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Celebration For Plunket Parents And Families

Media Release

9 May 2005

A day of celebration for Plunket parents and families

This Saturday (subs 14 May) Plunket's Founder's Day will highlight a busy week for many parents, following closely on Mother's Day and International Nurses' Day. The 98th commemoration of the inaugural meeting of the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society will be celebrated in various ways by the hundreds of Plunket Branches throughout New Zealand.

"Plunket has been a big part of New Zealand through almost a century of change," noted Plunket's New Zealand President, Kaye Crowther, "and it is inspiring to see that today we are still relevant and meeting the needs of our community, with new members bringing fresh ideas and energy to build their communities that they live in.

"In June this year our volunteers' conference in Palmerston North will attract over 540 people from around the country. That sort of volunteer commitment is rare in the fast paced world we all now find ourselves in. It is a clear sign that many New Zealand parents still see Plunket as having a vital role in children's health and in building community strength," said Mrs Crowther.

>From just one clinic in Dunedin Sir Truby King started an organisation that can now claim to reach every corner of the country through hundreds of clinics and Family Centres, mobile clinics and car seat rental outlets.

Mrs Crowther believes that the strength of the organisation lies in its roots and the values and beliefs that drive it.

"Plunket has always been about communities helping and nurturing themselves. We have strong values of caring, trust and empowerment that appeal to many people. The sense of belonging to a local community and contributing to its growth is very powerful. I believe everyone wants the very best for their children and that means ensuring they have strong communities to grow up in.

"A large part of Plunket's work is delivered by over 600 highly skilled nurses, Kaiawhina and Community Karitane carrying out Well Child assessments- a series of health and development checks, and providing support to parents to ensure that children have the very best start in life. But that is only one part of the service offered. Plunket has many thousands of staff and volunteers working together doing everything from raising money to organising playgroups, toy libraries, parent education and running car seat rentals and advocating for their families and communities."

Mrs Crowther concluded, "As Plunket moves towards its second century of service it is apparent that it is as relevant now as when Truby King had his vision of helping the mothers and saving the babies.

"Clearly some of the challenges we face today are no different than when Truby King had his vision for New Zealand children. The way we address these issues is different today and it is only by working together within our communities we will achieve a real difference for our families and improve the health outcomes for all New Zealand children."

Ends

Background - "Founder's Day"

Plunket was formed in 1907 following a public meeting called by Dunedin doctor, Truby King. Dr. King (later Sir Truby King) was concerned about the child mortality rate and the lack of help and advice available to new mothers. The date of the first meeting was 14 May 1907, which has since become known as Founder's Day. Many Plunket branches celebrate Founder's Day in some special way - by having a morning tea or picnic, or some other activity. The name "Plunket" comes for the organisation's first patron and staunch supporter, Lady Victoria Plunket, wife of the then Governor General and mother of eight.

ENDS

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