A return and a farewell to this heritage-listed maternity hospital and it’s sprawling arts and crafts 1920’s styled grounds. Demolition machines arrived at the former Maternity Hospital on Nov 30th (2020)- the 1927 building was rubble by the afternoon. Heritage NZ confirmed they had not been aware of the coming demolition and were “saddened to hear” that this important part of New Zealand’s medical and social history had been demolished.

Operation In Progress

Occupation is the best security. This hospital – closed since 2007 – has remained relatively untouched and unexplored due to the proximity of its replacement built directly next-door. Held for several years in a land banking holding pattern, the nearly five hectare property with its buildings was approved for sale in 2013 and sold for less than a quarter of its ‘capital value’ (a government estimate) the following year.

Abandoned Forensic Lab, Lunatic Asylum, North Island, New Zealand

This building was originally the forensic’s unit of an abandoned lunatic asylum which closed for good in 2007.

The decay and mold were immense in this building, the place is falling apart. Nature has began taking over this place and it almost seems like there is more vegetation than structure left.

Throughout its years of operation the asylum has had many accounts of violent patients, patient abuse and treatments used such as electric shock treatment.


Horrors of the elderly

This explore went unexpectedly smooth and what every urban explorer hopes for – easy entry, no interruptions and a location that was full of memories of the past which offered a small glimpse into what went on at this now abandoned rest home hospital for the elderly.

Soon into the explore, I came across scenes akin to a horror movie, grey hairs still sat next to the ‘saloon’ of the old rest home, wheelchairs and toilet seats everywhere and possession’s lying around – even a nurses dress hanging up, sitting idle exactly how they were the day the hospital was closed.



Hospital Down South

Standing proudly on top of the hill overlooking a lower South Island town, this once-grand hospital now sits decaying and derelict. Little positive future can be foreseeable aside from demolition for this location as the buildings were purpose built as a hospital and not a motel, there are simply too many buildings and grounds for the owners to know what to do with. The hospital-turned-backpackers was opened on 2 December 1872 and closed in 1998, much of the site including its operating theaters, x-ray, psychiatric and emergency departments have been abandoned since.

Abandoned Doctors Clinic

Hiding down a Wellington side street lies this abandoned doctors clinic, declared ‘earthquake prone’ in 2012, the fate of this building is undecided.
Most things were stripped from this clinic but there was still the odd lamp and drug signs, this was a quick in and out explore, avoiding the sensors for the alarm.


Filmed in late 2011- this was the final days of the old Hawera Hospital (1925-2012). Demolition was already well underway on the South Taranaki Hospital, with at least half the complex already gone. A compact digital camera was rigged onto the hot-shoe of a DSLR to capture on video the state the place and what was being photographed- plenty of shaky camera footage ensued. Abandoned in 2002, the hospital’s state of decline over the next decade was dramatic and completely unnecessary. It wasn’t a pretty explore- a bleak and hazardous environment, the complete opposite of what a hospital is supposed to be about- inhospitable.

Sea View Asylum

Located in a tiny town on a remote coast of New Zealand lies this bizarre and mysterious old mental hospital which started life as a gaol and decommissioned as a hospital in the 90’s. Amazingly throughout its operation there were no reports of mistreatment unlike other hospitals of this era, however due to the remoteness of this place it makes you wonder even more what really happened between these walls with electric shock treatment being just one of the horrible treatments used at the time.

On our drive over to this asylum, U.K based explorer WildBoyz,  who had joined up with us for this explore seemed rather perplexed by the windy roads and the remoteness of where we were headed, persistent in my desire to find this location I reassured him it would be worth the drive, I hope you will agree.


Situated high above the town, with great views overlooking the sea is the woman’s ward of this old hospital. It is extremely eerie walking around the old wards, now sealed shut with corrugated iron. The whole hospital site was closed due to earthquake risk and awaits demolition in the near future. More to come of the rest of the hospital soon.


This psychiatric hospital was opened in 1912 and operated till 1998, surrounded by controversy with how patients were treated throughout its lifetime, this set of photos documents our explore of the isolation wards. Finding old x-rays and patient records scattered throughout the wards among the decay of the hospital gave us a chilling insight into its history.

Mental Health – Secure Child Facility

This psychiatric hospital facility was open for more than 85 years and contained a society of mental health workers and patients. There are many reports of mistreatment throughout the years and it being an isolated, depressing place to live. Under some pressure and excitement we explored and were treated to some amazing finds.

Enjoy part one – The children’s ward 🙂 More to come.

