New film highlights role of families in care


Watch the film on YouTube: Farewell, Haere Atu Ra.

The end of life circumstances for ordinary New Zealanders are captured in our new half hour film on family responses to death and palliative care. ‘Farewell, Haere Atu Ra’ features actors portraying Māori and non-Māori people telling the real life stories of people who cared for their older relatives or friends at the end of life. The film is a collaboration between our research group and Associate Professors Shuchi Kothari and Sarina Pearson in the University’s Department of Media, Film and Television. We think it’s an innovative way to get health research findings out beyond the traditional routes of academic conferences and journal articles because people really connect with stories.

Details have been changed in the movie, but the eight vignettes are accurate accounts given by our research participants interviewees. They offer a poignant account of the last days and weeks of older New Zealanders.

We trialled the film over the NZ summer with healthcare professionals, interviewing them about their response to it. One finding was that it prompted them to reflect on issues facing families and how their actions affect families’ wellbeing. As one nurse said: ‘To be honest nothing beats telling stories. It makes it real. You can hypothesize about things and discuss things but actually putting a face to it and real emotions and real experiences – nothing carries more meaning than that for people.’”

The Māori-specific feedback we received indicates that for Māori it’s refreshing to view and share stories about what really happens to kaumātua at end of life. It’s also helpful for presenting the strengths of whānau carers as well as those things that support, or act as barriers, to good end of life care for kaumātua”.

We’re using the film to help spread the word about the results from our Health Research Council New Zealand grant. The three-year, $1.1 million Te Paketanga study, led by Merryn involved in-depth interviews about the end of life experiences of people’s older relatives who had died recently, with both Māori and non-Māori participants.

The interviews shed light on the care the older relatives received from formal health services as well as on the whānau/family members’ grief and bereavement.

Contact us if you’d like a copy of the film for teaching/training purposes.


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