Trixie Joins Lunchtime Picket
Trixie Outon, an 85 year old resident of Tararu Rest Home in Thames, will be standing tall by the roadside with the aged
care facility’s nurses, caregivers and support staff, as they take their message to passing motorists today.
The Australian owned Tararu Rest Home and Hospital (along with another 19 aged care facilities also owned by the nation
wide Guardian Healthcare Group) was recently the subject of strike action by its nurses and care staff, demanding
improved working conditions and higher wages.
The plight of the workers has inspired Trixie Outon, a sprightly 85 year old resident of the Tararu rest home, to pen a
heart-felt letter to the Prime Minister.
Here is a transcript of Trixie’s letter:
”To the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Hon Helen Clark,
”I would like to congratulate you on once more becoming the leading stateswoman of New Zealand.
“I live in the Tararu Rest Home for the elderly, in Thames, with many women, and men, of my own age, which is 85. I am
cared for and loved, by some of the most caring younger women I have ever known.
They look after us completely with tenderness and compassion, for 24 hours a day, seven days of the week – in shifts of
“We all have many infirmities – deafness, blindness, unable to walk without support, with useless limbs caused by
strokes, with diabetes and dementia in many cases. We are showered and fed delicious meals, we are pampered as if we
were royalty and we dearly love every moment of it. The work of the carers is hard, long hours, dirty and demanding, but
they touch us with gentle, loving hands and never complain.
“Like many of these institutions, they are constantly wanting more staff. But the pay is ridiculously small. They are
calling at the moment for a small increase, but they are worth double what they receive.
“Could your new collective Government (who incidentally are in parliament, because most of my contemporaries voted for
Labour, and the small Parties) most of the patients have been through wars an Depression, have brought up families
through difficult times, and are very proud New Zealanders. I guess it is not the responsibility of Government, could
you please look into it for us ? As a gesture of goodwill to a very loyal band of elderly women and men, and workers.
”To our way of thinking, this country has progressed rapidly during this last six years, and we are proud to have such a
capable and caring woman as yourself, at the head of government.
“Very sincerely, (Trixie) Beatrix M Ouston.
In a reply from the Office of the Prime Minister, Ms Clark’s Private Secretary says, “I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister to thank you for your letter of 5 October 2005. As the matter you have
raised falls within the portfolio of the Associate Minister of Health Hon Pete Hodgson, Helen Clark has asked me to
forward your letter to her colleague for consideration.”
In a further letter received by Trixie on 13th October, a Ministerial Assistant states, “Hon Pete Hodgson, Associate Minister of Health, has asked me to thank you for your letter received on 10th October 2005
regarding caregivers’ wages. Hon Pete Hodgson is considering your letter and you will receive a response in due course”.
Now that Pete Hodgson has been promoted to Minister for Health, Trixie is feeling very optimistic for a positive
response, but she is still waiting.
WHERE ? ... Outside main entrance to TARARU REST HOME & HOSPITAL,
921 Tararu Road, Thames
WHEN ? … 1pm – 2pm Friday 11th November 2005