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Journal Article

‘The First Line of Defence’: Domestic Health Care in Colonial New Zealand, 1850s–1920s

Joanna Bishop
Health and History
Vol. 16, No. 2 (2014), pp. 1-23
DOI: 10.5401/healthhist.16.2.0001
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5401/healthhist.16.2.0001
Page Count: 23
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‘The First Line of Defence’: Domestic Health Care in Colonial New Zealand, 1850s–1920s
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Abstract

This article explores the role domestic healers played in maintaining the health of New Zealand's colonial population from the 1850s to the 1920s. It addresses the absence of domestic healers from New Zealand's current medical historiography and acknowledges the important and integral role that domestic healers played in New Zealand's diverse medical culture during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By locating health care in domestic spaces, and later, in informal health and welfare institutions in New Zealand, this article reveals the changing boundaries of ‘domestic medicine’ over time. It argues that, despite attempts to define the limits of domestic medical practices by authors of domestic medical manuals, by the late nineteenth century domestic health practices challenged the boundaries of state-funded institutional health.

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