Community mourns the loss of a mentor
One of the longest serving nurses at Tokoroa Hospital passed away suddenly in January this year.
Ann Machen, a nurse at Tokoroa Hospital for 40 years, died aged 61.
As a senior staff nurse in the Emergency Department she was a well known figure at the hospital and was the first contact many local people had with hospital staff when they attended for emergency treatment or clinics.
Her funeral commemoration was attended by a large number of people representing the hospital, St John’s, and local organisations; as well as many local family and friends from around New Zealand and overseas.
Mrs Machen was born Anne Joan Louise Walworth at National Women’s Hospital in Auckland on November 30, 1951. Her mother died of complications from Pernicious Anaemia when little Anne was 16 days old.
Mrs Machen lived on her father’s farm between Whakatane and Opotiki where she was looked after by her father and aunt.
In 1956, at the age of five, she went to live with her maternal grandparents in Onehunga, Auckland. Unfortunately this arrangement did not work out and she subsequently lived with a number of different relatives, changing schools regularly.
In 1959 she came to live on a farm in Tokoroa for a year.
She lived on Paraonui Road with her Uncle Breewood and Aunt Kath Walworth. During this time she attended Tokoroa East School.
In 1960 she returned to Opotiki to live with her father, older sister and her brother until her father’s death in 1962. From that point Mrs Machen and her brother were taken care of by her sister and brother-inlaw.
At age 11 she joined St John’s Ambulance Brigade youth division, which became the main focus of her teenage years. As a member of St John she worked for a time as a hospital aide in Opotiki Hospital and it was here that she discovered her vocation.
In 1969 she began training at Waikato Hospital as a registered general/maternity nurse. After completing her training there in 1972, she transferred to Tokoroa as a staff nurse.
Initially working as a theatre nurse — as the hospital at that time had full medical, surgical and theatre facilities — she later worked as a staff nurse in the wards, then later transferred to the Accident and Emergency department, where she served for more than 20 years.
Mrs Machen was highly regarded and respected in her role as senior staff nurse and as a mentor to new and younger staff members.
She was also active in the social side of hospital life being co-organiser of many hospital functions and reunions over the years.
Her life outside the hospital revolved around her family and their sporting interests.
Mrs Machen’s passion was netball, which she both played and administered in Tokoroa for a number of years.
When her playing days were over she became an accomplished umpire up to provincial level, coached umpires and became the draw steward for Tokoroa Netball umpires.
During this time she also took up athletics and completed three marathons.
In later years she and husband Bill, whom she married in 1971, spent holidays travelling to various destinations around the world, usually ending up in the Republic of Ireland at the home in Mullinavat County Kilkenny of their daughter Wendy, son-in-law Liam O’Keeffe and their three children.
Mrs Machen is survived by her husband Bill, son Nicholas, daughter Wendy and her three grandchildren.
ANNE LOUISE MACHEN: November 30, 1951January 10, 2013.