Short Stories By Our Residents


Lillie Simmons


Once a Teacher, always a teacher.

You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can't take the teacher out of the rest home - at least that's the case for Lillie Simmons. The 74 Year old teaches te reo at Te Hopai.

Lillie has taught te reo Māori at Upper Hutt College, Wellington Girls’ College and to men in Rimutaka Prison. Now, her room at Te Hopai Home and Hospital in Wellington's Newtown has become her classroom.

But this environment is better, the 74-year-old says. “I’m happy not to be yelling.”

Lillie has a few students she teaches one-on-one. There was no specific structure, she said. "we just speak te reo straight, they hear it direct all the time"


Read the full article from Stuff

Ron Druett - Resident


Ron Druett, maritime artist, 1934-2020 died at Te Hopai.

His wife Joan shared a link to stories of his life

Canine Friends & Lotto visit Te Hopai


A recent visit to Te Hopai by Canine Friends features in the latest Lotto community funding story.

There’s no quicker way to bring a smile to Kiwis’ faces than to share a pat with a cute cuddly canine. However, for many New Zealanders the benefits of interacting with a dog can be transformative. Canine Friends Pet Therapy volunteer, Marjory would know. Marjory and her black Labrador, Bridger, are spreading joy within her local community, including Te Hopai.

The joy residents experience in their interactions with the Canine Friends is heartwarming.

To see the video click below
Kiwis helping Kiwis - Pet therapy bringing a smile to Kiwis’ faces

Jim Van Praag Resident Life Member Rotary Club of Wellington South


Jim Van Praag
The Rotary Club of Wellington South
Life Membership

I was a member of New Zealand Jaycee, which is an excellent training ground for service as well as public speaking and chairmanship. After finishing up as Chairman of the National Executive of New Zealand Jaycee, comprising over 100 clubs throughout New Zealand, I was invited to join The Rotary Club of Wellington South in 1966 where I served for almost 53 years in every capacity.

I appreciate ‘The Life Membership Award’ and the Afternoon Tea Function at Te Hopai. I have also received the Paul Harris Fellows Award and Paul Harris Fellowship Sapphire Pin. I may not be able to hang my latest award on the wall as not enough space; my walls are filled with artwork and family photographs.

I have been connected to both Rotary South Wellington and Te Hopai for many years, I can recall about 20 years ago when I was a Board Member taking Te Hopai residents out on organised events. It was a regular project, where we took residents out on organised days, usually an afternoon, for a picnic. We supplied the food!! It never ever occurred to me that one day, I would be one of those residents at Te Hopai. When I required care (nearly two years ago), I chose Te Hopai because of my connection with Pakize Sari (General Manager). At the time of our first meeting, I was the eldest member of Wellington South Rotary and she was the newest. I think now how wonderful it would be for Rotary Members to recommence such outings, but most of the members are old themselves, and such clubs now find it hard to attract younger members.

These outings now require skilled caregivers - skills that most Rotary members do not have. I am also delighted that some of the staff at Te Hopai have been awarded the Rotary Pride of Workmanship Award. Some of the Staff here treat me like a family member – I have them trained for my 4.00pm whisky, not too strong and in the glass I prefer!


John Jensen Resident


Poem for Spring at Te Hopai

If you today, are feeling young
The reason is that spring has sprung
But if that doesn't ring quite true,
It may not yet have sprung for you.
If so, I urge you through this rhyme.
To not despair, just give it time.
And if you find it's slow to show,
Cut loose by frisking too and fro.
While if that isn't quite your style
just look about, relax, and smile.

David Resident


Could not find more pleasant or helpful staff anywhere.

Jim Resident


The care is perfect. Nice boys and girls nothing is too much trouble. First class care. I enjoy the variety of staff from different countries that are working here. All smile and give happy service. The girl who does the cleaning is a ball of fire.

Erica Sterling Resident


This (donation gift to staff) is in appreciation for the services and care given to me by staff (caregivers, cleaners & laundry) over the 4 years I have been here. I want to say thanks for the very good service & care I have been given, like the time I had bronchitis and was in a terrible state. I didn’t want to go to hospital, leaving my care under Dr Wilson, Lillian and the Registered Nurses at Te Hopai. I feel appreciated by the good work they did for me and respecting my wishes to be cared for here.

John Jensen Resident


I came to Te Hopai about two years ago when I was transferred from the Wellington Public Hospital where I had been treated for a range of conditions. At the time I came to Te Hopai I could do little for myself and required a high level of care. Since that time I have become increasingly impressed with Te Hopai. There are three aspects of this establishment that especially deserve comment:

First, the premises. The buildings are light and imaginatively designed, with a number of lounges of various sizes in which residents, friends and family members can meet. The buildings are surrounded by well-kept gardens with seating areas where residents and visitors can sit outside when the weather is good.

