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Obituary For Becky Fox

Obituary For Becky Fox


Becky Fox
Plunket's General Manager Maori Health
Born Waipiro Bay, near Ruatoria on 15 August 1949
Tribal affiliations Ngati-Porou and Ngati-Kahungunu
Died Hamilton, 29 May 2002

When she retired as Plunket's general manager of Maori health two and a half months ago at a function in Parliament's Grand Hall her brother, Derek Fox, said 'who would have known that a little girl from Ruatoria could make such a difference'.

Becky Fox worked with Plunket for three years and was responsible for instituting, leading and promoting Maori health within Plunket and the wider community. She often said she had the best job in the world, being an activist for tamariki. With her team, Becky produced Plunket's Maori Policy and Protocol - a much-respected guide outlining how to work with Maori tamariki and their whanau.

Becky was born in Waipiro Bay, near Ruatoria and spent her childhood on the East Coast. She attended Ruatoria High School and completed her secondary school at Church College in Hamilton.

She trained as a nurse at Waikato hospital and soon after began a decade working to improve the health of indigenous peoples. Becky worked with Aborigines, Thursday Islanders and Papua New Guineans. She returned to New Zealand in 1981 when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, a disease that would later claim Becky's life.

Becky set up the first district nursing service on the East Coast and was a "nurse of all trades" working with the terminally ill, as well as a midwife, a District Nurse and in the local hospital.

Following her mother's death, Becky became a social worker but, after four and a half years, she returned to nursing.

She supervised the Enroll Nurse Programme at Whakatane Hospital and spent 11 years at Waikato Polytechnic teaching cultural safety programmes and nursing and midwifery courses.

Becky had a masters degree in nursing and midwifery. She had 30 years practical experience in general nursing, midwifery and obstetrics in New Zealand and overseas in hospital, community and teaching environments.

She presented numerous research papers on nursing and midwifery, particularly relating to Maori wellbeing.

Throughout her career, her nursing and teaching was driven by her belief in the principals of the Treaty of Waitangi and Cultural Safety.

As a Maori woman, a midwife and a mother, Becky Fox had a strong commitment to support the improved health status of Maori whanau.

Her personal commitment was compatible with current views regarding health service delivery - that Maori should have the same opportunities to enjoy at least the same level of health as non-Maori.

Becky Fox is survived by her two daughters, Gordana Patterson of Hamilton and five-year old Mahinarangi Vercoe Fox. Becky Fox's funeral was held on Saturday (1 June) at Te Horo Marae, near Ruatoria.


Information from: Paul Baigent, Chief Executive, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society Inc. Telephone 04 471 0177, Mobile 021 650 954

Prepared by: Joanne Ruscoe: Telephone 04 472 4103 (bus); 04 479 2923 (home); 025 925 733 (mobile)

28 February 2002

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