Lucas said O’Connor’s organisational knowledge and journalistic expertise would be sorely missed, “but we wish her the very, best in her retirement as she enjoys the next 20-30 summers soaking up the beautiful Nelson sunshine without having to worry about mahi”.
O’Connor said it had been a privilege to record the stories of nurses, the profession and the politics of health. But at the end of her career, she felt nurses had still not fully realised their potential to bring about much-needed change to the power structures of health. See her article Power structures must change for progress.
She will be replaced by a senior political journalist with Stuff, Joel Maxwell (Te Rarawa from the Far North), who covered Māori affairs. Announcing his appointment, Lucas said Maxwell was a fluent te reo Māori speaker who would bring some very specific skills “we are excited to receive”. He will start on May 3.
Nelson-based organiser Denise McGurk is leaving NZNO after nearly nine years in the job. Before starting work for the organisation, McGurk had a long history with NZNO as a delegate and was part of a number of significant bargaining teams. She was also active in the college of emergency nurses. Announcing her resignation, acting industrial services manager Glenda Alexander said McGurk had made a great contribution as part of the industrial team and broader NZNO work.
Acting associate manager, nursing and professional services (AMNPS), Kate Weston has been appointed to the role permanently. She has been AMNPS for the past year, taking on the role when Hilary Graham-Smith left. Weston began as a professional nursing adviser in 2008.
Announcing the permanent appointment, Lucas said in the past year Weston had made significant contributions to the professional services team and NZNO in general, “including her tireless dedication to ensuring nurses are safe at work and personal protective equipment is readily available during the pandemic”.