Celebrating International Nurses Day in True Bay of Islands Style | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Celebrating International Nurses Day in True Bay of Islands Style

On International Nurses’ Day, the world's health system paused to reflect on the critical role nurses play in ensuring patients receive the healthcare they need. It’s an opportunity to thank the nursing community for their mahi and acknowledge the difference nurses make, every day, to thousands of patients and their whānau.     

Described as a formidable night, the staff at Bay of Islands Hospital came together in style to mark the occasion this year.      

Sherilee Maregele, Registered Nurse at the hospital said, “The idea started when I approached my colleague, Olive Baragwanath - Brown, saying I would like to host an event for the staff to show appreciation.

She immediately supported me, and was always positive, motivating and inspiring me throughout the event planning process.”     

On top of juggling her full-time nursing role, much thought went into the event which was beautifully decorated like a fairytale.

The theme was diversity – that we come from across the world and can work as a team together.      

The guests received a gift on arrival with a thank you note as a celebration for the role they play no matter what department they work in.     

The successful evening honoured life and each other.   

“For one night the staff could feel like royalty,” smiles Sherilee.      

The procession of the night was managed with courtesy by MC Cathryn Baragwanath, making everyone feel special.      

The Florence Nightingale Nurse’s Pledge was presented by Sherilee.      

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of International Nurses’ Day recognition, acknowledging the tireless commitment of nurses and moving towards the theme - Our Nurses, Our Future. The economic power of care.    

Staff were recognised for their unbroken long service at Bay of Islands Hospital or within Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau services, presented by Mahitahi Hauora Director of Nursing Rhoena Davis, and local Deputy Mayor Kelly Stratford. Numerous staff have worked in Te Tai Tokerau for ten plus years and it was the perfect time to acknowledge their mahi and commitment.    

A special acknowledgement went to Dr Lucinda Atkinson who initially was only thought to stay for six months locum, but now more than 20 years later is still delivering a great service to the community of the Bay of Islands.    

And Operations Manager, Jen Thomas who has served Northland communities in the Kaipara and Bay of Islands for 30 years.         

The guest speaker for the evening was Pamela-Anne Simon Baragwanath, a nominated Kiwibank Local Hero, known to most as the gumboot-wearing Nanny Pam. Staff embraced her presence and shared in the mana, compassion for humanity and hope for equality.      

The formalities ended with a whakakapi presented by our Māori whānua.       

“To our list of sponsors, the night would have not been a success without you. Thank you for showing your appreciation to our staff at Bay of Islands Hospital,” concluded Jen Thomas.  


Brandon Cassidy made the weaved gift bags. Cathryn our celebrant and event speaker, Copthorne Hotel, DJ Andy, FNDC- Mayoral Fund, Kawakawa Hammer Hardware, Kawakawa Pharmacy, Konnie’s Kafe, Makana Chocolates, Ngatihine Health Trust, Northland Community Foundation, Puttsgreen Florist, Sonia Matthews donated honey for all our guests, Taonga o te Ao, Te Puna Aroha, Tents and Events (Décor), Te Whatu Ora, The Grass Hut, Tukau Clothing, Tukau Law and Health Fund PLUS. 

Image: Nateele Howarth, Jen Thomas, Pragati Gautama, Tina Milich 

Health Fund PLUS

Through Health Fund PLUS, the Northland Community Foundation partner with Te Whatu Ora in Te Tai Tokerau managing donations and fundraising. The Health Fund PLUS partnership benefits the health needs of all Northlanders by focusing on giving for the good of many. 

For more information about Health Fund PLUS go to this website. (external link)


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