Health records - Christchurch
This reference guide gives brief details about the key records we hold which contain medical information about individuals. Every effort has been made to ensure that the guide is as comprehensive as possible, but due to the sheer bulk of material that we hold which may be of some relevance, it is not exhaustive.
We hold many records from the publicly funded health institutions in Canterbury and Westland. These include the former Health Department District Offices (and their latest incarnations as Crown Public Health, and now Community and Public Health), the Hospital and Charitable Aid Boards and their successors the District Health Boards and Crown Health Entities, and the health institutions directly under their control. We also hold records from institutions formerly directly controlled by the government such as the psychiatric hospitals and Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer. We also hold health-related records from a number of other government departments such as the National Radiation Laboratory, and the Department of Education.
We do not hold records from private institutions or individual medical practitioners. We do however hold records relating to some orphanages, refuges and other charitable aid institutions controlled by the Hospital Boards for a period. For more information about these institutions please refer to our Charitable Aid and Social Welfare Records guide.
Because the Hospital Boards and their successors were not originally under the Archives Act, the health records we do hold have come to us in a sometimes haphazard and accidental way, and many records have been destroyed in the past. Among the mass of health records that have come to us, only a small proportion deal with medical information about individuals. This guide focuses on patient information, if you are interested in records about public health staff, it is best to conduct a search of Archway. Christchurch Nursing School files are listed by name; for other staff records it is often a case of searching through the registers or administrative files of a particular institution.
These records are largely registers of various kinds, recording patients’ admission to an institution, and their eventual discharge or death, and can contain information about a patient’s occupation, religion, address, nationality, and occupation of parents. They do not always contain information about the illness or injury. These are sometimes supplemented by related registers from individual units of the institution; for example, operations registers and casualty room registers. Other large series of registers were created to keep track of fees owed to the institution by patients. Whilst all of these registers can provide interesting genealogical information, (fees registers from Christchurch Public, for example, provide the name, occupation, nature of illness, locality, and age of the patient), they do not provide very much, if any, information about the medical condition of the patient or the treatment that they received. Beyond the registers, useful information may be found in case books or individual patients’ files. Refer to this fact sheet for hospital patient files which have been transferred to us.
We hold an extensive number of patient case files from Sunnyside Psychiatric Hospital for patients admitted between 1865 and 1973, from Seaview Psychiatric Hospital for patients admitted between 1892 and 1988, and Queen Mary Hospital for patients admitted between 1943 and 1973. The files from Queen Mary include both military and civilian patients, although the active duty military files have themselves been purged of all but the admissions slips and miscellaneous correspondence. Civilian files, and those of ex-servicemen and women, are unexpurgated and as a result contain substantially more information. Bear in mind that patients’ records have been routinely destroyed by the hospitals in the past, a practice likely to continue under current health disposal authorities.
Indexes/finding aids/ordering items to view
Many of the registers are self-indexed, or have a series of indexes within our holdings. In addition, some items have been nominally indexed on our in-house database. An asterisk within a record description indicates that an in-house index is available for the record.
Unrestricted items can be ordered for viewing in our reading room via our online holdings database and ordering system, Archway. If you have permission to view restricted material (see Access, below), then please provide evidence of this to the Desk Archivist, who will assist you to order the item(s), where possible.
Access to medical records on individuals in restricted for 100 years from the date of filing.
This access restriction covers all patient records held by our Christchurch archive even if the record is your own. Responsibility for administering access under the Public Records Act 2005 falls to the agency that created the records (or its successor). Permission to access patient records is given by the Privacy Officer or Manager of the District Health Board responsible for them.
Should you be granted access permission to restricted records, a confirmation letter will be sent both to you, and to us. On receipt of this letter, please contact us. Depending on the nature of the records, we will conduct research into these on your behalf, or arrange for you to view them in our reading room, where possible.
Who do I write to in order to request access permission?
