Cam­era ob­scura

Waikato Times - - News | History - Nor­manby Star, Haw­era &

Dr MM (‘‘Mun’’) Hockin is re­mem­bered in the nam­ing of hospi­tal build­ings: the Hockin Build­ing and Hockin House. Dr Hockin was the med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent for Waikato Hospi­tal from 1928 un­til his death in 1939. De­spite his young age, only

46 years, he had a busy med­i­cal ca­reer. Hockin passed his fi­nal MB and CHB ex­am­i­na­tions at Otago Univer­sity in March 1917 but was im­me­di­ately called up for mil­i­tary ser­vice with the Med­i­cal Corps. He mar­ried Martha (Mat­tie) (nee Camp­bell) at St Mark’s in Re­muera in May 1917 and by the end of July, as Lieu­tenant Hockin, he had been ap­pointed to Brock­en­hurst Hospi­tal in Eng­land, also known as No.1 New Zealand Gen­eral Hospi­tal.

How­ever Hockin must also have been at the Front as by March 1918 he was se­verely ill suf­fer­ing from the ef­fects of gas and was back in Auck­land in June

1918. Be­fore he had fully re­cu­per­ated he and Mat­tie went to Manaia in Taranaki, to as­sist with fight­ing the flu epi­demic. Mat­tie was a nurse and she took charge of the iso­la­tion hospi­tal – un­til she went down with the flu. Munro Hockin also suc­cumbed and had to leave Manaia. Farewell speeches given by mem­bers of the Manaia Town Board in Jan­uary 1919 praised Dr Hockin: ‘‘al­though a phys­i­cally weak and run-down man, by your cool­ness, ad­min­is­tra­tive work and pro­fes­sional skill… the course of the epi­demic was speed­ily stayed’’

Jan­uary 30, 1919).

By the end of 1919 Hockin was work­ing at the Auck­land Mil­i­tary Hospi­tal in the orthopaedic unit; he trained as a phys­io­ther­a­pist and put this train­ing into restor­ing men who had been maimed in the war. At Ro­torua’s King Ge­orge V Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal, in

1921, Hockin spe­cialised in look­ing after chil­dren with in­fan­tile paral­y­sis (po­lio) – by then he was recog­nised as a spe­cial­ist in orthopaedic surgery. He was in pri­vate prac­tice at Kaponga from 1924 to

1927 when he was ap­pointed as­sis­tant med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent at Waikato Hospi­tal. When Dr Gower re­signed as med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent Dr Hockin was ap­pointed to that role, one of chief ad­min­is­tra­tor and doc­tor.

As well as his salary, the med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent was pro­vided with ac­com­mo­da­tion – a fine wooden villa in the hospi­tal grounds, with its own large gar­den and out­houses. The house was built for the first med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent, Ge­orge G Kenny, in

1893; it was de­signed by Hamil­ton ar­chi­tect TH White and built by lo­cal builder Thomas Evans.

The Hock­ins had two sons, Cam and Bill, born 1920 and 1925 re­spec­tively; they at­tended South­well School, bik­ing from the hospi­tal and stay­ing at school for lunch, din­ner, and evening prep. They later boarded at Wan­ganui Col­le­giate. An in­sight into fam­ily life at the house came from Cam in 1986: the boys helped the maid and their mother make the beds, and also turned the wringer in the laun­dry on Satur­day wash day. The wa­ter for the laun­dry was heated in a cop­per. The boys also did the gro­cery shop­ping on Satur­days, and they were paid 3d a week to bring in the fire­wood chopped by the gar­dener.

Dr Hockin was a keen pi­lot and used to fly the ma­tron to Kawhia and other coun­try hospi­tals when they went on of­fi­cial vis­its. He was pres­i­dent of the Waikato Aero Club.

On Oc­to­ber 16, 1939, Hockin died sud­denly of a cere­bral haem­or­rhage. The chair­man of the Waikato Hospi­tal Board said that it was Hockin’s tact and pop­u­lar­ity that such har­mo­nious re­la­tions ex­isted in the hospi­tal. Hockin was cre­mated at Waikumete Ceme­tery and is com­mem­o­rated on his mother’s head­stone in Maunu Ceme­tery, Whangarei. After Hockin’s death his home was re­named Hockin House. It was used as ac­com­mo­da­tion for nurses through the 1940s and 50s and later as a mail room and typ­ists’ pool. In 1974 the So­ci­ety shifted the house onto a coun­cil re­serve at the end of Sel­wyn Street, ad­ja­cent to the hospi­tal cam­pus.

This year is the 125th an­niver­sary of Hockin House and the Waikato His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety is plan­ning an af­ter­noon tea at 3pm to­mor­row, De­cem­ber 8.


This is said to be Tama­here Post Of­fice. Was it a fully-fledged stand­alone post of­fice or was it per­haps a postal ser­vice within a lo­cal store? What­ever the case, it is not in­cluded in Clulee’s book (which I have men­tioned be­fore). Both chaps sport sig­nif­i­cant but­ton­holes but the ladies ap­pear only moder­ately well dressed – nei­ther out­fit sug­gests nup­tials for ei­ther though it can’t be ruled out. And, when was the Tama­here post of­fice nearly not the Tama­here post of­fice? When the au­thor­i­ties tried to change the name of the of­fice – per­haps Ma­niapoto Post Of­fice. We don’t think this ever came about but there were two con­sid­er­able di­a­tribes by lo­cal folk pub­lished in the news­pa­pers of 1904.

Note the enamel plate on the right. It is the let­ter box plate – V.R. (Vic­to­ria Regina) with the im­pe­rial crown be­tween the let­ters.

Con­trib­uted by Perry Rice, Her­itage Li­brar­ian – Pho­to­graphs, Hamil­ton Cen­tral Li­brary. If you have any in­for­ma­tion you would like to pass on or would like to buy an elec­tronic copy of the photo, please e-mail [email protected] quot­ing: HCL_04284

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