L-R: Registered nurse Simmy Bal with Matua Rangi Manihera and his wife Whaea Linda-Ann
I believe that OPR 2 has become a ward that is very interested in our cultural issues and I congratulate them. It’s a beautiful thing when nurses ask for karakia (prayer) in the mornings and doctors wait respectfully until they are concluded.
Kia ora koutou katoa (greetings to you all), I have been in the Waikato for the last 33 years and been in a wheelchair for 30 of them. I’ve been in the hospital since February 23rd of this year and had both of my legs amputated during that time.
As a Kaumātua and cultural advisor I speak from a cultural perspective. I believe that OPR 2 (Older Persons and Rehabilitation) has become a ward that is very interested in our cultural issues and I congratulate them. It’s a beautiful thing when nurses ask for karakia (prayer) in the mornings and doctors wait respectfully until they are concluded.
I remember returning to OPR 2 from another ward, it was like a pōwhiri (welcome). It was truly beautiful the way they welcomed us and wrote “Nau Mai Hoki Mai” (welcome back) on the board. We couldn’t wait to get back.
In OPR, every Kaumātua and Kuia is different and their māuiui (illness) can be difficult for nurses to understand but we are very proud of OPR 2. Staff are now aware about not touching a person’s head because it’s tapu (sacred) and they refer to my amputated legs by the names we chose (Tangiwai and Kahungunu), rather than “stumps”.
It’s not easy for our nurses dealing with these kinds of things every day and we’re here to support them. They come from all around the world and we’ve become very close to quite a few of our nurses here and we love them all.
Since I arrived, my wife (Linda-Ann) has been here 24/7. We are fully aware of how short they are of space and yet there is my wife’s bed and I‘m glad she’s there because I’ve had some difficult times. And everyone is made to feel welcome when visiting.
Linda-Ann: what I love about all of the staff here is that they speak to me in laymen’s terms. As my husband’s primary caregiver, that’s important – that I can understand them and develop routines for back home, and I encourage other whānau (family) to come in and learn.
Of course we want to go home but we will have a lot of memories from this place and our whare (house) would be too small if we were to invite them all home with us.
Nō reira, kāore ngā kōrero mō tēnei wā,
Mihi kau ake, huri noa, huri noa,
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
(I have no more to say at this time, thank you all).
Kia Kaha, Kia Maia, Kia Manawanui
(Be Strong, Be Steadfast, Be Determined).