Hospital’s end

Closed in 1997 this hospital once sat proud on a hill overlooking the city, now in the final months of demolition we once again explore what remains, finding a fascinating array of flooded underground operating theatres.

Hospital Estate

An explore of an abandoned hospital lead us to find a morgue, chapel and operating theater. Some of the equipment had never even been used due to a change of governments at the time and a mixture of interests lead to the closure of the hospital many years ago.

One of the hospital buildings
One of the hospital buildings

Hospital Wards
Hospital Wards

More hospital wards
More hospital wards

X-Ray machine controls
X-Ray machine controls

X-Ray room
X-Ray room

X-Ray machine
X-Ray machine

Operating theater equipment drawers
Operating theater equipment drawers

Hospital Chapel
Hospital Chapel


Thermal Resort


This abandoned thermal resort has sat vacant for years, cats both living and dead can be found throughout the premises and the place has a very peculiar air about it. The lawns are mowed, the garden tended to and the cats fed. Someone has been looking after this place, despite the fact that it does not seem to have functioned as a business for many years.
The area this is located in has a reputation for being a little bit dodgy, and I couldn’t help but feel on edge walking around with a DSLR when there was a ute (SUV for you Americans) parked in an abandoned service station across the road with two unsavory types eyeballing me.

Future Fix

Exploring the grounds of a former historic hospital- unfortunately now earmarked for demolition due to the large amount of asbestos and at least a $50m repair bill.

Hospital on the Hill pt 4: Wards

Exploring some of the wards of the abandoned hospital in central New Zealand featured in our previous posts.

Click on each thumbnail to view the full picture.

The previous posts may be viewed here:

More to come…

Hospital Complexities

Once upon a time this complex housed New Zealand’s largest hospital complex, catering primarily towards those of an unsteady state of mind. The site now houses a modern hospital, together with a modern psychiatric facility. Many of the older buildings of the complexes former life still litter the grounds, we stopped by to have a look at some of the remains.

Hilltop Sanatorium

This imposing building on the hill overlooking a small country town has had several uses in it’s lifetime.
It was initially constructed as a hospital for veterans returning home from the great war, before being re-purposed as a sanatorium (tuberculosis hospital).
After 60 years and over 7000 patients, and with the number of cases of TB in decline in New Zealand the hospital became a safe haven for the handicapped and for people suffering from head injuries.
The hospital has gone through another metamorphosis in the new millennium and is now used as part of a larger vineyard complex, we popped by for an inspection on our travels through the North Island.

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Hospital on the Hill pt 2: Hospital Laundry

One of the first buildings we came across on the site was the hospital laundry, these machines once cleaned sheets, scrubs, and other laundry for the entire hospital complex and judging by the size of them there must have been a lot of it.
I wonder what will come of these huge washing machines, dryers and linen presses when the building is torn down – perhaps they will simply end up melted down for scrap like so many other artifacts are when an abandoned building is demolished.
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This former notorious rural psychiatric hospital- see this post-  was visited by one of our group back in 2008. The majority of the buildings then were mostly intact with minimum vandalism. Today many of the buildings have been demolished, with the remainder largely abandoned or used as storage. Incredibly though a number of the villa’s are now reoccupied, by apparently sane people.





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The Centre

At the close of the Second World War, this former Air Force base was converted into a “Mental Deficiency Colony” to house children deemed ‘backward’. By the mid 1970′s it had become the largest psychopaedic hospital in the southern hemisphere, with a population exceeding 700. The centre was “deinstitutionalised” in 2005 and has been largely abandoned, but not forgotten.

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Beelitz-Heilstätten, just south of Berlin, was a large hospital complex that has its beginnings in 1898.


Originally designed as a sanatorium – with the outbreak of World War I in 1914, it was converted into a military hospital for the German Army.


The suitably freezing, misty day only emphasised the eeriness of the vast hospital complex, which consists of at least 60 buildings.


As we wandered around trying to find a way inside, it was strange to think that a gammy-legged Hitler may have once walked these very same steps almost a century ago.


During the months of October and November of 1916, a young Adolf Hitler recuperated here (unfortunately) after being wounded in the leg at the Battle of the Somme.


Eventually we gained access through a broken basement window, spending the next several hours exploring the derelict hospital…


At the close of World War II in 1945, Beelitz-Heilstätten was occupied by Soviet forces – remaining a Soviet military hospital up until 1995, well after German reunification. Since the late 1990’s however, the complex has been left mostly abandoned and become a favourite playground for urbex in Germany.


