One well-known kuia is encouraging people to
start the advance care planning conversation
with their whānau about their future healthcare
plans and wishes.
Ataraita Ngatai, from Matapihi, who is well-known and respected
within her local community, says people should not shy away from
talking about difficult topics. Advance care planning is the process
of thinking about, talking about, and planning for future healthcare
and end-of-life care. It is about identifying what matters to the
Ataraita says starting the conversation is the first step and the
keen gardener says you should do so in as relaxed a way as
possible, but recognise too that whānau dynamics differ and these
differences deserve respect.
“My garden has been a source of bounty for many years,” says
Ataraita smiling. “I was in the garden one day with our whānau and
I just started talking about which of them should look after different
sections of the garden when I was no longer around. It can be as
simple as that and from there you’ve introduced the conversation.
I think it’s important to do so in a relaxed way.
“Death is not something people want to talk about. Life is sweet;
life is good as long as you’re healthy. It’s only when your health
begins to break down that you realise you are mortal. And you
need to think about other things, arrangements to be made. It’s
about getting things in order. It makes things easier for everyone
concerned, your carers and those left behind.”
Ataraita, who was speaking following national Advance Care
Planning Day on Friday 5 April, likened having the conversation to
entering a new room.
“You might do it slowly at first but once you open that door it can
be a very worthwhile place to be. We used the Advance Care Plan
document as a checklist and shared ideas, our spiritual values, our
respect for life……yes, starting the conversation is the first step.
Ataraita Ngatai says talking about the difficult things in life is important.
Mà te whakaatu ka mohio Through discussion cometh
Mà te mòhio,kà màrama Through understanding cometh light
Mà te màrama, ka màtau Through light cometh wisdom
Mà te màtau, ka ora Through wisdom cometh everlasting life
“You know Enoka (Ataraita’s husband) and I are grateful that we
still cast a shadow on Papatùànuku (mother earth). Life is for
living,” she says.
Bay of Plenty District Health Board Advance Care Planning Project
Manager Lee Walters said new discoveries frequently awaited
families who talked about Advance Care Planning.
“People often learn something new about each other that they
never would have known without the conversation, we often
assume that they will know. Let’s talk today. How can Advance
Care Planning help you?”
For hard copies of My Advance Care Plan, or for assistance
with them email [email protected] or
call Advance Care Planning Project Manager Lee Walters
on 027 271 4539.