|About The Industrial Schools of New Zealand
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What were the Industrial Schools: The Neglected and Criminal Children’s Act 1867 empowered provincial governments to establish Industrial and Reform Schools for children under 15 years. There was a distinction was made between neglected and delinquent children and they were to be kept separate but this did not always happen and there are several lengthy newspaper articles on the folly of these two 'classes' being kept together. Provided that a child spent at least half the period of committal in an industrial school, s/he could be boarded out with foster parents, friends, or be placed in employment. The term used when in employment was 'licensed out' Sometimes they went back to their parents under this system, but they remained in the School System with the parent not having custody rights over their children. The provincial governments of Otago and Canterbury opened, respectively, the Caversham Industrial School in 1869 and the Burnham Industrial School in 1874. Others were opened later. See the longer version of this introduction by hovering the cursor over the People tab and clicking on 'Stories' Purpose of this website. I wanted a way to make the names of the children who entered these institutions and what their circumstances were before and after with the opportunity to add and correct and although this is genealogical software it works well for this purpose. My initial searches always started by using the National Library of New Zealand's service called "PapersPast " which is an ever growing digitization project making New Zealand's newspapers available to the Public. I make no apologies for the often lurid, racist and subjective prose used as it was the character of the time. You can be shocked by the circumstances of entering such institutions and for most it wasn't a happy time. About the only thing positive for many was a bed and the meals. Many children were sent for 5-7 years for stealing a coat, an apple, some eggs etc and the children were often sent far away from family so no possibility of family visits and comfort. Absconding, particularly from the boys was an almost daily occurrence and many were very inventive in their efforts to get back to the regions they came from. Children were often sent to the industrial schools through neglect, and their circumstances were often horrific in the extreme. Parents - often the mothers were vilified because of alcoholism, prostitution etc - often they had no choice because the fathers had deserted them and there was no welfare system and the poverty many in our beautiful modern country might scarcely comprehend ever existed here.