Marilyn Hemming has been working with Grey Lynn Plunket for over 20 years, but she has been with the Plunket Society for 50 years.
What have you enjoyed the most?
I have enjoyed the vibrant community of Grey Lynn/Westmere and the families and their babies who live there. It has been wonderful having the Plunket clinic at the Grey Lynn Community Centre - the hub of Grey Lynn. It is such a welcoming and happy environment to work in and has allowed me to meet people of all ages and ethnicities using the facilities there. It has been a pleasure to work alongside the Community Centre management and the other regular tenants, such as the CAB staff and, of course, the fantastic Monday-Friday morning playgroup which is so ably run by James Doyle.
What memories will you take away with you?
The joy and wonderful memories of the last 20 plus years meeting new parents and seeing their babies grow and develop. Walking alongside the parents as a Plunket nurse as they negotiate the hardest but best job they will ever have in their life. Listening, nurturing, guiding, reassuring and praising, reminding them that their baby is learning what to do too, particularly in those first few months when, as parents, they can be overwhelmed by the lack of sleep, feeding issues and self doubt.
As in all communities, Grey Lynn has its share of vulnerable families and babies who need extra help and care and that is why the Plunket service is so valuable. It has been around for 110 years. Let’s hope it is still here for the next 110 years, as parents and babies will always continue to need help and support during those first five years. This is when the parents are putting building blocks in place for their child’s future and ultimately the future of New Zealand.
How are you planning on spending your well-earned retirement?
By the time the July issue of Ponsonby News is being circulated I will have been on a trip that I am so looking forward to, to United States, Canada and up to Alaska through the Canadian Rockies by cruise ship, train and coach. I’ll be visiting Vancouver, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Calgary, Seattle and other amazing places.
When back home, charities I have supported for years are always looking for hands-on help, so no doubt I will continue to be as busy as ever. I will also be moving to live much nearer to my children and grandchildren which will be wonderful.
Anything else you would like to add?
In the process of nurturing your child to grow into their own identity, it’s important not to lose your own. The late Celia Lashlie said “Every child is born pure and filled with their own particular brand of magic.” How true that is. The wonderful privilege that Plunket nurses have is that we go into 90% of homes in New Zealand where children under the age of five years live, so we see every day that ‘magic’ that Celia talked about. How special is that!