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