“I don’t use that term retirement. What does it mean? It conjures up pictures of people just sitting around doing nothing much.  No, I’m a community volunteer.

After everything that I’ve been through and you don’t need the chapter and verse,  I can look back on my life with an enormous sense of joy and satisfaction for what I’ve overcome – I haven’t become a victim. I can still have gratitude in my person and in my life for the things that I have around me. And that includes my community.

I finished paid work over six years ago and I think I’ve only just really recovered from it. I worked with oncology patients for over 25 years. Even as a nurse you live with the grief of people you have known and cared for; and as time goes by, the impact of grief in your life gets smaller but it’s always there. 

When I left the bedside and I describe it this way…each person I cared for over the years was either like a fish scale or a feather. In itself each had not a lot of weight. However, after 25 years; I felt I had a cloak made from the scales and feathers. A beautiful cloak that had fish scales on the outside for protection, and feathers on the inside providing aroha and nurturing. To me that’s a privilege. I carry it with extreme humility. I don’t talk about it very often, because it’s so deeply personal; it’s very hard to explain. But that’s how I see it.

Now, my community focus is very grass-roots because I think that’s where you can help make things happen.  It’s really important to me because we all live in communities.  We all have our trials and tribulations.  We all want quality of life and we all want to live in an environment that nurtures and supports us.  To me it’s a privilege to live in the Lower Cashmere area and be on our Residents Association.  We’ve got this beautiful spot with mature trees and the river. I think the joy comes from gratitude and a feeling of fulfilment for the life I currently live. We are a community all doing little things, meaningful things; it’s all about people working together for a common purpose.”



Charity registration number: CC57701