Postcards from the edge #2: The end is where we start from

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This weeks postcard comes from Rawene in the far north. Clare Ward ( FRNZCGP dist.; FDRHMNZ) been based in Hokianga, at Hokianga health, for almost 3 decades working across the primary secondary interface.

The end is where we start from

In Hokianga cultural memory is long and buried deep in the grain of its people. One hundred and two years ago there were mass graves and no ceremony as the flu epidemic reached and brought mortal sickness to our communities. Today there are memorial stones to mark these places.

Today we expect that one hole will hold the one who has succumbed to this new virus. We know that there will not be time for traditional tangihanga. We know that only one or two home people will be there to say farewell on behalf of the whole whanau community. We know that tears will fall in a hundred homes and there will be a sense of something incomplete.

Already in our hospital we have had one such farewell- not a victim of the infection itself but a casualty of the shadow it has cast over all of us.

Cultural memory has brought up the past and so it is not difficult to pass by a friend and know that the physical distance between us is a mark of the respect and manaakitanga we have for each other.

The past is always with us in the faces of this generation and this generation looks back and calls back to its ancestors and walks forward in the knowledge that it is possible to learn from that time in 1918 when what we knew and the ways in which we could respond were so much less.

As always we acknowledge that which is greater than we are

Noho ora mai I roto I nga ringa o Te Atua.

We are bringing you a ‘Postcards from the Edge’ series: short reflections from rural/remote settings around NZ and the region, which will make up the LOFP blog leader during the Covid pandemic. Our hope is that these will keep the rural remote voices loud and all of us connected and uplifted.

Instructions for those wanting to submit

Please send your reflections +/-photo for our Postcards from the edge series to

We are looking for geographical and creative diversity to cover a broad swath of rural and remote health care in NZ and the pacific.

Maximum word count 400 , wll be strictly adhered to.

Please attach a photograph and/or artwork with your submission (or it might be your piece).

NB: it is unlikley that all submissions will be able to be published: please don’t be offended if it doesn’t make it.

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