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In 1877, the central government
supported plans to build a new farm asylum, and construction began 20 miles north of Dunedin on the eastern coast of the South Island. The dense forest provided a serene location, but the Director of the Geological Survey declared the site to be unsafe to build the asylum. The surrounding hillside was known to be unstable, and concerns were raised over what that would mean to the operation of the asylum. Despite such concerns, the building went ahead, and by 1884, all of the patients from the local asylum were transferred to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum.