Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

LiLACS NZ - our stories

Molly Wright, Opotiki


Long-time Opotiki resident and LiLACS participant, Molly Wright, started playing netball when she was 10 years old- and continued to enjoy playing until her last game at the age of 61, in a Golden Oldies match in Fiji. Molly played at all levels up to national level. She also started umpiring when she was 20, and went on to umpire games all over NZ- training umpires and examining them. As well, Molly was busy coaching netball- and generally encouraging girls to enjoy the game. She was still going to NZ Netball Council, Regional Association and local meetings until just 2 years ago. Although she has been honoured many times for her contribution to netball- by a diploma from the Olympic Committee, by being named sports administrator of the year in 2009 by the Bay of Plenty Regional association, by being named sportsman of the year by Eastern Bay of Plenty Netball in 1991, and being given life membership of many local and provincial netball associations- she was still surprised when the Opotiki District Council approached her a few months ago, wanting to name the new Opotiki sports pavilion after her. She said she felt really honoured and said she had never expected to have a building named after her!


Academic and community relationships from the GSA conference 2013, New Orleans …

L-R: Felicitas, David, Betthina, Sarah, Justino, Yuri, Karin, Mamita. Sitting: Tina, Celeste

On Sat 23 November Te RōpūKaitiaki o ngā tikanga Māori and Dr Mere Kēpa presented in the 2013 GSA SYMPOSIUM: Optimal Aging and Evidence-based Research in Indigenous Populations held in the Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans. The symposium was directed by Dr Sela Panapasa, Institute of Social Research, University of Michigan, USA. In the audience sat Dr Sarah Llanque, College of Nursing, University of Utah; she has shared with LiLACS NZ a photograph of her extended family accompanied by a brief introduction to them.

Sarah’s family lives in the Altiplano of Peru near Lake Titicaca where they are engaged in subsistence farming. Since there is poor access to the Altiplano, the indigenous peoples are still users of their Native language rather than the coloniser’s language, Spanish.  Nevertheless, the youth are slowly leaving the countryside for the large cities for education, money and, to find ‘opportunities’! In Peru, most of the indigenous peoples are employed in menial positions and are underrepresented in health care, government, and education. Change is slow, however, in Peru has had two Native American President’s in Offce and in neighbouring, Bolivia the people elected a Native American to rule the nation.

In the family photo taken in Peru the members are left to right: Felicitas, David, Betthina, Sarah, Justino, Yuri, Karin, Mamita. Sitting: Tina, Celeste


In the single photograph is Sarah’s grandmother, Maymaku Chana. She died at the age 100 years; in this photograph, Maymaku Chana is 96 years old. Maymaku Chana never ate fast foods; fast food outlets are unavailable to  many Native Americans in Peru. When Sarah was younger she attempted to teach Maymaku Chana to read and write, however, her grandmother, “ended up crying because it brought back painful memories of how my father went to schoo and the dehumanisation he suffered when he was trying to learn Spanish while at the same time math and other subjects.   Additionally, she came to realise that learning is difficult when faced with obstacles such as institutional racism, being bullied and put down in school, and not having the economic means to succeed in school.  I stopped teaching Maymaku Chana how to read because I figured at her age, she was 85 at the time, I should be learning from her. I still have much to learn about my native culture. … I am getting to understand and be one with my culture”.

Jakisinkama (good bye) 

Contact details

Sarah Llanque, Ph.D., R.N.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Cancer/Aging Care Research
University of Utah
College of Nursing
Email: Sarah.Llanque@nurs.utah.edu / llanqs@gmail.com