Report - Seaview Psychiatric Asylum - Hokitika - August 2014

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Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014
Seaview Psychiatric Asylum is an abandoned former government owned hospital located in the north of Hokitika, on the west coast of New Zealand. The facility was founded in 1872 and while it seems unknown as to who originally served as the Superintendent records indicate that John Downey assumed the position in 1904, having been promoted from his former position as Head Attendant. His wife was also stationed at the hospital, having accepted the role as the Matron. As the facility expanded it adopted a 'villa-hospital design' which is comprised of many separate buildings across a significant expanse of land; approximately 150 acres in this instance. Subsequently, the hospital became Hokitika's main employer, although inmates were also employed to tend to the surrounding land and gardens. In all there were four principal buildings, providing seven dormitories with space for thirty-seven rooms, two dining rooms, toilets and washing facilities, and a padded cell; various industrial buildings, including a garage and coal store; a nursing school, including onsite accommodation for staff; a lighthouse which was used as an observation tower and a gaol with thirty cells. While the hospital housed only one hundred and thirty-eight males and thirty-seven females in 1905, it is rumoured that at its peak, in 1955, Seaview Asylum housed five hundred and forty-nine patients. Regardless, by the early 1990's a number of the units were closed, along with the nursing school and much of the onsite accommodation for members of staff. Further, by 1996 there were only one hundred patients left at the facility. At the point of closure, in 2009, numbers had fallen to a mere twenty-two. Little is known about the general conditions and styles of treatment offered to (or forced upon) patients as records have remained well hidden or guarded, although it is worth noting that Seaview did allow a small number of patients out on probation from time to time. A number of critics have argued that it is unusual that Seaview Asylum has no record of any wrongdoing, misconduct or immoral abuse. On the contrary, the only record that does exist is a commendation suggesting that out of the eight asylums across New Zealand Seaview was worthy of praise. The only sign of 'bad blood' associated with the area can be directed towards the prison which existed at the site, prior to the establishment of the hospital, where a Maori gang were tried, executed and buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery located in the nearby vicinity.

Our little expedition to visit Seaview Psychiatric Asylum is a little bizzare as we'd decided, for some reason or another, to travel across much of New Zealand - over snowy mountains, through foggy valleys, and down tight winding roads - to reach it! We finally arrived in Hokitika in the very early hours of the morning and encroached upon what appeared to be an entirely abandoned town, for there were no people, no cars on the roads, or even cars parked by the sides of the roads... We drove around in circles for a short while, as any bewildered visitor would, until a lonely town security guard clocked us and decided to pursue; certainly, because there are no people, and with generally nothing else to do, it's very plausible that it seemed like an opportunity for a wild night in Hokitika. So there we were, being pursued at 5mph by security in the dead of night. Eventually, though, we managed to evade what could have been a very chancy situation and, deciding that there was a better social scene outside of town, we made for the hills. After a bit more driving we arrived at the driveway of Seaview Asylum which winds steadily up a small road towards an incredibly dark cemetery. Beyond that, we reached the first few street-lamps which cast out a dim yellow light over the cracked tarmac of the road, illuminating the various bits of rubble and tangled weeds poking up between the gaps. As we continued onward, following the few working street-lamps, we reached those that no longer offered any light, forcing us to continue down the broken road in darkness; sketchy, considering the size of the pot holes. After a short while, faint silhouettes of buildings emerged and at that point we realised that we'd most likely stumbled across Seaview Psychiatric Asylum, nicely tucked away in the most uncanny of settings. We returned the next day and had a good old explore in a number of the decaying buildings which revealed a number of intriguing objects. Overall, I'd say it was well worth a visit!

1: Seaview Psychiatric Asylum - The HUIA Building


2: Seaview Psychiatric Asylum Buildings


3: 10km/h Road Sign


4: The Forgotten Picture


5: Main Corridor of a Ward


6: Inside a Ward (Beds Missing)


7: Communal/Living Room


8: Bedpan


9: A Ward with a Bed


10: Dated Wheelchair


11: The Stool with a Step


12: Bed Shot from Behind a Wheelchair


13: Wet Room


14: Bathroom


15: A Ward (Again Without the Beds)


16: A Second Communal Space


17: Communal Bathtubs


18: No Admittance - Staff Only!


19: Decaying Typewriter


20: The Remnants of the Gym


21: The Remains of a Radio


22: Working Piano


23: The Neglected Teddy Bear


24: Inside the Garage/Workshop


25: Repco Computer Wheel Balancer


26: The Leftover Car


27: A Large Barrel Device

Last edited:


28DL Regular User
Regular User
Mar 21, 2014
Must have missed this when you first posted it!

Great stuff as always, looks an awesome place and nice report. :thumb

Apologies mate, think I accidentally "thumbs downed" you by mistake (bloody fat fingers on my phone! :banghead) but gave you a double thumbs up so hopefully that's rectified it!? My bad mate! :banghead


Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014
Must have missed this when you first posted it!

Great stuff as always, looks an awesome place and nice report. :thumb

Apologies mate, think I accidentally "thumbs downed" you by mistake (bloody fat fingers on my phone! :banghead) but gave you a double thumbs up so hopefully that's rectified it!? My bad mate! :banghead
Nah it's all good mate, no thumbs down as far as I can see. Cheers for your thumb up though lol :)