PAHIATUA HOSPITAL, THE HISTORY
Built in 1902, the Pahiatua Hospital, now known as Masters Hall, was the only hospital of Pahiatua, and was located at the southern end of the town.
Gradually the hospital was enlarged, and additional wards were added in the 1940's, with Ward 1 added in the 1960s. Over the years, there were many changes to the layout of the buildings. The original nursing home was a two storey wooden building at the front of the property. (This can be seen in the aerial photo, in the top left corner) This was eventually demolished in the 1980s. The brick building visible in some of these photos was the domestics accommodation. This was also demolished, and replaced by Ward 1, which was a general ward.
The original mortuary was also at the front of the property, near the nursing home, then at some point was moved over to the garage which housed the gardener's quarters. Later it was moved over to the stable area, and eventually dismantled once the hospital closed.
The current garage was once the staff cafeteria, the current conference room was originally the main kitchen, and the current Chapel / Multi-purpose room began as an operating theatre. The Nurses Quarters at the back of the property is the only building without ramps, as it was expected the nurses would be able bodied enough to manage the few stairs at the entrance.
During renovations, the Physiotherapy and X-ray wing was gutted to become what is now the Masters Hall Dining Room, exposing the original wooden floors, to create a large communal area. In the renovation process, most of the native timber from the demolished walls was recycled and re-used, with many wooden tables in the dining area showcasing the beautiful old wood.
Though the buildings were renovated to create Masters Hall Accommodation and Conference Centre, the original hospital feeling is still there with the layout remaining intact,and some of the original signs are still on the walls. The long wide corridors are still a main feature, and each ward has been preserved in the same configuration it was when the hospital closed.
Many guests who have booked in tell us stories of their time spent here as a patient, or staff member. Some remember having their tonsils out and can remember which room they were in. Others proudly pose for photos in the maternity delivery suite, where they were born, or had their own children.
The beautifully landscaped grounds still have some of the original trees, which are now over 100 years old.
Unfortunately, as in most small towns, government facilities were reviewed towards the end of the 20th century, to assess if they were cost effective. As a result, in November 1997 the hospital, at the time placed under the jurisdiction of the Mid Central Health of Palmerston North, announced that it would close it doors due to budgetary issues with the now defunct Health Funding Authority.
The closure, planned for and carried out on the 30th of June 1998, was a shock, not only to the staff members who lost their jobs, but also to the patients who were residing there to receive continuing care. Despite numerous appeals and petitions, the decision was not reversed, and patients were slowly relocated to Dannevirke, Waireka, Palmerston North, or Masterton.
Long known as the “icon of a bygone era”, the Pahiatua Hospital was entirely remodeled and refurbished in 2008, when it was brought to life once again as Masters Hall. The beautiful setting and practical facilities provided a perfect opportunity to offer accommodation and conference options for family reunions, schools camps, weddings, corporate meetings, weekend retreats, sports teams, and individual travelers. In addition, Masters Hall also includes a small chapel area, a commercial kitchen and dining hall, complete audio-visual facilities, and access to high speed broadband internet.