Calling time on caring career

Community Karitane Madeline Lawn, of Queenstown, plays with Jasper Eckford (left) and Lucas Dorsey (both 2) at the Queenstown Plunket rooms. Mrs Lawn retired last week after 21 years in the role. Photo by Guy Williams.
Community Karitane Madeline Lawn, of Queenstown, plays with Jasper Eckford (left) and Lucas Dorsey (both 2) at the Queenstown Plunket rooms. Mrs Lawn retired last week after 21 years in the role. Photo by Guy Williams.
The first babies Madeline Lawn helped care for in her role as a community Karitane are celebrating their 21st birthdays this year.

The Queenstown woman retired last week after more than two decades helping mothers and babies, aged from 6 weeks to 2 years, from Glenorchy to Arrowtown.

Her connection to Plunket in Queenstown began 28 years ago, when she visited the nurse with the youngest of her five children.

Seven years later, she began working at the Plunket rooms in Henry St as an administrator.

After 18 months, her manager asked her to train as a community Karitane.

The most rewarding aspect of the job was seeing the confidence of mothers grow as a result of her efforts.

''They don't want much. They just need an ear to listen to them.''

One of her proudest achievements had been setting up a group for Japanese mothers that continued today.

She had seen ''huge growth'' in the number of parents and babies being cared for by Plunket in Queenstown and staff numbers had grown to seven in the past two decades.

The Plunket rooms had about 10,000 visits from parents and children each year.