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Native Health Nursing in Auckland District

This work is slowly developing and will, we hope, soon cover all the ground and more that we first designed for it. District work of any sort has not been sufficiently popular among our Xew Zealand nurses, which is disappointing, as there is no other branch of nursing where one's work can be far reaching for good, or that Avill bring such true appreciation, especially for the nurse working m country districts. We have been fortunate m obtaining for our Natives' work so far nurses whose success m it from the first seems to have been assured, and results are much more encouraging than we had dared to hope for. From Thames we hear on all sides that Nurse Dawson's work is being quietly but surely felt m all the kaingas m the district. The journeys to many of her kaingas have been most trying during the winters particularly those on the Hauraki swamp after leaving the launches. She writes : " The swamp is simply appalling m the way of bad roads and mud, and Waitakaruru is the worst. In one place it took me an hour and three-quarters to do less than two miles, and I got bogged at the end of it. My horse eimlpy could not get out — Just had to sit still and possess my soul m patience till two Maoris came to my assistance. My poor old piebald horse

and I looked a sorry pair alter it. I thought I knew all about mud before, but found I didn't even know the ABC of it till I started working or the Hauraki plains. Last Tuesday I started for Mongakirikiri and Mokamoka, (back among the hills from Waitakarurn) about eight miles away. The road is indescribable. There is one swamp of about 500 yards and you have to keep straight through the middle of it, as the sides are uneven and unsafe. In the centre the water is about 4 feet deep, but it had been raining heavily for a couple of days, so we found we were very soon swimming — cr, rather, the horses were. Of course, we were wet to the waist, and we still had three miles to go through mud and slush. Anyway, we got there all right, and saw the children who were reported sick. Fortunately they were not very bad, but nearly all suffering from haki-haki. Then we had to go back the way we came — through the swamp and mud bogs I was very stiff and tired at the end of the day. A settler's wife lent me some dry clothing, and I got back to the camp next day. Mr. McClune (the schoolmaster) went to Mokamoke with me (as he thought the road was not safe for any stranger to go alone- — much less a woman). He is a very nice man, and so interested m the Maori children. I found him very helpful indeed.

This Piako swamp is a great place, and if one could not see the funny side of things sometimes it would be impossible and would tefr one " down * altogether.

Waikaka is another queer place, and the settlement is three miles from the wharf. You go along a tram line en a horse trolley. In the centre of the trolley was a packing case five feet square, and on that a box of groceries. I was perched c n the top of that (tho seat of honour, I was told) and tucked round by rugs and a big umbrella

(it was raining like fury). Keally the whole thing was so screamingly funny that it would take pages to tell you. What strikes me most is the kindness one meets with from the settlers and other people round — and what rough diamonds one finds ! I am looking forward to the warm weather, when the Maoris can get outside more m the fresh air and away from the fires m the whares. The results seem very slew, but then they are a peculiar people and one must have patience, and I hope it will tel l m the future. Writing later, after coping with a typhoid epidemic at Mataora Bay, out on the coast from Waihi, where no vehicle can get over— in the middle of which Nurse Dawson had to return urgently to the Thames kaingas to cope with the s mall pox, leaving her typhoids at Mataora to Nurse Ellen Taare, who had just joined us for district work — Nurse Dawson writes : " It is not easy always to write on the reports exactly what one does, as it sometimes seem? so trivial, although it takes a lot of time. For m stance, when I go to Waitoki I leave the train at Tirohia and have to walk between six and seven miles of very rough road — partly on the railway line, as there is no other way. When I get there, the women always come together m one place, and I have to give a talk to them about feeding the babies and numerous other necessary things. But I never call that a lecture though I suppose I could really ! They were such dirty Maoris there, but they are improving a great deal. There is one very ill -nourished baby that I air trying to get them to feed properly, so I go up about every eight or nine days, get back by the evening train generally pretty tired out with so much walking, and yet there does not seem much that one could repcrt. At the different places I visit when I can ge* the women together I always do so (and talk with them), but it is not always easy — they are sometimes rather ehi&ive. I have tried to get at the older girls—those over ](> years— and have sometimes had them at my rooms to tea on a Saturday evening. (They always flock into Thames from all parts on Saturdays, go to the pictures m the afternoon, and those I invite come to me afterwards ; but as soon as tea is over they go off to "do" Pollen Street, and then again to the pictures. They are just like big children. The Maoris were all very angry while the epidemic was on at being unable to travel, and toward the end — just before the restrictions were removed — they became very trying ard difficult to mo n age. Nothing would convince some of them that I could not give them passes. I felt very sad about it for a time. Everything seemed to be slipping away, and it threw the work back such a lot. But I think I have made up all the lost ground, and we are about normal again. It was rather hard luck, though, so early m the work."

