The Biography Service was established in the mid 1980s as a way for a person who has a life limiting condition to reflect, review and record their life experience.

The focus has always been on what it can do for the person in Te Omanga’s care. We discovered that the story is secondary in the process – it is what happens to the storyteller in the telling of their story that is the most important part. It is a therapeutic process and one they have control of when so often there is a lot they can’t control.

Sometimes someone will relate, in confidence, something to the biographer and request to not have it written down. These narratives often offer the most therapeutic effect.

A specially trained Biography Volunteer will record and transcribe your story – or only that part you wish to be recorded. When your story is published, copies are given to you, your family and whānau, as you decide.

To find out more, please just mention this to the Family Support team member you are working with.

A patient’s biography experience

“The whole exercise has been surprising, its also been a moving feast. Even today as we celebrate the production of the book. Every week when we have spoken some things have happened and they play a part in the story. Or I start off with an emotional part, or sometimes what I found really surprising was in the telling of my story the places it took me too. It’s like entering a magical maze and then going to your magical places.

I think it’s a really healthy exercise to share a story. It’s quite good to have a framework of your story in chronological order, so that when the final story is finished, things aren’t sort of muddled…I have decided my two copies will eventually go to my nephews and my niece. So, when they are parents or grandparents their children can ask about some of the stories relating to their ancestors. These are written words from someone in their past, someone in their family. It’s my direct story, not someone else telling my story.” Annie