His­tory hon­oured at hospice an­niver­sary

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - JA­NINE RANKIN

Aro­hanui Hospice trustees with half a cen­tury of ser­vice be­tween them, Mary McKenna and Paul Rieger, were in­vited to cut the an­niver­sary cake as the hospice cel­e­brated its sil­ver an­niver­sary in Palmer­ston North at the week­end.

Both have been part of the hospice story since its open­ing, and in McKenna’s case, for many years be­fore that.

McKenna was a mem­ber of the orig­i­nal Palmer­ston North Chris­tian Home Trust that un­der the lead­er­ship of chair­man Garth Wal­lace de­ter­mined to build a fa­cil­ity and a ser­vice to im­prove care for the ter­mi­nally ill.

It took al­most eight years from form­ing the vi­sion to fi­nally open­ing Aro­hanui Hospice on the cor­ner of Here­taunga St and Tre­maine Ave.

McKenna joked that she keeps for­get­ting to re­tire from the trust board.

But chief ex­ec­u­tive Clare Ran­dall, who was a vis­it­ing phar­ma­cist dur­ing Aro­hanui Hospice’s early years, said McKenna’s role was im­por­tant.

While the hospice had grown from a cottage-style fa­cil­ity into a large spe­cial­ist pal­lia­tive care ser­vice, peo­ple like McKenna had en­sured found­ing hospice val­ues were main­tained.

‘‘She grounds us in a lot of ways,’’ said Ran­dall.

Rieger was Palmer­ston North mayor dur­ing the time when the hospice ad­vo­cates were work­ing and fundrais­ing to turn their ideas into re­al­ity.

As mayor, he cut the rib­bon at the for­mal open­ing on May 4, 1991.

Rieger stood down from the may­oralty in 1998, and was promptly in­vited to join the trust.

He said he had long ad­mired the hospice con­cept of pal­lia­tive care, and the peo­ple who had worked to cre­ate Aro­hanui Hospice, and was de­lighted to help.

At the time of his ap­point­ment Aro­hanui was plan­ning its day care wing ex­ten­sion, which was opened on May 4, 2000, and was the venue for most of the 25th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions.

As part of the ef­forts to mark the an­niver­sary, Aro­hanui launched a book chron­i­cling its de­vel­op­ment and growth, en­ti­tled Story of a Hospice 1991-2016.

Ran­dall de­scribed it as a fan­tas­tic record cap­tur­ing the in­put of the many staff and vol­un­teers who had helped make Aro­hanui Hospice a spe­cial, homely place, with ser­vices that con­tin­ued to be pro­vided free to pa­tients and fam­i­lies.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Trustees Mary McKenna and Paul Rieger on cake-cut­ting du­ties at the 25th an­niver­sary of Aro­hanui Hospice’s open­ing.

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