LIFE AT PAKATOA ISLAND.
TOLD BY AN EX-INMATE
SOME INTERESTING SUG-
A few days ago an elderly man. who was one of the first to be consigned to the Inebriates' Homo established by the Salvation Army at Pakatoa Island, near Auckland, returned to Duuediu, aud, calling at tho office of the Otago Daily Times, supplied some interesting particulars of the new institution. He had many praises for the excellence of the work being done by the Army officer there, aud instancing iiis own case he bore strong testimony to the efficiency of the treatment; bnt, as the result of his observations, he was able to point to a number of faults aud abuses of the kindness conferrod on their patients by the Salvation Army authorities. The little community, while tho informant was there, numbered twenty persons, aud it was, so far as was possible, made self-supporting. Each unu, youug or old, was expected to take a share of the daily duties of the establishment. There was much gardening to do, aud there were cows to milk, aud work of that sort to be performed. The men were also supposed to bring in a daily supply of fresh fish, of which abundance might be caught about the coast of the little island. Cooking aud kitchen duties wore also performed by tho mou. They were allowed to wander about the island at will, bathing, sleeping, or reading, aud. so long as they did not leave the institution, they had perfect freedom. The life was in mauy respects ideal. Tobacco was regularly served out, aud the officer in charge was full of Juuduess aud consideration, aud never forced any mau to work. And that, it appears, constituted one of the weaknesses of the system.
There were many of the meu ou the islaud who revelled in the life, aud gladly performed the work allotted to them, aud grew healthier iv mind aud iv body every day. But there were others who, as meu, belonged to au altogether different stamp. lustead of sharing the work of the small commonwealth, they lay iv bed as late as possible. Immediately breakfast was over they disappeared away round the beach, aud'pleasantly passed the time in reading or somo similar occupation, aud were ouly seen at meal times. They were, if not criminals, meu of arrant laziness, with a chrome aversion to work, and though some of the other men there treated them with the contempt they deserved, there were among the patients persons of weak ami vacillating character, who were influenced by the example of these meu to the exteut that the good of the treatment they wero every day receiving at the institution was more or less counterbalanced. The food provided was wholesome and good, aud iv abundance, but the meu referred to were apparently never satisfied. They were constantly "growling" and finding fault with the fare put before them —fare, be it said, they had no part in producing.
Eacli patient, when he leaves the island at the conclusion of ins term, is given the sum of £1. Out of this lie has to pay boat fare (ss), and ho therefore lauds in Auckland with 15s at least iv his pocket. These meu naturally keop together in the city, aud certain of them, perhaps because of a wish to return to the easy life ou the island, immediately spend their 15s in liquor. In nearly every case the example set by oue man in this respect is followed by his companions, whatever their iucliuatious may be.
The Daily Times' informant was emphatically of the opinion that the Salvation Army authorities should divide the inebriates given into their care into two or more classes, aud give to eacli class the kind of treatment that the temperament and general character of the meu require. One man, as is '.veil kuowu, will contaminate a roomful.
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Wairarapa Daily Times, Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LX, Issue 9361, 5 May 1909
LIFE AT PAKATOA ISLAND. Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LX, Issue 9361, 5 May 1909
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