Family Planning Association in Porirua
By Kay Lavill
Date posted: 6 April 2015
The Porirua Family Planning Clinic is now situated in Suite 411, Level 4, North City Shopping Centre, not too far from its original site, and possibly directly above its first purpose-based facility. The formerly named Sex, Hygiene and Birth Regulation Society established in 1936, sensibly changed its name to the Family Planning Association shortly afterwards. The first clinic opened in 1953 in Remuera, Auckland.
The first Porirua clinic opened in August 1972 in the Health Department rooms, State Insurance Buildings in Hagley Street. It was the first time a clinic was provided in Health Department premises and both Dr Andrews (seen here at his farewell on 26 September 1978) and Dr Alison Riddel, working in the clinic also worked for the Health Department.
In the late 1970s the clinic moved to premises in Eastwood Avenue. Do any of you remember Dr Win, Nurses Jan, Kath and Marion, and receptionist Vivienne? This photo, taken on 3 December 1982, shows Marion Holoway, Viv Patterson,Dame Margaret Sparrow, Win Kennedy and Kath Hobson.
The Eastwood Avenue property was an ex state house and was shared with the Hospital Paediatricians. With the proposed development on a shopping Mall on the site the clinic was closed and for a short period Porirua clients had to attend the Wellington or Lower Hutt clinics.
By the mid 1980s we were back in the upper floor of the State Insurance Building, sharing with the Public Health nurses. We had two evening clinics a week, with all our equipment carefully packed up in a large metal cupboard. Dr Win, Nurse Jan and receptionist Vivienne returned, but were joined by Dr Sheila, Dr Rada, Nurse Kay, and receptionist Pip, Marion’s daughter. When Pubic Health moved to new premises under the canopies, so went Family Planning before moving into our very own rooms in the 1st Floor, Robert’s Building, in Hartham Place.
The metal cupboard and staff came too, initially to a small back area before taking over a second room. Porirua was expanding and a need was seen to take the service to the people. The clinic acted as a base for a number of outreach clinics in the 1990s. Clinics were held one day a week with Pacifica in Champion Street, Aotea and Porirua Colleges, the Fanau Centre, Whitirea Polytechnic and importantly Porirua Hospital where Dr Jenny became an institution. With expanding services new staff became involved, but Win, Jan and Kay, were there to see our move to the present premises in the Plaza.
Family Planning’s philosophy includes affordable access to health care services. In 2015 the cost of a visit to the clinic for people with community services cards is $5.00 and for people under 22 it's free. In 1988 they would have paid $10.00. The clinic is open Monday to Friday with two late night services available. The staff, a number of whom have worked in the clinic for over 20 years, provide an expert service, enabling women and men to make informed choices about sexuality and sexual and reproductive health.