Most people had to pay for treatment at early public hospitals, which were run by charitable aid boards from 1885. People assessed as 'paupers' (very poor people) were treated for free. Boards and some members of the public were quick to expose those they believed were ripping off the system. In this newspaper clipping from 1894 the chair of the Dunedin Charitable Aid Board says that this system worked well, despite the fact that some people seemed to take unwarranted advantage of it.
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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Timaru Herald, 12 May 1894, p. 3
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