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PHENOMENA the Lost and Forgotten Children.

PHENOMENA the Lost and Forgotten Children.

Author(s): Susan Tarr

Location(s): Dunedin

Genre(s): Historical, Nonfiction

Era(s): 1926-1950

The Lost and Forgotten Children of New Zealand’s Early Mental Health System.
As a child I knew Malcolm, who was then a young man. Dad often invited him home for meals. Malcolm was one of the ‘lost children’ forgotten or abandoned by their families. We followed his story from childhood to adulthood as best we could even after he was eventually discharged back into the community. When considering the tragedy and abuse of Malcolm’s wasted earlier years, it is a story of immeasurable sadness. Yet he ultimately rose above it all, and with admirable strength, courage and innate resilience, was finally able to free ‘the regular boy within’ as he had always wanted.
I was raised within the community of the Seacliff Mental Hospital village, in New Zealand. Often it was difficult to know where fiction ended and the greater truth took over.
To separate the truths from the almost-truths at this stage would be an impossible task as many of those concerned have died. Therefore I have blended together various stories as representative of our family and friends’ combined belief of what most probably did happen during the period covered. Wherever possible, I’ve used correct dates, names and places. When there is doubt I’ve changed names and details for the protection of those still living.
This is Malcolm’s story as I believe it unfolded.

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