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