A History of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre Christchurch 1973-2013
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
The history of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre is closely connected with a thirty-year campaign by parents and professionals for official recognition of specific learning disability as a category and for a remedial service to address the needs of children affected to be provided within mainstream schooling in New Zealand. This paper focuses on the contribution of the two professional women, Dr Jean Seabrook and Mary Cameron-Lewis who stand out, along with the patron and benefactor Sir Roy McKenzie as making a substantial contribution to the development of the Centre. Inadequate recognition by the Department of Education of children with specific learning disabilities led to the need for a separate, private, facility. This essay discusses the significance this played in contributing to the opening of the initial Centre, the subsequent expansion of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre, and the eventual opening of a school. It argues that the lack of official recognition and provision of support for these children's learning needs played a major role in the history of the Centre's establishment and continues to be a factor in its operation today.