Derek Dow

Safeguarding the Public Health: A History of the New Zealand Department of Health

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The New Zealand Department of Public Health came into existence in 1900. In addition to charting the development of the Department, this history traces the evolution of public health in New Zealand since 1840, and helps to place some of the current debates about the New Zealand health system into their historical context. It also explores the ongoing search, which pre-dates the establishment of the Department, for ways to reduce the disparities between Māori and Pākehā health.

Safeguarding the Public Health provides an authoritative overview of the evolution of New Zealand’s public health system, and makes a major contribution to the expanding literature on the social history of medicine in New Zealand.

After completing a doctorate in history at Edinburgh University, Derek Dow spent eleven years as archivist to the Greater Glasgow Health Board. During that time he published extensively on hospitals and other local medical institutions. Since emigrating to New Zealand in 1990 he has worked as a freelance historian. His publications include a centenary history of the Auckland Golf Club (1994) and an Annoted Bibliography for the History of Medicine and Health in New Zealand (1994).


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