23rd Hospice New Zealand Palliative Care Conference

Cordis, Auckland

It was delightful to be back at the beautiful Cordis Auckland (rebranded from Langham Auckland), in 2018 for the 23rd Hospice New Zealand Palliative Care Conference. The Hospice New Zealand conference is special to us, as they are always such warm and generous delegates and as such it’s really important that the conference reflects this too.

The three-day conference had a mixture of sessions, from plenary sessions concurrent sessions, workshops, informal exchanges, pechakucha and brilliant ideas.

On the first afternoon, we created a different plenary session, where four panelists were followed up by a live cooking demonstration, with accompanying surprise tastings for the delegates. As well as a branded tea towel for all delegates. This set the tone and excitement of the conference for the coming days.

In 2016 the theme for this conference was ‘What matters most?’. When time is short, we want to do what matters most. The conference theme challenged each delegate to consider what matters from a range of perspectives. What matters most to patients, to their families, to the carers and to our communities when it comes to end of life care? What matters to us most personally?

How we translated this theme into the conference was have each hospices ask staff, patients, those in the communities to write what matters most to them, and photographed them, which was showcased on the screens to music at the beginning of every plenary session. It was a way of centering the room, prior to the session starting and kept the theme in the for-front of everyone’s mind.

With five international keynote speakers, the programme is always going to be heavy hitting, but we ensured the speakers were well brief on the theme and the layer behind it, in the lead-up.

Along with some amazing entertainment elements in the conference, the conference dinner provided a night of great fun, with The Great Gatsby theme.

In 2014 it was a special milestone: Hospice New Zealand 21st conference. Held over three days at Te Papa in Wellington, the venue was an extraordinary backdrop; and we were excited by the challenge of managing the event within a working museum.

In the spirit of tradition, we thought it perfectly fitting to celebrate the conference turning 21 with a “Happy 21st” dinner on the first night. The dress code for delegates: come dressed as they would have done when they were 21. The night generated a lot of laughter and was a wonderful way for everyone to relax and connect.

The theme for this year’s conference was Reaching Out, Community Engagement. This engagement extended beyond the discussion topics to the other delegate experiences: the pōwhiri, Remembrance Service, conference app and the inclusion of the interactive art form Tape Art; whose temporary murals sparked many a conversation. View the Tape Art created at the conference here.

For the Hospice New Zealand Palliative Care Conference, we wanted to create an event that reflected different aspects of hospice life – the caring and inclusive atmosphere, touching moments and flashes of laughter.

This three-day conference, held at The Langham in Auckland was formally opened by the Minister of Health. It featured keynote speakers from New Zealand and overseas as well as a panel discussion led by TV journalist Mike McRoberts.

Central to the conference was the Remembrance Service. A moving experience that gave delegates the opportunity to reflect and remember those who have departed.

In contrast, the Express Yourself conference dinner was the ideal way to relax, socialise and bring out some smiles, courtesy of two outrageous drag queens – Buffy and Bimbo. Something unique and unexpected - the perfect way to wrap up the final night.