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PM and Plunket Nurse check Mea's progress

7 December 2005

PM and Plunket Nurse check Mea's progress

Plunket Nurse Nikki Broughton of Tauranga (left), one of five National Eyebright Award recipients, and Prime Minister Helen Clark check the progress of five-month-old Mea (pron May) Morris-Travers of Otaki in her Plunket book.

The annual Eyebright Awards were established by principal Plunket sponsors Wattie’s and Huggies in 2003, building on a partnership with the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society which spans a combined total of 25 years. The awards were presented at Parliament today (subs 7 December)

Poignant tributes, some too personal in nature to reveal, spoke of the mana Eyebright Award-winning Plunket Nurse Nikki Broughton shared with young mothers in the Tauranga region. A tribute written partly in Maori and signed by teenage mothers from the School for Young Parents in Tauranga spoke highly of Nikki’s support and caring. Even those families who were touched by Nikki’s work in Kaitaia, before she moved to Tauranga, recalled the humility and selflessness of this ‘steady, calm and reassuring’ Plunket Nurse.

Other Eyebright Award recipients were Plunket Kaiawhina Donna Nathan from Taupo, Plunket Nurse Kathleen Kerr from Invercargill, the Westport Plunket Team, and Plunket parent Rochelle Parkhill, also of Invercargill.

The content of tributes for Taupo’s Eyebright Award-winning Plunket Kaiawhina Donna Nathan, conveyed the community’s affection for her. Many spoke of the undivided attention, time and commitment she gave every child in her care. ‘She is super friendly and when she is around, you feel as though you are her main priority,’ one tribute said. Another said: ‘It is a real privilege to have Donna as our Plunket Kaiawhina.’

Judging by the content of her tributes, Plunket Nurse Kathleen Kerr is a mastermind in the field of lactation care. The Eyebright Award-winning Plunket Nurse from Invercargill ‘is always calm, never says or does anything that might panic an inexperienced mother, and inspires confidence as only a grandmother can’, read one tribute. Kathleen Kerr has given 21 years of service to Plunket, the last nine months as the region’s specialist Lactation Consultant.

Tributes for the Eyebright Award-winning Plunket Team for 2005 from Westport flooded the Eyebright Awards mailbox. One tribute that conveyed the magnitude of the West Coast’s gratitude to Plunket Nurses Raewyn Johnson and Stewart Walker and their ‘cast of thousands’ said: ‘The Westport Plunket team have helped me with my family for the last 30 years. My eldest is 30 and my youngest 2 years.’Another described Plunket Nurse Raewyn Johnson with a moment in time: ‘I wish you could have seen it - two of our children on Raewyn’s knee reading them a book while I dealt with the baby. Where else would you see that but here.’

In addition to the new Plunket Team Award which was added to the Eyebright Awards line-up for 2005, is the first Eyebright Award to honour a parent from within the Plunket community. The inaugural Eyebright Newcomer Volunteer Award went to Rochelle Parkhill from Invercargill. While caring for her young family, Rochelle ran the Invercargill Bride of the Year event, entertaining 500 guests and raising $4000 for Plunket, just one illustration of her energy and generosity.


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