Freed to care proud to nurse launched in style: NZNO's Matariki celebrations this year, held on Pipitea Marae in Wellington, had a special focus--the launch of NZNO's centennial history Freed to Care, Proud to Nurse.
(Rites, ceremonies and celebrations)
Nurses (Social aspects)
|Publication:||Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032|
|Issue:||Date: July, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 6|
|Topic:||Event Code: 290 Public affairs|
|Product:||Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners|
|Organization:||Organization: New Zealand Nurses Organisation; New Zealand Nurses Organisation|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand|
Nursing in New Zealand arose out of the institutions of empire, the
military and Christianity, which were as far removed from Maori as you
could get, said author Mary Ellen O'Connor at the launch of her
book, NZNO's centennial history Freed to Care Proud to Nurse.
However, she said it showed how far NZNO had come, how much more inclusive it had become, that its centennial history was being launched on a marae, and at a celebration of Matariki, the Maori new year.
The launch and Matariki celebration dinner were held last month at Wellington's inner-city Pipitea Marae--a warm-spirited occasion attended by nursing, Maori and NZNO guests.
'A great education'
O'Connor paid tribute to the "nurse elders" who she said had been enormously helpful for the insights they had provided to her as a non-nurse and newcomer to NZNO. She said writing the 100-year history had been "a great education and I feet the richer for having undertaken it".
Emphasising the enormity of the task, she joked: "When I saw the finished product, I was finally freed not to care!"
Guest speaker Associate Health Minister and Maori Party co-leader, Tariana Turia, said it was a wonderful occasion "to be celebrating the difference that nurses, midwives, health care workers and other health professionals make to the health and well-being of all people in Aotearoa.
"And it is absolutely appropriate that we celebrate a century of care as we embark upon the Maori New Year--what we in Whanganui know of as Puanga--and what other iwi may call Matariki."
Puanga was the time in which people gathered together, stored kai and prepared the ground for future crops to prepare for the cold months ahead. "It is a time to share our stories, to embrace in the warmth of our whanau, to learn of our history, our culture, our heritage."
She said O'Connor's book went back to 1909 to the origins of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, when Hester MacLean, the Health Department's assistant inspector of hospitals, called a meeting of the four trained nurses associations of New Zealand.
Turia said the book introduced some of the key characters who had influenced the progress of nursing in Aotearoa. "Sibylla Emily Maude (known as Nurse Maude) would walk many miles every day, often carrying basic cooking and cleaning equipment; he(ping those who were too poor to pay for care."
"The story of Akenehi Hei, of Whakatohea and Te Whanau-A-Apanui, is also fascinating. Akenehi was the first nurse and midwife to register under her Maori name. There had been Mereana Tangata before her--also known as Mary Ann Leonard--but when the register was opened she was simply entered as No 252."
She said Hei was in every way a pioneer--"working doggedly against the odds, often getting little support from officials concerned with minimising costs--and a government not fully committed to Maori health."
At the turn of the century, Turia said, the ethos of nursing--while based on the ideals espoused by Florence Nightingale--was also one in which doctors were dominant and women, including matrons, had limited status and power.
Early in the book, O'Connor wrote: "Questioning authority was not encouraged; it was regarded as insubordination or disobedience and often resulted in dismissal."
Turia said that was a likely explanation of why her nursing career was so short; also, she accepted a marriage proposal at a time when nurses were not allowed to be married.
She said she loved the aspiration of Te Runanga o Aotearoa: hei oranga motuhake mo nga whanau me nga hapu me nga iwi. "It is that highest level of health--as determined by our whanau, hapu and iwi.
"The mission states the case for a model of health which is not just about the standards of care and the outcomes specified within the profession--but it also places priority on the collective responsibility of our families to protect hauora as a goal for Life.
"It is, at its essence, the expression of whanau ora--our determination to care for our own, to restore to ourselves the fullest potential of health and well-being"
Turia said that sense of a shared commitment to health was in sharp contrast to the medical hierarchies and clinical dominance which shaped the early development of the nursing profession.
NZNO chief executive Geoff Annals paid tribute to O'Connor for searching out and gathering this country's nursing stories which otherwise might have been Lost.
The book's publisher, Roger Steele, said it was an honour to work on the book, which was an exciting, lively story, and which boded well for the future of nursing in New Zealand.