Second, the staff. Te Hopai’s greatest strength is its staff, which are exemplary. They are warm, supportive, cheerful, attentive and patient. They are also well trained and skilled, able to respond decisively and effectively to the demanding situations that sometimes arise.

Third, the regime. Te Hopai is efficiently run. Routines and schedules are maintained, which provides a sense of predictability and security. The premises are well maintained and repairs are made in a timely way. The premises are constantly being updated in various ways. The cleaning team ensure that bathrooms are cleaned daily and carpets (corridors and rooms) are vacuumed daily and shampooed once a week. There is an extensive programme for activities for residents, some of which involve family and friends, thereby maintaining links to the outside world. The activities involve trips and excursions, a great deal is done to try and minimise the extent to which residents become isolated from the outside world. A lot of effort is made to maintain a high level of openness. Internal activities include quizzes, musical events, carpet bowls and screenings of classic movies and television programmes.

There are many noteworthy features of Te Hopai, but its greatest achievement is the quality of the relationships between residents and staff. No one would go into a care facility if circumstances did not make it necessary. However in cases where it does become necessary, Te Hopai is able to provide a level of warm and personalised care of which all involved can feel proud.

Phil Matthews Resident – Owen Street


The Te Hopai story teller is quite good because she drew me out on many things I had forgotten about. She touched on matters that were important and important to other people. Because they are not told – needs to come from us. I don’t think my story is particularly interesting to me, but could be interesting to others.

Carol Loach Resident - Rest Home


Been at Te Hopai for several months. I looked at two or three places before choosing Te Hopai. I enjoy Poetry Group as well as the Quiz for the challenge. I am overall most impressed by the staff, the caring, efficiency and creating an atmosphere of trust.

My son appreciates the strong rapport he has with the Registered Nurses.

Jack de Simone - Resident - Hospital


The support given to establish relationships with others of your ilk is very good.

Elizabeth Ann Knowles Resident - Owen Street


Te Hopai is looking after me beautifully.

Marjorie Walton Resident - Rest Home


I’ve been at Te Hopai about two years but it feels like forever.

The staff are thoughtful.

My family chose for me (to live at Te Hopai), so it stood out to them from other facilities.

Neill McDougall Resident - Hospital


The accommodation is comfortable. Offered a good variety of food. I’m impressed by how much variety there is.

Francis Small Resident - Hospital


It has a good reputation around the town and good warm community feel as a whole.

Tom - Resident - Kowhai


Kowhai is tidy, running it well. Feel I’m well looked after. Well put together from a builders perspective. Zeer good.

Elizabeth Ann Knowles Resident - Owen Street


We have fun together. The people who need looking after are looked after well.

Anna Warren Resident - Owen Street


Because I like the people. I like the nurses because they are very friendly. Never get grumpie with me because they are too friendly.

Hector Hopkins Resident (article published in Dominion Post)


Hector Hopkins is neither here nor there about his age. 

He's 101 and pretty glad to have made it this far. He has galloped past the family's benchmark for a long life set by his aunt who made it to 98. "I talk to myself sometimes and ask 'What am I still doing here?' I don't know why. Maybe it was all my running for the Harriers when I was a young man. I don't know when I'll go. I don't want to know. It's better that way."

Cared for now in Wellington's Te Hopai Home, he is surrounded by pictures of his family. There are three children, ten grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. A photograph of him in his army uniform on the day of his wedding to Dorothy six weeks after returning from World War II sits above his bed. Hector Hopkins, 102, says he has no great perspective on life. "I've just lived it." "I asked her to marry me a year before I went off to war so we had a five year engagement. I remember arriving back at New Plymouth railway station in 1945 and there she was with my mother and father. It was a wonderful moment." He and Dorothy were married for 67 years until her death at 95, five years ago.

A pile of empty envelopes on his desk scribbled with various lists jog his memory when the need arises. When he talks about his childhood, though, he needs no prompting. One of four siblings he was born in 1916 in New Plymouth. As children they made their own fun, he says. "We used to play with tyres - one of us would be inside the tyre while the other pushed them along the road. "We would go eeling with our cousins in a stream at the back of our property. Got a six pounder once. We got it home, skinned it and my aunt cooked it up for breakfast the next morning."

When World War II broke out he volunteered for the Army and was shipped out to Egypt. About war, he will not say much. "My grandson came to me years ago and asked how many Germans I'd killed. I said 'I'm afraid soldiers don't talkabout those things.' "In both wars, there was such a terrible loss of life, particularly in the Great War, men were just mown down. War is a terrible thing. Why we had them I don't know."