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Mental health and legal landscapes

When it was established early in the twentieth century, Tokanui became part of a network of mental hospitals that were responsible for the care and confinement of the insane and the mentally deficient. At the time of its construction Tokanui was the first new mental hospital commissioned in over 20 years and the first to be built in the central North Island. Of those mental hospitals operating in 1912 all, except Ashburn Hall (the country's only private institution), were government controlled and funded. State dominance in the management of mental abnormality was the result of an unofficial policy which followed English precedent, favouring government intervention in the belief that it produced beneficial results and which endorsed the conviction that government responsibility for such matters could not be divested to a third party. This position was strengthened by the paucity of a prosperous philanthropic class who would otherwise have bridged the gulf between demand and supply under the auspices of charity. The essence of this philosophy was reflected in the early nineteenth and twentieth-century legislation which governed the development and management of New Zealand's mental hospitals.
Chapter in Book
Type of thesis
Campion, M. (2012). Mental health and legal landscapes. Changing Times, Changing Places: From Tokanui Hospital to Mental Health Services in the Waikato, 1910-2012 (pp.13-26). Hamilton, New Zealand: Half Court Press Ltd.
Half Court Press Ltd
This chapter has been published in the book: Changing Places: From Tokanui Hospital to Mental Health Services in the Waikato, 1910-2012. © 2012 The Author. Used with permission.