We regret to be losing Nurse Anderson from Rotorua. She has done much good work which is beginning to tell m the kaingas, by their improved sanitation and the freedom from epidemics enjoyed during the last 18 months. Nurse has, however, always had many cases on hand of general illnesses and children's troubles, but her lectures to mothers and addresses to the school children are proving a great help as well as the more practical nursing m their own homes of the sick, and Maoris there are fast losing their dread of going into hospitals, although, as Nurse Anderson states, that always depends on the sort of nurse who happens to attend them. They are so quick to realise one's attitude towards them, and a slight — fancied or real — will drive them away, while a little sympathy works wonders — which proves again that a nurse's personality counts for as much as her training. Nurse Stephenson is to succeed Nurse Anderson m March.

In Bay of Plenty we are moving our nurses' headquarters from Whakatane to Tauranga, there being a trained nurse at the new Mission College at Whakatane now who is working m co-operation with the Department. Nurse Mataira has been given six months' leave to qualify at St. Helen's, she having had a most trying year m different parts of the Bay of Plenty and having been the only nurse for the Avhole of the Board's district hitherto. For almost the whole year she has been working m typhoid or smallpox camps, and when these assumed large dimensions as with typhoid — the later epidemic at Matakana Island m the middle of winter — Nurse Anderson went to her assistance from Rotorua, and Nurse F. Gill was sent down from Auckland. For the smallpox, Nurse managed with Native assistance and that of an untrained nurse, Miss Wing.

Nurse Blackie, who until now has been Native nurse for the South Island, is to be headquartered at Tauranga.

We hope to be able very soon to establish a nurse at Te Kaha, which is almost entirely a Maori district and very cut off and where the Natives, who are of a very good class, are most anxious to have a nurse. They are busy now getting a cot tage ready for one and have promised a horse, etc.

With our own nurse established we hope at the new cottage hospital at Tauranga, the Mission nurse at Whakatanc and another Departmental nurse at Te Kaha, we should have the Bay of Plenty kaingas much improved soon, although m the vicinity of Opotiki, Te Kaha and other places near the Natives themselves are instituting many sanitary reforms m the kaingas, and have Women's Committees, no less ! for raising funds. Mr. Landells, the Sanitary Inspector, is responsible for much of this good work.

In the Waikato district Nurse I. Moore has just been appointed, with headquarters near Taumarunui. She will work the upper reaches of the Wanganui River and the kaingas as far up as Te Kuiti.

Arrangements are being made for Nurse Ella Cooke's appointment for the northern end of the Waikato, with headquarters at Ngaruawahia. She will work towards Kawhia, Mercer, and Te Kuiti, also to below Morrinsville.

We want still another nurse for Waikato.

In the north Nurse Hawken started under the Bay of Islands Board m October (she had been working with typhoids at Kawhia for the Department since September Ist). Being unable to manage her riding she resigned almost immediately, but has ac cepted the matronship of the Kawakawa

Hospital. Nurse B. Bryne has been appointed to succeed Nurse Hawken and reports having visited a great many kaingas already m the vicinity of Kawakawa, and is now attacking her further outposts. Being a good rider is a great advantage, especially m the north.

We hope to soon have a nurse started at the northern end of this Board's district, with headquarters at Waipapakauri, not far from the new wireless station at Awanui. There is a great deal of gumfields work to be done at this end and the nurse going there, if she cannot already, must learn to ride. The " roadless " north is improving vastly of late years. Settlers are pouring into these districts, where the land for so long was supposed to be of no use.

Very soon, it is hoped that the district work, Maori and Pakeha, will be well organised m each district, and for each branch — General, Natives, Schools and Plunkett — that the staff will be adequate ; but it is for ourselves to demonstrate the possibilities of this work. Then let the best nurses come forward for it, and do not leave the pioneering of it to the t; second bests " or those whose best days for strenuous work are nearly over, but let all take their share who can m establishing on a good footing m our own country this great and good branch of nursing work.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/periodicals/KT19140101.2.51

Bibliographic details

Native Health Nursing in Auckland District, Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Volume VII, Issue 1, 1 January 1914

Word Count
1,956

Native Health Nursing in Auckland District Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Volume VII, Issue 1, 1 January 1914

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