Our exploration was finally interrupted when a team of men in hi-visibility jackets arrived on the scene.


As night was descending, we felt it was about time to leave anyway – only wishing we’d taken some better photos before our hasty exit…


In Vivo

In vivo (Latin for “within the living”) is experimentation using a whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or dead organism. Animal testing and clinical trials are two forms of in vivo research.  On average around 300,000 animals per year are used in experimentation, testing and teaching in New Zealand – from cats and dogs to rabbits, deer, mice, rats, fish, birds, pigs, cows and guinea pigs. This particular former testing facility has been irresponsibly left to the ravages of time and vandalism, a haunting reminder of what we commit in the name of science.


A retired Abortion Clinic known as Parkview, part of Ewart Hospital and the Wellington Hospital.
Opened in 1980 and short lived until it was forgone in 2000.
While it has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny and protest, it has been untouched and, ironically, resides next to a children’s kindergarten.

Yellow DoorVines over floorHold your headOvergrown garden

Animal Testing Centre & Incinerator

This abandoned animal testing facility has been abandoned for about 20 years apparently, despite that there are no signs of graffiti. Syringes and other detritus still litter the site and the bones & feathers of the test subjects still sit in the now rusted incinerators.

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“Twelve five- to seven-day-old calves from a commercial dairy herd
were used in the trial. The herd had no contact with goats. The
calves had been fed pooled bovine colostrum that tested negative
for MmmLC. They were then transported to the Isolation Unit where they were housed indoors in two pens.
Six of the calves were dosed orally with MmmLC (5.4×1011 colony
forming units or cfu) and the following day four control calves
were placed with them in the same pen.
Six days later the two remaining calves were inoculated
intravenously (IV) with MmmLC (7×1010 cfu) and placed with the
other calves. The calves were monitored for clinical signs and their
temperatures were measured daily for the first 14 days.
Nasal swabs and blood samples were collected from the day of oral
inoculation (day 0) until the day each calf was euthanased (the last
ones on day 43). Nasal swabs were collected on days 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and
at necropsy; blood samples weekly and at necropsy. Necropsies
were carried out at regular intervals during the trial (see table) and
samples taken from tonsil, retropharyngeal and mesenteric lymph
nodes, trachea, lung, spleen, pericardial fluid and joint fluid (stifle,
carpal and hip). Both fresh and fixed samples were collected.
The nasal swabs and tissues were cultured for MmmLC. The same
samples plus bloods were tested in the CAP-21 polymerase chain
reaction (PCR)(3) for Mycoplasma mycoides cluster. The nasal swabs
were also tested in a generic PCR for mycoplasma(4) on days 0 and 2.
Serum samples were tested in the M mycoides complement fixation
test (CFT) using whole cell antigen(6). Histopathology was carried
out on the formalin fixed tissues


This Historic Hospital (c.1880) still stands in its dilapidated state, 22 years after its closure. When the hospital finally closed its doors in 1990, it had served the district for over a century. Locals have been complaining for years about the eyesore, demanding the owner of the property to demolish the derelict and vandalised buildings.












We’ll Take Care Of Your Children

This old building was once a nursery which helped to raise numerous children in the Wellington region. The building’s future is now questionable as it sits right in the path of a new roading project. It will probably either be moved or demolished, and Wellington may lose yet another historic building.





Hospital Complex

We would have stayed longer and explored more of the buildings at this picturesque hospital situated high on a hill with fantastic views, but some local homies decided to ruin our fun. These buildings are all in poor condition and are incredibly earthquake prone (some of the masonry is crumbling), the homies were playing loud music with their sub, perhaps in an attempt to initiate a partial collapse of the buildings.


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Bed Ridden

This old hospital is still in remarkable condition and is largely free from vandalism (aside from a large number of broken/opened windows) , there are even still hospital beds in the rooms. We found an interesting surprise in one of the rooms, a petrified cat.IMGP1492 IMGP1497 IMGP1495 IMGP1488 IMGP1486 IMGP1484 IMGP1462 IMGP1456

Hilltop Hospital in East Manawatu

This rural hospital became defunct once the small country town in which it is located upgraded their facilities and build a new hospital on a different site, by the time we managed to explore it an entire wing had been removed and much of the interior had been stripped and sold to building recyclers. It is a shame to lose what was once such a nice example of art deco architecture. These photos were taken by an associate of ours, so credit goes to them for the images.DSC_0269DSC_0262DSC_0257DSC_0249DSC_0240DSC_0223DSC_0220