Records from Canterbury and West Coast Hospitals:
Senior Corporate Solicitor Canterbury District Health Board
P.O. Box 1600
Records from South Canterbury Hospitals:
South Canterbury District Health Board
Private Bag 911
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Miscellaneous Maternity Records 1922-1960 CH426 /23a-25a
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Admission & Discharge Register 1988-1904, 1906-1907 CH1082, CH527 /8a, /103 Patient Ledger 1906-1939, 1969-1983 CH527 /150, 153-161 Register of Patients 1908-1934, 1944-1961, 1948-1969 CH527, CH1082 /98-102, /219-221, /9b, /11b, /12a Returns & Chairman Reports [Includes names of patients 1910-1914 CH527 /162 Register of Operations 1920-1942, 1942-1952, 1953-1975 CH527, CH1082 /109-111, /223-226, /9a, /10a-10b, /11a, /12b, /13a-13b Miscellaneous Maternity Records* 1921-1945 CH527 /189, /232-235 Register [Homeside Men] 1931-1962 CH527 /113 Isolation Ward 1934-1945 CH527 /112 Admission Registers 1934-1956, 1990-1992 CH527, CH1082 /104-108, /222, /3c Outpatients 1945-1954 CH1082 /3e Maternity Register* 1960-1969 CH1082 /7a Physiotherapy Daily Record Books 1961-1968 CH1082 /7b, /8b Casuality Books 1981-1990 CH1082 /4a-5d Acute Assessment Unit Night Report Books 1988-1990 CH1082 /5e-5h Register of Controlled Drugs 1988-1990 CH1082 /3d See also: *For maternity cases also check the records of Malvern Hospital and the Methven and Rakaia Maternity Colleges. For Tuarangi Old Men's Home records see Charitable Aid & Social Welfare Records.
Bottle Lake/Infectious Diseases Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Admission Register 1903-1906 CH384 9/2, 1* Note: Became Burwood Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Register of Patients* 1903-1924, 1930-1958 CH552 /1-10 Index of Patients 1941-1943 CH552 /11 Appointment Books [Ear Nose and Throat/Tonsils and Adenoids] 1967 CH293 /95-98 Note: Previously Bottle Lake Hospital * These registers include maternity patients but no birth details are given
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Maternity Register/Admissions 1927-1930, 1961-1970 CH854 /1a-1i Patients' Register [Maternity from 1929] 1927-1969 CH627 /1 Maternity Register 1970-1974 CH627 /2 See also: Country/Cottage Hospitals below
Christchurch Public Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Admission & Discharge Registers 1863-1901; 1879-1880 CH384, CH293 9/3 series, /158 Register of Inpatients & Outpatients 1866-1869 CH293 /155 Admission Register 1869-1873; 1885-1903; 1907-1911 CH384 9/1 series* Discharge & Fees Registers 1875-1899; 1904-1929; 1931-1934 CH384 9/4 series Registers of Patients 1879-1885; 1901-1928 CH384 9/6 series Register of Deaths 1881-1911 CH384 12/1 Case Books 1886; 1891-1899 CH384 10/2, 1; 10/3, 1; 10/3, 2 Index Case Book 1887-1925 CH384 10/1 series Patients' Index Books 1902/1943 CH384 9/7 series Casualty Registers 1911-1921; 1953-1956; 1961-1968 CH293 /153-154; /176-199 Maternity Register [with case notes] 1913-1919 CH384 31/1 Operations Book 1915-1919 CH384 15/1 Outpatient Registers 1915-1921; 1924-1930; 1935-1938; 1946-1950; 1950-1953 CH293 /148-151; /156-157; /161-162 Mortuary Signature Books 1918-1946 (Gaps) CH410 /1a-4b Death Certificate Butts 1920-1931 (Gaps); 1955-1970 CH410, CH293 /4c-4y, /81a-81y Patients' Files [Sample only, not all files have been retained. Use CH339 Index below to find file numbers] 1925-1927; 1934-1938 (Two files only for 1937-1939); 1941-1942; 1944-1945; 1945-1946 CH324 Index to Medical Records [Use this to find patients' file numbers for CH324 above] 1925-1969 CH339 Register & Fees [These give a patient's name, address, age, admission/discharge dates - need patient no./admission date to use] 1928-1959 CH293, CH384 /200-/219; 9/5 series Operations Registers 1929-1975 (Gap 1932); 1950-1953; 1975-1990 CH293; CH339; CH823 /114-135, /241-246; Box 5 /1-6; /103-106 Gynaecological Operations Registers 1934-1957 CH293 /135-147 Admission Registers to Gynaecological Ward 1945-1957 CH293 /165-174 Minor Treatment Register c.1948-1951 CH293 /247 Admission & Discharge Register 1955-1956 CH293 /159 Oncology/Radiotherapy Correspondence 1962-1977 CH293 /82a-82e Patients' Files [Purged] 1970 CH327 Coroner's Post-Mortem Reports 1970-1978 CH339 Hospital Movement Lists (Register of Patients) 1980-1992 CH823 /78-102 Accident Register 1986 CH823 /107-108
