I’ll stick with you baby for a thousand years
Nothing’s gonna touch you in these golden years
. . . David Bowie

Golden Years – a comedy

Frances and James are next door neighbours and lifelong friends. In their 80s, they’ve endured the closet and homophobia, dodged AIDS, fought for homosexual law reform and survived the deaths of their partners. Now, they have one last challenge: facing their mortality. Listen to them as they sit on Frances’s back deck discussing their last hours together. Tomorrow James goes into aged residential care. Fear of being stuffed back into the closet, advancing frailty, loneliness and isolation…themes common to older adults surface in their story. But even more in evidence is their love and humour and resilience and vibrancy, all qualities our research has affirmed over the years.

Written by Te Ārai member Lisa Williams and underpinned by the principles of Te Ārai’s bi-cultural framework, Golden Years is an arts-based knowledge translation artefact that, similar to a Māori pūrākau, encapsulates in narrative form knowledge and aspects of culture. In this instance the culture would be gay older people of white, European ancestry living in Auckland, New Zealand and the knowledge embedded within the story is relevant to gerontology and palliative and end of life care. Lisa took all that had been swirling around inside her from her years of working in these areas and poured it out on the page, first as a short story and then adapted into the play reading you can listen to above.

For those of you familiar with the Aotearoa New Zealand comedy scene, you’ll recognise the voice of the narrator, Tom Sainsbury. The actors are Carole Beu (Frances) and Kerry Stevens (James).

Want to learn more about some of our research underpinning the themes in Golden Years? Check out these publications:

Gott, M., et al (2017). Working bi-culturally within a palliative care research context: The development of the Te Ārai Palliative Care and End of Life Research Group. Mortality, 22(4), 291–307. https://doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2016.1216955

Moeke-Maxwell T, Mason K, Williams L, Gott M. Digital story-telling research
methods: supporting the reclamation and retention of indigenous end-of-life care customs in
Aotearoa New Zealand. Prog Palliat Care. 2020;28(2):101-6 https://doi.org/10.1080/09699260.2019.1704370

Morgan, T., Wiles, J., Moeke-Maxwell, T., Black, S., Park, H. J., Dewes, O., Williams, L. A., & Gott, M. (2020). ‘People haven’t got that close connection’: Meanings of loneliness and social isolation to culturally diverse older people. Aging and Mental Health, 24(10), 1627–1635. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1633619

Pan, E., Bloomfield, K., & Boyd, M. (2019). Resilience, not frailty: A qualitative study of the perceptions of older adults towards “frailty.” International Journal of Older People Nursing, 14(4). https://doi.org/10.1111/opn.12261

Park, H. J., Morgan, T., Wiles, J., & Gott, M. (2019). Lonely ageing in a foreign land: Social isolation and loneliness among older Asian migrants in New Zealand. Health and Social Care in the Community, 27(3), 740–747. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12690

Williams, L., Tavares, T., Egli, V., Moeke-Maxwell, T., & Gott, M. (2021). Vivian, the graphic novel: using arts based knowledge translation to explore gender and palliative care. Mortality. https://doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2021.1929898

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