Lake Alice Hospital

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Lake Alice Hospital
Established 1945
Opened 1950
Closed 1999
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Rangitikei, NZ
Alternate Names


Layout plan proposing of the hospital showed that male patient’s accommodation was to occupy the southern half and female patients the northern half, which each half anticipated in 1945. 20 two storied 11 bed villas, 4 two storied 50 bed villas, 1 single story 60 bed villa for geriatric patients, giving a total of 50 villas of various types for 960 patients. Six occupational therapy buildings were to be placed around the western circumference, with three serving the female patients and three serving the male patients. This ambitious plan was apparently discarded following the change in government after the war

The hospital officially opened August 1950. A total of 21 patients were admitted the first day which followed by a further 27 on September 6th. There were no more intakes until following month when on October 1 another 3 arrived bringing the total number at Lake Alice for 1950 to 51. As the patient population increased so were the villas. Villa 8 had been the first villa occupied, but as transfers came in patients were dispersed to other villas, gradually opening them up until the entire hospital with the exception of Villa 7 and 10 were in use for patient accommodation. Villa 7 was used as a store, office, workshop and recreation centre. The first floor the north east dormitory was used as a picture theater and chapel, the centre dormitory as a billiard room. The south west dormitory was the workshop. Villa 10 was used to provide living quarters and catering facilities for single male staff as well as housing the head nurses office which was situated in charges office. The patients sick bay was located in the billiard room in Villa 8 and provided six beds.

The facility slowly shut down during the mid-1990s, finally shutting its doors in October 1999. The buildings and 56-hectare grounds were purchased in July 2006 by Auckland accountant and property developer group Lake Hicks Ltd. Plans to develop the former psychiatric hospital were scrapped after the owners fell into financial difficulties. The property was sold again in December 2008. The new owners intend to demolish most of the buildings including the infamous maximum security unit. A few buildings such as the Admin block will remain and the land will be used for farming.

In June 2021, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care held an 11 day hearing into the practices of Selwyn Leeks and the Adolescent Unit.