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Our service has said farewell to Virginia Spoors, who leaves the organisation after 15 years of dedicated service to the needs of people living with disability in New Zealand. Virginia was the inspiration and guiding force the saw the establishment of our MyLife Model of Care. Her influence called on us all to see every interaction as an opportunity to exceed expectations, and to work collaboratively and creatively to see and meet needs in the people we support.

Virginia brought much needed colour and life into the service, to enrich the lives of the people who live in our care. Her creativity was a daily occurrence and she inspired and facilitated it amongst her people. The legacy of her contribution will continue to be felt by future caregivers and residents, in our long-standing collaboration with the Halswell MenzShed, our lively and ambitious in-house and community activities, our leading multidisciplinary Transitional Rehabilitation team, and our relationships with the government partners who support our care.

Handwritten on the whiteboard in Virginia’s vacated office, is the phrase “calm waters don’t make good sailors”. Virginia often cited this during challenging times, which in her tenure included the Canterbury Earthquakes, a challenging period of improvement in our Karori service, and most recently the cascading complications of the pandemic. This statement remains as both affirmation and challenge, to all our people who continue to journey alongside people in need.

Sarah Hillier, Chief Executive Officer, said

“on behalf of St John of God Hauora Trust, our Trustees, I would like to sincerely thank you for your 15 years of service. You have given everything. You have given your self, you have given your heart.”

Jack Haughton, Acting General Manager Health and Ability Services said “you make this place really special. Your default reaction to any decision is ‘how can we make this work, how can we make this happen?’ I think that is a big part of how you have made this place special over the years.”

In gifting a sculpture, representatives of the MenzShed acknowledged Virginia’s contribution in saying “this walnut was once rotten at the centre, but with added colour its beauty has been enhanced. When you use it, be reminded that your contribution at St John of God was to bring colour and heart to the organization, that seeks to bring hope and rehabilitation to what are often tragic circumstances in people’s lives. Thank you for doing this.”

Brother Stephen Coakley acknowledged Virginia’s contribution to community and people living with disability in saying “we were very lucky that it was Virginia. She had a very, very good team here. We owe her a great deal of gratitude. Virginia you have been a tremendous example of hospitality. We are very, very proud of you on behalf of the brothers.”

For more information or to arrange an interview contact George Anderson, General Manager Communications and Marketing on or 021 244 9274.

About St John of God Hauora Trust

St John of God Hauora Trust is an operating division of St John of God Health Care, that operates 27 facilities comprising more than 3,300 hospital beds in Australia and New Zealand.

St John of God Hauora Trust is a provider of health and social services in New Zealand. The organisation operates 124 rooms of residential care and rehabilitation and therapy services in Canterbury and the greater Wellington region, alongside a youth development agency in Canterbury.

The Health and Ability Services Division of the organisation operates two residential care facilities in Christchurch and Wellington, and five community living homes in those districts. The organisation’s residential Model of Care, known as My Life, supports residents to live and experience life. My Life coordinates care in a home-like environment, in which individual lifestyle planning is central to facilitating an enriching and fulfilling life. Along with comprehensive rehabilitation and therapy services, the service manages a comprehensive in-house and community activities programme.

More information is available about the organisation at and

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