Physical and mental health issues in the Te Aroha district
Hart, P. (2016). Physical and mental health issues in the Te Aroha district. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 121). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10455
Although Te Aroha was considered to be a healthy district, until the early twentieth century it lacked clean water or adequate sanitation. There were justifiable fears of typhus and other diseases being created by these lacks and by the common ‘nuisances’ caused by unsanitary behaviour. Many people had a poor diet, which was normal for men undertaking prospecting far from their homes. For miners, their working conditions were always unhealthy, and miners’ complaint was common, affecting battery hands also. Medical services remained inadequate until the twentieth century because doctors could not settle for long (for financial reasons) and there was no local hospital. Some doctors, nurses, and dentists visited, but the seriously ill had to be sent out of the district. For injuries, chemists and nurses did their best, as did a dubiously skilled local doctor. Self-medication was common. Examples are given of breakdowns in mental health, which sometimes led to physical attacks on others or to suicide.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart