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Sudden life changes don’t discriminate 

ACP info for consumers Advance care planning
04 October 2022

Danielle Murphy

Danielle Murphy

When Danielle Murphy’s father had a stroke earlier this year, her whānau discovered they didn’t know what he wanted if his health changed for the worse.   

‘It was a huge eye-opener for us all. Things like that can strike at any time,’ the nursing student and proud Māori Women’s Welfare League member said.   

It was this experience that prompted the 26-year-old to look into advance care planning (ACP) for herself and her whānau.   

Danielle features in the latest Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Kia whakarite: Be prepared advance care planning campaign and will be appearing on social media and posters around the motu.   

You can download Danielle’s poster here (15MB, pdf) or order physical copies by emailing .

About advance care planning 

Advance care planning is the process of thinking about, talking about and planning for future health care, including end-of-life care. It helps your whānau and other important people in your life, along with your health care team, understand what you want – especially if you can no longer speak for yourself.    

An advance care plan encourages you to think about what is meaningful to you, your values, beliefs and the ways you would like those caring for you to look after your spiritual and emotional needs. It can also cover your tangihanga/funeral wishes and where your important papers are.    
Free resources in English and te reo Māori are available to help you and your whānau with these conversations. Go to the ‘consumer resources’ section of   

'ACP was the perfect thing to guide us'

Danielle’s father’s stroke shook her family and friends, but it also got them thinking. ‘It made my family and I think seriously about the future for dad, as well as ourselves and those around us. If anything were to happen to me, I would want my family and friends to know my wishes,’ she said.  

‘ACP was the perfect thing to guide us. I had my own copy of a plan but ordered more online, so we had enough for those close to me as well as our Māori Women’s Welfare League branch members and whānau,’ she said.   

Born and raised in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Danielle has a large and connected whānau. ‘I whakapapa to Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu. My whānau is rather large, but my mum, dad and two brothers are my main anchors, however, I have many more close-knit whānau I treasure just as much,’ she said.   

Sharing important life values

It was talking with those closest to her about advance care planning that gave Danielle the chance to think about what life values were important to her.   

‘To be able to prepare for the unexpected is important. I think younger people don’t always think about personal, life and health values, but the reality is something might happen to us. Sudden life changes don’t discriminate; we never know when something could happen. Advance care planning helps those around us be prepared, but it also helps us as individuals understand what values are important to us,’ she said.   

A community to support whānau Māori

After completing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Otago, Danielle is now studying for a Bachelor of Nursing at Ara Institute of Canterbury. It was this background that drew her to the Maahunui branch of the Māori Women’s Welfare League.   

A group of wāhine sit around a table with a paper in the middle that they are all looking at.

Danielle (L) is a proud member of the Maahunui peka of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in Ōtautahi Christchurch

‘We are a community of wāhine Māori that work to empower each other and our whānau. We are a peka, or branch, of the Māori Women’s Welfare League situated in Ōtautahi Christchurch.’   

Through her studies to become a registered nurse Danielle has been able to see first-hand where improvements need to be made in terms of Māori health and care. ‘When I was asked if I would join our newly established Maahunui peka, I saw it as a great opportunity to be included in a community that could help improve issues for whānau that we see in everyday life. It was also a great opportunity for me to get behind some strong wāhine Māori who I knew would teach me important values and help guide me in the path I want to pursue in my future nursing career,’ she said.   

‘For me, the opportunities that arise from being part of the Māori Women’s Welfare League are so exciting. The potential to bring change, improvement or even educated awareness to issue in our communities really excites me,’ she said. ‘But the most rewarding part is that I am able to reconnect with my Māori heritage and do so alongside such amazing people and whānau.’   

The most challenging part of being involved with the league is the awareness that there are so many issues in different contexts that need improving, Danielle said. ‘Choosing a direction to go in can be challenging, but as a peka, we establish our own direction under the organisation’s guidance. 

Bringing advance care planning awareness to the community

Part of the direction the Maahunui Māori Women’s Welfare League peka is headed is advance care planning, with Danielle providing plans for members and their whānau.   

‘Bringing more awareness of advance care planning to our communities can help whānau to have important conversations about future health situations. Not only does it keep our friends and family in the loop, but it can also prompt people to consider things they may not have before and understand what those actually mean to them.  

Danielle believes a barrier to younger people thinking about advance care planning is simply the fact that they have other things on their minds and are focused on the future ahead. ‘We may not prioritise making decisions or thinking about what we would like for our future health.’ She hopes promoting ACP and encouraging more awareness and education will help break those barriers down.   

Getting started with advance care planning

Our free advance care planning resources are available here:  ACP information for consumers .

The most important part of advance care planning is starting the conversation. Let your whānau and friends know what’s important to you if your health changes, so they understand your wishes and can tell your health care team if you are unable to.    

You can find the plan and supporting documents at or by contacting your local health providers. If you would like a hand filling out your plan, we have a list of regional contacts:  Who can I contact in my area? .

Whenua ki te whenua – an advance care planning guide for whānau

Whenua ki te whenua is an advance care planning guide designed specifically for whānau. Available in English and te reo Māori, it was co-designed with a Māori advisory group and is a resource for all Aotearoa New Zealand.   

It is available in PDF and physical format, and you can find it here:  Whenua ki te whenua – an advance care planning guide for whānau.

‘We are connected to the land from the first breath of life to the last. Our spirit is carried within the belly of the wind to the resting place of the ancestors’ Len Hetet (Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Apa) .

Keep an eye out for more Kia whakarite Kiwi

The advance care planning team is gathering stories from amazing people from all walks of life and all kinds of interests. We will share their Kia whakarite: Be prepared stories regularly.