Medical stories from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is the organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand charged with identifying, preserving and promoting our country's unique heritage. Taitokerau Northland has many stories of early missionary life held in the hands of Heritage New Zealand. You can explore some of their medical stories by following the links below.
Life could be hard in nineteenth century New Zealand – including for the Bean family, who helped establish the fledgling Kerikeri Mission Station in 1819. Click here to read about the brief life of William Bean Junior, a child of the mission station.
People wanting cosmetic surgery were probably few and far between in the Bay of Islands in the 1830s. Click here to read the story of George Hamlin, whose cleft lip caused him to have the first cosmetic surgery recorded at Te Waimate Mission.
Evidence of early bilingual attempts at communication between Māori and Pākehā concerning healthcare can be found at Te Waimate Mission. Click here to read about a very stilted conversation about 'physic'.
The arrival of missionary George Clarke to the Bay of Islands in 1824 was a significant moment for Ngāpuhi rangatira Hongi Hika. Click here to read about how Clarke took his life into his hands treating the rangatira with what is today, a very outdated treatment.
Feeling crook? A tincture of rhubarb might be just what the doctor ordered...
At least that might have been the prescription if you were a missionary like Rev John Butler who, along with his family, lived with the threat of disease at the Kerikeri Mission Station in the early 1820s. Click here to read about treating worms and 'fright' with rhubarb.