Nurses for Freedom NZ ‘Together we are stronger’ Hui

The inaugural Nurses for Freedom NZ ‘Together we are stronger’ Hui took place at El Rancho over the weekend. It was attended by 65 nurses, most of whom remain terminated from roles in public health settings.

The nurses heard from keynote speakers Dr Rene de Monchy, Lynda Wharton and Dr Matt Shelton in addition to providing professional development on high performance CPR, Rongoa Maori, wound care, anthroposophical nursing and alternative jurisdictions for health.

Feedback from the weekend was amazing says NFFNZ founder Deborah Cunliffe. Nurses laughed together, cried together, healed together and planned towards the future together. Whilst most of the weekend was cathartic, nurses also know how to have fun as we danced to live music by Fi, swam, and walked despite tears in the form of rain on Saturday.

Some nurses who had lost faith in the nursing profession regained their passion and determination to press on serving their local communities. Others who were forced out of long-standing roles where they were highly respected had the ‘leaving party and cake’ they were not able to share with colleagues as they were forced to walk away from their roles on the 15th November 2021; their colleagues unable to even look them in the eye or say goodbye at the time.

Many nurses have chosen not to return to mainstream nursing as they cannot underpin what is essentially a sick system. The weekend inspired them not to lose their identities as nurses as they seek for alternative ways of being.

On a sad and concerning note, over 25 of the nurses had over 40 years’ experience, some over 60 years. The combined experiences of these nurses being hundreds of years of expert intuition and patient care lost to a system that cannot afford to lose quality nurses that represent truth, integrity and critical thinking.

During the Nurses for Freedom NZ (NFFNZ) business session the NFFNZ Lead Team shared plans for developing NFFNZ and building on the tremendous work they have started. 

The weekend was sponsored by the WTF team from Wellington who not only provided the accommodation but prepared and provided all the food and took care of our every need. The WTF team came together at the Wellington protest and epitomise what goodness should look like in our topsy turvy world.

It was extremely moving to see a group of people, mostly strangers on Saturday leave as whanau on Monday. The theme of the Hui was ‘Together we are stronger.’ By the end of the weekend this was no longer a theme but a reality. We look forward to meeting again next year.

Thank you to everyone who gave a koha toward this event.

Deborah Cunliffe

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