act, 1969 (changes to the act. 1992 mental health act properly introduced, both in inpatient & in community contexts.

1989 CYPS Act (Children’s & Young Persons Act)

1990 The bill of rights

1993 Human rights Act

1992 Mental Health Act

1993 Privacy Act

1994 Health Information Privacy Code

1996 Code of Health & Disability Consumers Service

1998 Mental Health Commission Act

2003 Mentally Impaired Persons Act


Insulin therapy

1940’s ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy)

  • 1960 Largactil, which often caused Tardive Dyskinesia
  • 1970’s Move to community care for the elderly
  • Late 1980’s move to community care for all, start of Hospital closures, Forensic services.
  • 1990’s introduction of Clozapine medication, & the noticed need for advocacy.

1987 The Mason enquiry

1985 Criminal Justice Act amendments

1988 The mason report

1990 Intellectual Disability Act

Sociological                                Psychological

(External experience)                 (Thinking processors)


(What happens inside your body: e.g. medication & food)


(personal belief systems)

Forms of discrimination:

  • race
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • “kiwi tall poppy syndrome”
  • housing
  • beliefs
  • workplace culture
  • religion
  • occupation
  • health & wellbeing
  • physical
  • language barrier
  • Talking or acting in a demeaning manner

Source: my National Support Workers Certificate notes from 2007

I do not beg, but I do ask that you join alongside me in de-mystifying stigma. Even people’s perception of their own struggle, let’s help people. To see well beyond the 

cloud of people’s own intense challenges, and seek their permission to journey alongside them. Lets conquer a new future for these people, not only within New Zealand but on a global standard. Surely we can be more understanding of each other. Somehow we need to not only reduce, but reduce global suicide rate.














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