St John’s Orphanage – South Auckland

The Papatoetoe Orphan Home; opened on 1 April 1909, was a hospital for intellectually handicapped children.

The home designed by the architect George Selwyn Goldsbro, was also known as St Mary’s Home and the Church of England Orphan Home, until being renamed as St John’s Home, or St John’s Orphanage.

The Home accommodated 64 children.

Orphans were usually aged between 2 and 9 when they were admitted to the Papatoetoe Orphan Home. Boys could stay until they turned 14 and girls until they turned 16 years of age. When they were not at church, school or play, young boys had to work in the home’s vegetable garden. Boys aged between 12 and 14 worked on the home’s farm.

Young girls were taught housekeeping duties, and older girls aged between 14 and 16 were trained as domestic servants.

The main complex now sits empty and unused, with only a church and hall being utilised for Pacific Island functions and Church services and as in line for demolition soon to make way for future housing developments.

Another beautiful peace of New Zealand history lost in the name of ”progress”.

NOTE: These photos are documents of the existence of various historical (and some non historical) locations. We are not implying that these locations are haunted, (Some may very well be, but we havent yet had any reports) but present them here for the enjoyment of others.

IMPORTANT: We do not condone or encourage the breaking in and entering of secure buildings. Please respect the locations and the owners. Do not cause damage or steal from locations. Please be safe and act in a responsible and respectful manner. ”Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”.


  1. Rachel

    It was not used as a hospital for the disabled until 1963.
    My grandfather and his siblings grew up here from 1934 until 1948, after their father contracted Tuberculosis and placed in a sanatorium, along with their mother (who did not have it)
    They received an orange every Christmas as their only present, and an egg on their birthday. From the age of 10 the boys had to get up at an ungodly hour to milk the cows, and if they were late there was no breakfast. He is still fond of dripping sandwiches.

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