Story: Primary health care

United Friendly Societies' dispensary

Friendly societies were clubs for working people, set up to help members in times of illness and death. Members paid a regular fee which entitled them to free medical care and subsidised medicines, before the state funded or covered these costs from the late 1930s. Friendly societies banded together to run pharmacies, such as this one in Wellington's Courtenay Place, probably photographed in the 1920s. It was still operating on the same street (though in a different building) in 2011.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, R. P. Moore Collection
Reference: PA6-017
Photograph by Robert Percy Moore

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Michael Belgrave, 'Primary health care - Improving access to health care, 1900s–1970s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 May 2022)

Story by Michael Belgrave, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2019