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2018 Ageing and Spirituality conference

25 October 2018

The Selwyn Institute’s 2018 Ageing and Spirituality conference asks ‘Are we longing for belonging?’

An exciting line-up of acclaimed speakers will present on the theme of ‘Are we longing for belonging?’ at The Selwyn Institute’s 2018 Ageing and Spirituality conference on 1 November.

Loneliness is an epidemic sweeping the world. One in five older adults experience loneliness and, across the population, there has been an estimated 70% increase in those experiencing the emotion. The ramifications for health and wellbeing, particularly for older people, will be significant.

This unique and inspirational conference hosted by The Selwyn Foundation’s Selwyn Institute will explore what loneliness means in terms of ageing and spirituality and the innate need to belong and to be part of something larger. The full-day programme will look at how workers in the caring professions, or who provide spiritual or pastoral care to others, can help those they support to enjoy a better quality of life through remaining engaged and achieving a real sense of belonging.

Leading commentators representing a diverse range of spiritual backgrounds will offer thought-provoking insights, presentations and perspectives on the subject. Key speakers include Hanya Gallagher (Zen Priest, Auckland Zen Centre); Imam Mohammad saleh Almodarresi (resident Imam for a West Auckland-based charity centre) and The Right Reverend Ross Bay (Bishop of Auckland, Anglican Diocese of Auckland), with perspectives on belonging also examined within the Tangata Whenua, Pasifika and agnostic context.

Hilda Johnson-Bogaerts, Director of The Selwyn Institute, says: “The problem of loneliness is on the increase. People naturally seek out being connected and feeling as such; so when this doesn’t eventuate, the impact on health and wellbeing can be considerable. The end result is an absence of intimate and social needs, which can have serious repercussions for physical and psychological health.

“This event will look at the implications around not belonging, how the ability to belong can be lost in this ever more (virtually) connected world, and what belonging looks like within a diverse population. We intend to take people on a journey, with a focus on improving the quality of our interactions with others and so help people to age well.”

The conference will be held in the Selwyn Village Theatre (43 Target St, Point Chevalier, Auckland) from 8:30am – 3:45pm on Thursday, 1 November 2018. For further information, visit

The Selwyn Institute is The Selwyn Foundation’s internal and external knowledge hub and a reference point enabling others to create more informed perspectives into the joys, challenges, opportunities and changes that are part of ageing. The Institute seeks to enhance society’s understanding of ageing and spirituality, to inform the way we provide care, and to advocate for the wellbeing and welfare of the older members of society, whatever their residential setting.


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