Steele said that being descended from a Line of nurses himself--his grandmother was a nurse in World War 1 and his mother was a nurse in Word War II--"when the opportunity of working on this book came up, I was sold. It's close to my heart, it's a very special thing to be involved in this book".
Margaret Bazley--former principal nurse of the then Sunnyside Hospital, a former director of the division of nursing in the Department of Health, a former State Services Commissioner and a former president of NZNA--was guest of honour at the second launch of NZNO's centennial publication Freed to Care, Proud to Nurse at NZNO's national office last month.
Congratulating author Mary E[Len O'Connor on the quality and detail of the history, she said it was a really comprehensive history of NZNA/NZNO "and more importantly nursing". It was the story of the Leaders, it chronicled the social environment and the major events in the country and how these affected nurses and how nurses responded. She had been involved in many histories in the public sector but "never one of this quality".
Bazley was NZNA president from 1972-74 and went on to become the director, Division of Nursing, in the Department of Health from 1978 to 1984.
Looking back on "events that occupied 25 years of my Life", Bazley recalled the fact that Mary Lambie--"a saint when I was training"--was the first director of the division of nursing in the Department of Health to have ever visited a mental hospital.
Conferences always Loomed Large in Bazley's life. "There was always a room full of smoke and on the second day somebody would move a resolution that there be no smoking. How times have changed."
Another conference resolution made sure that retired nurses attending conferences Left their knitting at home. "It was not a good took when trying to convince Ministers that we were very professional."
Everybody wore hats and gloves to conference--"I remember Margaret Pickard (subsequently Lithgow) always had a spectacular new hat for conference."
Among the achievements of Bazley's presidency was the establishment of a registered union for nurses working in the private sector; the transfer of nursing education from the hospital to the tertiary education sector and the elimination of split shifts. "I had big battles with matrons on the [NZNA] executive, which was made up entirely of nurse Leaders, who couldn't see any reason by nurses couldn't work split shifts or short changes. In psychiatric hospitals, which is where I trained, that wouldn't have been tolerated. But the matrons were furious that they should be done away with. They had no idea of their role, which was to represent the nursing workforce."
She recalled a very traumatic time when half the executive resigned over a poster in which nurses demanded better pay. "It was terrifying.
Half the executive said they weren't going to be associated with a poster that demanded anything. In the psychiatric workforce, demand was quite a common word. I didn't understand the general hospital culture. The NZNA executive officer Thelma Burton told me to Let them go and I'll always be grateful to her for that."
Bazley recalled that during her time the association was constantly questioning whether it was a professional or a representative organisation. "At every conference a matron would get up and say: 'we don't want a pay rise we are all well paid" But the profession was starting to stand on its own feet, rather than be at the whim of the medical profession. But the Medical Association was still telling us what we should and should not be doing, particularly about nursing education."
She recalled a meeting with the Hospital Boards' Association at which the chief executive had brought along his wife, an ex-nurse, "to tell us we were on the wrong track".
The presidency was a most trying and most rewarding time. "I'm enormously proud of what happened during that time," she said.
Freed to Core, Proud to Nurse described the evolution of the organisation to a strong representative organisation "so robust no-one is going to push you around these days. It is a great record of the past and a background for further advancement."
Bazley congratulated O'Connor on the publication, the amount of research involved and the fact it was "a really great read". She also congratulated NZNO for "having the vision to commission such a remarkable publication".
O'Connor, thanking Bazley for officially Launching the book in her very tight schedule, said Dame Margaret had had a distinguished career in nursing and beyond, and had played a pivotal rote in the shift of nursing education from hospitals to tertiary education institutions "when the stakes were very high".
O'Connor thanked the centennial committee members who had given so much of their time, paying particular tribute to its chair, professional nursing adviser Charlotte Thompson, and the Large team of committed people who had helped with the Launch. Acknowledging the "infinite patience and humour" of publisher Roger Steele, O'Connor said writing the history had been a great education.
Steele referred to Te Runanga o Aotearoa NZNO as a "guiding presence behind the book" and said the book had woven together the conservative, the radical and Maori elements of NZNA/NZNO. He said he needed no encouragement to publish the book and congratulated the editorial committee for giving O'Connor a free hand and what had emerged was a "comprehensive, analytical and discursive history".
* Freed to Care, Proud to Nurse is available from NZNO national office at o cost of $50 (incl post and packaging) to NENO members and $65 (incl pandp) for non-members. An order form can be downloaded from http://www.nzno.org.nz/services/resources/centennial_publication or email email@example.com.
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