Recognition at last for the first Plunket nurse
‘‘She played such an important part in our history.’’
Elyse Childs is determined to give her great great grandmother the recognition she feels she deserves.
Her first solo exhibition, Mothercraft, explores two of Plunket’s pioneers and the role they played in shaping the New Zealand organisation.
In 1907 her ancestor Joanna MacKinnon became the country’s first Plunket nurse, but Childs said nobody knew about her.
‘‘I thought she deserved some recognition because she played a really important part in our history.’’
MacKinnon was the only woman to receive one-on-one training from Plunket founder Frederick Truby King.
‘‘She worked at the Seacliff Lunatic Asylum in Dunedin as an attendant and Truby King was an observer there.’’
Childs said she struggled to find information on her relative, but what she has found shows a woman ahead of her time.
The photos would form part of her exhibition which she hoped would encourage visitors to think about the role of Plunket.
MacKinnon received the first Plunket nurse medal, inscribed with the words ‘love, pity and sympathy for God and all his little ones’.
‘‘Normally when plunket nurses got married they relinquished their medals but she didn’t, she was pretty special.’’