Deal freedom's sacred treasures


An autograph book more than a century old, held by the Cambridge Museum, gives a fascinating insight into the creative minds of patients at Te Waikato Sanatorium. The sanatorium was originally opened in December 1903 by Sir Joseph Ward, with the site having been converted from the Thornton family's Maungakawa Hill property. It was the first open air sanatorium for tuberculosis sufferers in New Zealand, when the country was in great need of the facility. 

When the sanatorium opened, it had space for about 30 patients. But as this was immediately apparent to be inadequate, additions to the complex meant there was eventually accommodation for over 60 patients, with about 160 undergoing treatment each year. In 1922, Te Waikato Sanatorium was closed, with the reasons said to have been cost, difficulty of access and suitability of the site, outdated buildings