Christchurch Women's/St. Helen's Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Indoor Case Book [Maternity Cases] 1907-1921 CH394 /1-15 Outdoor Case Book 1907-1921; 1937-1945 CH394 /33-37 Indoor Case Accounts Book Sept 1932 - June 1933; July 1944 - Aug - 1948 CH394 /17 Indoor Case Registers 1943-1944; Aug 1948-1958; 1962-1975; 1977-1981 CH394 /16, /18-32 Baby Death Certificate Counterfoils 1950-1987 CH559 /1a-1/ Maternity Registers 1952-1960 CH394 /40, /41 Admission Registers Feb 1960 - Aug 1962 CH559 /27d Operating Theatre Register 1961-1980; 1982-1991 CH559 Box 9, Boxes 29-33 Operations Registers 1969-1979 CH394 /38-39 Outpatients 1973-1979; 1981-1982; 1985-1992 CH559 Box 9, Box 35 Post Mortem Reports 1975-1982 CH1044 /4d (Series 24526) Birth Registers [Information Registers] 1975-1992 CH1044 /3e-4b (Series 24465) Indoor Case Book 1976-1978 CH559 /35k Perinatal Deaths, Stillbirths and Caesars Register [Informal Register] 1979-1989 CH1044 /4c (Series 24525) Operating Theatre [Accidents] 1982-1987 CH559 Box 9 Day/Admission Book 1983, 1986 CH1044 /3c-3d (Series 24559) Mortuary Signature Books 1987-1993, 1998-2004 CH1044 /43-4f (Series 24524) Operating Theatre [Incidents] 1990 CH559 Box 9
Coronation Hospital/Cashmere Sanatorium
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Register of Patients (Sanatorium) 1910-1966 CH373 /21-30 Register of Patients (Coronation) 1914-1932; 1958-66 CH373 /25, /31 Admission and Discharge Registers (Sanatorium & Coronation) 1917-1930 (Gaps) CH384 9/3, 9 See also: Country/Cottage Hospitals below. Patient registers are somewhat confusing as the various institutions on the hill kept their own separate records for different periods
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Registers of Patients 1919-1949 (Gap 1920) CH384 9/8 series Auxiliary Hospitals Index Book 1929-1938 CH384 9/11 series Country Hospitals Index 1935-1938 CH384 9/7, 17 Administered by Christchurch Hospital: Akaroa, Amuri, Chatham Islands, Cheviot, Darfield, Ellesmere, Kaikoura, Lincoln, Little River, Lyttelton Casualty Ward, Oxford, Rangiora, Upper Sanatorium, Waikari. Note that some of these institutions also have separate listings in this guide. These records also contain information from the Fresh Air Home - For more on this institution see: Charitable and Social Welfare Records.
Record description Dates Agency Series Report Books 1927-1971 AGTU 27289 Registers of Patients 1927-2007 AGTU 27291 Medical Certificates (Still-births/Foetal Deaths) 1958-1961, 1966-1977 AGTU 27292 Patient Record Books 1963-1970 AGTU 27290 Patient Condition Notification Forms 1963-1978 AGTU 27306 Baby Weight Books 1971-1973, 1978-1986 AGTU 27286 Maternity Admission/Discharge Registers 1974-1980, 1986 AGTU 27287 See also: Country/Cottage Hospitals above
Female Refuge/Essex Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Female Refuge Registers 1876-1886 CH384 7/3 series* Female Refuge Report Books [Includes notes 1876] 1878-1919 (Gaps 1894, 1903-1912, 1915-1916, 1922-1923, 1927) CH384 7/1 series* Female Reformatory Registers 1880-1883 CH384 7/2 series* Female Refuge/Essex Home [Hospital] Case Book 1886-1894 CH395 1d* Female Refuge/Essex Home Registers of Weekly Returns 1887-1911 CH395 /1a-1c,* /2a-2b Female Refuge/Essex Home [Hospital] Diaries 1903-1959 (Many years missing) CH395 See Archway for items* Female Refuge/Essex Hospital Diaries re: Patients 1905-1908 CH823 /109-112 Essex Home Registers [of admissions and discharges] 1912-1945 CH384 9/3, 8; 9/3, 9 Essex Hospital Report Books 1920-1928 CH384 7/1 series Female Refuge/Essex Home [Hospital] Maternity Register 1924-1930 (Many months missing) CH395 See Archway for items Essex Hospital Labour Ward Records [Report Book] 1958-1968; 1977-1978 CH559 Boxes 33-35 Some patient files have been retained at Christchurch Women's Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Daily Report Book 1939-1969 CH395 /10a-10j, /11a-11/ Admission Register[Maternity] 1969-1971 CH552 /25
