This week we were entertained and informed by four members of Whakaahura, Their mission is to ease the suffering of those at the end of life, or perhaps those with dementia or other illnesses.
They do this by singing to them around the bedside, choosing soothing material from a variety of sources. Their singing is a gift, not a performance.
Whakaahura means to warm, or to cherish. It is a voluntary organisation with about 30 members in Wellington, of whom 20 sing regularly. They sing in homes, retirement homes, and hospices, usually in groups of four to six.
It is helpful to the dying, and to families and care staff. Each ‘sing’ is planned around the needs and preferences of the patient. Apparently, hearing is the last sense to close down at the point of death.
The four singers, Sue, Ian, Jiko, and Angela, gave us a selection of their songs as they went along, much appreciated by the club.