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Rotorua Community Hospice Stories

Stories of the individuals who have touched our lives.

This Teresa & Israel's story

As part of Hospice Awareness Week Israel shares his wife Teresa’s Hospice story.

Teresa Hawkins was beautiful inside and out, and well-connected in the Rotorua community through her business, charitable trust, and the Māori Women’s Welfare League. Her passion was helping her community and creating a network dedicated to bettering lives. Her husband Israel caught up with Hospice New Zealand recently and spoke adoringly of his late wife. He was filmed for the latest national Hospice Awareness Week campaign, which will be released this month. He told them, Teresa “was vivacious, she was outgoing, had a heart for the community. She was never settled, there was always something else to do. That’s one thing she did well. She lived life to the full”.

Teresa was cared for by Rotorua Community Hospice in early 2023, after receiving the news that her cancer was back. Israel says, “We did anything and everything to ensure she had the best chance. But we were open to the outcome. This led to care that was given to her that was beyond our expertise, so Hospice came on board at the right time.”

While Teresa was a patient of Hospice with cancer, cancer is not the only diagnosis our patients face. We care for anyone with a life-limiting illness like motor-neuron disease, organ failure, neurological disorders and end-stage dementia. Rotorua Community Hospice also cares for people where they want to be cared for, not in an inpatient unit, where people are cared for at Hospice premises. For Teresa, the place she wanted to be cared for was her home.

Teresa’s final days were spent with her whānau and friends surrounding her with love. Every day there would be 30 or more people in the Hawkins home being with her. Hospice fit in seemlessly, and were welcomed as part of their whānau. Israel said, “Typical of Māori family, when you are present and with us, we will treat like you’re with us, so it was easy for them to come and join”.

Hospice takes time to understand how patients and their whānau would like to be cared for and supported. Hospice will help whānau care for their loved one too. Israel was Teresa’s primary caregiver, and Hospice guided him where he needed them too. Teaching him about personal cares and some medications. Israel said, “The good thing about Hospice was they didn’t dictate how we run things in our house. We started looking forward to them coming, then to a larger extent depended on them being there. They lessened our anxiety”.

Israel shared Teresa’s story as part of Hospice Awareness Week which is from 13 – 19 May 2024.

RIP Teresa Hawkins who died February 2023

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Rotorua Community Hospice Stories

Stories of the individuals who have touched our lives.