Kathryn Mannix Event Series


Conversations with Kathryn Mannix

Maxim Institute was proud to bring Dr Kathryn Mannix to New Zealand for a public conversation evening and a professional workshop for medical practitioners. With each audience, she shared stories from over 30 years of practice in palliative care to outline how accessible, quality palliative care can improve our society’s relationship with the process of death and dying. At each event she was joined by local experts to discuss what needs to change societally and culturally to improve the way we support dying New Zealanders and those who care for them.


At AUT University Dr Mannix delivered a public presentation that was followed by a conversation about the New Zealand context with local experts Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell & Professor Rod MacLeod, and a time of audience Q&A.


We’ve forgotten what normal death is like and are afraid to use the “D” words. Instead we say things like “passed away.” We fill in the gaps with sensationalised and traumatic stories from the media and T.V. shows.

Midwifing for dying – people need help to understand what to expect and make a plan according to what they value.

With a better understanding of normal dying, we can take dying away from medicine and give it back to families. It’s time to talk about dying.

The health profession has a good model of wellbeing, but in practice the spiritual aspects of our wellbeing is forgotten. Tess used the example of a “house” with four walls. Of the four walls, we are often neglecting the spiritual wall, and without it the house is unstable.

There is much to learn from the traditional Maori approach to death and dying, and the understanding of the different conversations to be had and different roles whanau members play, including holistic support of those who are grieving.

Before we can start to consider euthanasia and assisted suicide, we need to ramp up palliative care in New Zealand. Including, for example, better dementia care. Our medical students also need to undertake training in palliative care than they do now – currently around 6 hours across a 6 year degree.

There is an extraordinary relationship that is built up between doctor and patient. Introducing euthanasia and assisted suicide legalisation will fundamentally change this so that the doctor’s role shifts from providing care to taking lives.

Dr Kathryn Mannix

Kathryn Mannix is on a mission to revolutionise the way we think and talk about the process of death and dying. A pioneer of palliative medicine in the UK for over 30 years, her best-selling book With The End In Mind (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) sends a vital message to the living and answers the most urgent, intimate, and fascinating questions about the end-of-life process with touching honesty and humility. Starting in cancer care and changing career to become a leader in the new discipline of palliative medicine, Dr Mannix has spent her medical career working with people who have incurable, advanced illnesses, and brings this wealth of experience to the task of helping others to navigate these conversations and decisions.

Click to listen to her Public Lecture:

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