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Daily Report Book 1963-1964 CH395 /12a Patients' Charts 1966-1967 CH395 /12b See also: Lyttelton Casualty Ward - in Country/Cottage Hospitals above
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Maternity Registers 1921-1937; 1948-1969 CH1082 /3b, /2e Fees/Cash Books 1931-1945 CH527 /151, /188-189, /235
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Admissions Register Maternity [Includes Arawa Hospital 1942-1943] 1922-1933 (Arawa 1942-1943) CH527 /232
Nurse Maude Hospital and Camp
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Patient Records/Register 1903-1908 CH373 /7, /20
Princess Margaret Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Operating Theatre Registers 1959-1991 CH560 /1-11, /13 Gynaecological Register 1961; 1965-66 CH559 /28a-28c Appointment Book for Patients with Specialists 1965 CH293 /94 Arterial Register 1971-1985 CH560 /15 Thoracic Operations Register 1978-1981 CH560 /14 Recovery Ward Registers 1990-1994 CH560 /17-20 Day Surgery Register 1991-1993 CH560 /12
Queen Mary Hospital, Hanmer Springs
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Registers of Patients [includes Army, Navy, Air Force, & Civilian Patients] 1918-1988 (discharges extend to 1991) CAWS 17001 [Civilian], 18277 [Army], 18280 [Air Force], 18297 [All] Indexes of Patients 1957-1990 CAWS 17002, 18279 Army Patient Case Files† 1943-1946 CAWS 18278 Air Force Patient Case Files† 1951-1957 CAWS 18281 Civilian Patient Case Files† 1943-1973 CAWS 3420 Misc. Patient Administration Records 1970-2003 CAWS 27383 Log Books 1994-1996 CBDB 27382 Ward Report Books 1995-1996 CAWS 27380 Defence Department Hospital 1916-21, Department of Health 1921-1972 †Case files are not listed by patient name on Archway
Rakaia Maternity Cottage
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Admissions Register (Maternity) 1923-1933 CH527 /233
Sunnyside Psychiatric Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Registers of Patients/Admissions 1854-1973 CH388, CH764 /1-9, /3c-e & /12-13 Indexes 1864-1930s CH388 /10*-11 Case Books 1872-1917 CH388 /15-31, /62 (Some of the earliest case books are fragile, we have digitised these) Registers of Death & Discharges 1872-2001 CH388, CH764, CH1077 /32-38, /14-16, /8 Registers of Patients Absent on Trial 1876-1968 CHH388, CH764 /46-47, /18-24 Post-Mortem Book 1880-1896; 1929-1951 CH388, CH764 /45, /17 Patient Case Files† 1865-1973† CH1025, CH1077 Registers of Mechanical Restraint 1920-1963; 1967-1968 CH764 /4a-6b Registers of Voluntary Patients 1912-1969 CH764 /4a-6b Register of Soldier Patients 1941-1955 CH764 /11a Patient Day Book 1965 CH1041 /2b †These are the initial admission dates, information on an individual file may extend beyond this period depending on the length of a patient's stay; please note that we hold only very few patient files for admissions beyond 1961. Only open-access case files are listed on Archway.
Templeton Psychiatric Hospital
Record description Dates Accession Series/item Registers of Patients/Admissions 1929-1995 CH875 /3, /7-8, & /12 Registers of Discharges/Transfers 1929-1999 CH875 /5, /11 Register of Deaths 1930-1995 CH875 /6 Patients Absent on Trial 1956-1970 CH875 /4 Post Mortem Register 1963-1968 CH875 /9
South Canterbury Hospitals
Admission & Discharge Registers 1922-1963 CH886 /152
Maternity Registers 1944-1970 CH886 /108a-108aj
Maternity Registers 1924-1930; 1934-70 CH886 /68c-107w
Maternity Registers 1930-1973 CH886 /59-61
Old Men’s Home Registers 1884-1932 CH886 /169c-169e
Patient Case Files [few] 1917-1922 CH1046 /1a-1p*
Operations Record Books 1923-1998 CH886 /74-88, /105-106, /109-116, /165a- 165d, /170-180
Jean Todd Obstetrics Registers 1924-1997 CH886 /46-58
Anaesthetic Registers 1928-1936; 1961-1962 CH886 /164, /177a-177b
Admission & Discharge Registers 1941-1948 CH886 /156-157
Admission Registers 1941-48; 1951-1975; 1996 CH886 /37-45, /158-162, /176c
Readmitted Patients 1954-1959 CH886 /175d-175e
