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Contact with Irihapeti Ramsden treasured.

WITH IMMENSE sadness I read the latest edition of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand and the touching tributes to nursing leader Irihapeti Ramsden who died in April. Through this letter I wish to add my voice to those tributes.

It was extremely sad for me and will be a lasting regret that I could not, for various reasons, be physically present to honour with the nursing community the passing of this wonderful woman. I am indebted to our dear mutual friend Lynda Jeffs who passed on the news of Ramsden's death in time for me to be at least aware of the timing of the tangihanga, to be there in "spirit" and so to find personal ways of celebrating and grieving.

As I read and listened on radio and television to the accolades and descriptions of the countless ways Ramsden contributed so profoundly to nursing, Maoridom and so to our wider society, I feel privileged to have known her.

As a brand new graduate nurse, it was with great trepidation I arrived in Wellington in 1996 to join a rather intimidating (or so it seemed to me initially!) group of experienced nurses, nurse tutors and Ramsden to work on the Nursing Council's cultural safety guidelines. I will never forget the warmth and graciousness with which Ramsden not only welcomed me and put me at ease, but even acknowledged the very small ways (compared to the years of hard yards she and the others had put in!) I had attempted, as a student, to address the cultural safety debate. Since then, I have treasured my contact with Ramsden as one of my greatest mentors, her "voice" a part of my social conscience which pops in whenever I want to avoid the hard questions.

Over all I will remember most deeply her welcome, her, at times, wicked sense of humour that could cut to the core of the situation, her humanity and great generosity of spirit. I carry this lasting inspiration with me as I journey nowadays through a different landscape of education and health practice. Not surprisingly, it is full of the same old issues of power for which Ramsden campaigned and fought all her life. I believe the greatest tribute I can pay to her is to continue that struggle wherever I can. Dear friend, peace and blessings wherever you are.

Ketana Saxon, RCpN, BN

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Title Annotation:letters
Author:Saxon, Ketana
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jun 1, 2003
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