Understanding the Use of Advance Directives in New Zealand

Ron Paterson
Issue 23, November 2007

The following speech, by Ron Paterson, was delivered as part of a panel discussion on Advanced Directives at the "Changing Minds Conference" in Lower Hutt, 12 October 2007.

Te Omanga Hospice, as the specialist palliative care provider in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa, entered into a partnership with the Hutt Valley District Health Board to enhance the knowledge, understanding and acceptance of palliative care by health professionals so that ALL dying people have timely access to palliative care.


Life is a Gift from God

Sue Seconi
Issue 23, November 2007

Life is a gift from God! But often our experiences in life might not always make us believe or feel that life is in fact a gift from God.

"Isn't it great to be alive" does not only sum up those times when we eat freshly baked bread, taste a glass of one's favourite red wine, slip into a warm bubble bath surrounded by tea-light candles, or marvel at infinity as one gazes into a star-studded night sky.


Does dying with dignity always mean actively ending life?

Professor Margaret O'Connor and Dr Susan Lee
Issue 24, April 2008

Our daily papers perennially carry lead articles about aspects of controlling one's own death. Provocative articles, occurring so regularly, might make one wonder if the community's fears about dying are justified. Perhaps in our desire to squeeze the most out of life, together with the seduction of medical technology that promises a longer life, has made some of us uneasy about just how our own end will come. Isn't this the skill of palliative care and if so, how is it that we never hear about it? Whilst one would not want to negate the arguments about an individual's rights within a demographic society, there are several other aspects of care at the end of life that are worthy of consideration.


Reflections on Aging

Michael McCabe
Issue 25, August 2008


Any reflection on aging as a process is enriched by the process of theological reflection. There used to be a book for students of the piano called "Easy Tunes for Little Fingers" - the theory being that once you had the basic scale or the foundational notes to music, you could build a tune that was as simple or complex as one would want to play. Theological reflection is a similar process. Like any discipline it begins with some very simple concepts and then adds in more complex thought as one encounters the mystery that is Christ. Theology is described variously as "faith seeking understanding" or "the clothing of the faith experience in Christ." It begins with an experience, and, guided by the light of the Holy Spirit seeks to understand this experience in both a reasonable and faith-filled way. The task of theology, and it is a disciplined and demanding task, is the search for truth. The seventeenth century poet John Donne expresses the challenge of searching for truth very beautifully when he says:

"On a huge hill,
Cragged, and steep,
Truth stands."