Labour Ward Records 1958-1965; 1967; 1969-1972 CH886 /1-36
Outpatients’ Register 1959-1965 CH886 /172b
Patients’ Register 1968-1978 CH886 /176a-176b
Doctors’ Minute Books 1975-1995 CH886 /175a-175b
Accident & Emergency/Day Patients’ Registers 1984-1997 CH886 /151e-151l
Maternity/Obstetric Registers 1971-1984 CH886 /62
Register of Admissions & Discharges 1878-89; 1917-1973 CH886 /89*-94, /170-171
Correspondence & Surgeons’ Reports 1878-1885 CH1046
Registers of Patients 1884-1917; 1922-1924; 1941-1945 CH886 /101-102 , /153*-154 /166j, /168g
Operation Registers 1895-1983 CH886 /95- 100, /177e
Fees Registers 1918-1926; 1937-1941 CH886 /104, /150d, /155
Maternity Registers 1946-1980 CH886 /64-67, /168a, /169b
West Coast Hospitals
Buller Hospital, Westport (& Kawatiri Maternity)
Patients’ Register 1919-1953 CH775 /20-26
Outpatients’ Register 1966-1974 CH775 /27-28
Kawatiri Report Book 1940-1956 CH775 /31-37
Kawatiri Antenatal Clinic Case Book 1948-1959 CH775 /29-30
Patients’ Register 1910-1933 CH775 /38
Grey River/Grey/Grey Base Hospital, Greymouth (& McBrearty Maternity)
Registers of Operations 1921- 2005 CBBE 3360
Miscellaneous Registers (including Admissions & Discharges) 1934 -1956 CBBE 3365
McBrearty Admission Registers† 1938–2011 CBBE 3361
McBrearty Theatre Register 1944–1971 CBBE 3363
McBrearty Ward Report Book 1954–2006 CBBE 3362
†McBrearty Admission Registers do record time of birth.
Seaview Psychiatric Hospital, Hokitika
Case Books 1869-1876, 1884-1916 [CAHW Series 27346]
Register of Patients/Admissions 1869-2003 [CAHW Series 3358]
Miscellaneous Patient Registers (includes discharges, deaths, removals, patients absent on remand/trial, transfers, weights, escapes, patients under observation, property register, and contributing patients ledger books) 1869-1976 [CAHW Series 27357]
Records of Seclusion & Mechanical Restraint 1871-1967 [CAHW Series 12360]
Report Books [Ward Reports] 1874-1967 [CAHW Series 12284]
Patient Case Files (Indexed) † 1892-2012 [CAHW Series 3357]
Register of Voluntary Inpatients 1922-1970 [CAHW Series 27358]
† These files relate to patients admitted to Seaview Hospital between 1892 and 1988, material extends to 2012 on some files. Only a few files with admission dates prior to 1900; case histories for patients admitted between 1869 and 1916 may be obtained via the Case Books in series 27346. Only open-access files are listed on Archway.
Westland Hospital, Hokitika
Register of Patients 1884-1955 CH391 /19*-29
Operation Book/Register of Operations 1907-1975 CH391 /6-14, /31
Patients’ Ledger 1916-1919 CH890 /40
Admission Register 1922-1933; 1949-1950; 1955-1971; 1975-1976 CH391 CH890 CH709 CH890 /1-5, /34-36 /38b /16a-b /23h
Admissions & Discharges 1923-1926; 1940-1943; 1972-1976 CH391 /15-17
Fees Journal/Patients’ Register 1928-1950 CH890 /42b, /46a, /54a
Patients’ Index c.1948-1949 CH677 /1
X-Ray Registers 1950-1959 CH391 /18, /33
Maternity 1952-1982 CH890 /56a
Outpatients’ Register 1974-1976 CH391 /32
Maternity Admissions & Discharges 1975-1979 CH890 /23g
Maternity – Ellis Ward 1980-1982 CH890 /54b
Additional mental health material from the courts
Supreme Court (Christchurch)
Lunatics Act Administrative Papers and Forms (includes Notices of Admission, Death, Discharge or Removal, Statements of Bodily Health and Mental Condition, and Patient Returns from Sunnyside Hospital). 1863-1873 CAHX 24997
Lunatics/Mental Defectives Act Files 1859-1953 CAHX 24996
Christchurch Magistrate's Court
Mental Defectives Act Files 1937-1948 CAHS 18534
Compulsory mental health assessment and treatment orders can also be found in the Domestic/Family Proceedings Files series from the Magistrates’/District and Family Courts of the Canterbury and Westland regions, dating from the 1970s onwards, ask an archivist for more information.
Access to the above court files is restricted for 100 years from file closure. Permission to access may be obtained from:
Christchurch High Court (for Supreme Court material) or Christchurch District Court (for Magistrate’s Court material)
Last updated on 27 September 2021
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