Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Porirua Lunatic Asylum records

From the Poriura District Council website :- Wellington area mental health patients were first housed at a wooden building next to the goal from 1844. This was followed by a facility in Karori which was in turn replaced by a facility at the Basin Reserve named Mount View Asylum. In 1887 patients went to the new Porirua facility which closed for good in 1970. 

Before you are put off by the process of gaining access to the records, be assured that lots of people are successful in doing this. Archives NZ holds the registers and the Poriura Hospital registers are at the Wellington branch. 

To get permission to view the registers or to have someone in Wellington view it for you, write to The Ministry of Health, The Mental Health Section, PO Box 5013, Wellington. 

Kenepuru Hospital records department hold the patient files and permission I'm told, needs to be obtained through the Official Information Act. 

If you are like me and have missing people, especially if you have a birth certificate but no further information, this avenue would be good advice. Children were taken in as mental defectives and never heard from again. Their death certificates will turn up in the usual way or not maybe, I'm not sure.


  1. I have used various types of records for mental asylum patients in Queensland. Most of the deaths are registered, but in one particular month NO asylum deaths were registered. (The person who usually handled the notifications was probably on holidays!) In each case, though, there was a Justice Department inquest file.

  2. Without a death registration I think it would be impossible for the undertaker to dispose of a body.

  3. Perhaps they just mixed up the name on the death certificate, no-one would be any wiser because its usually family who give the details, but when there isn't family around, anything may happen I guess.