Seat’s seen some magic moments

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To many, a seat is just a seat. But this is a little bit special.
A seat many mothers may remember, which served for decades at the old and new Oamaru Hospitals, is to be restored as a memorial to the women of North Otago.
Former Oamaru Hospital staff member Kay King said the seat had served Oamaru people during some tense times.
“For years, it sat outside the main entrance to the maternity annex at the hospital on the hill,” Mrs King said.
“In those early times, the father was not permitted into the delivery theatre until after the event and their wife and baby were all cleaned up. He passed his wife into the care of the maternity staff then awaited to hear the news of his new arrival.
“Not all homes had a telephone or family car so some fathers sat having a smoke on this seat waiting for their good news,” Mrs King said.
She said many mothers used the seat during their stay at the annex, opened in 1952, which usually lasted about two weeks, compared to the just one to two days new mothers stay today.
“As a new mum, I too sat there in the sun with other mums … swapping stories about babies.”When the annex was closed and maternity services moved to ward 1 of the main hospital in 1964, the seat was moved and placed on a veranda, where it was used by mothers, families and staff.
When the new hospital was opened in 2000, replacing the 1872 hospital that overlooked the town, the seat was moved.
“With the relocation to the new hospital, I felt this seat had too much history to leave behind, so it went with us into the maternity courtyard with thanks to the Lions Club of North Otago, who shifted us.”Time took its toll though and when the courtyard was redesigned, the seat was pensioned off. It was given to a retired staff member.
But Mrs King said she and many others wanted to see the seat restored and returned to the hospital.
Oamaru Hospital general manager Robert Gonzalez and Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher supported them and Tim Kitto, of Whitestone Contracting, has taken on the restoration job.
The seat will be set on a concrete pad and have a plaque added at a cost of about $500.

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