Hibiscus Coast businessman’s decade of Hospice support
After ten years of supporting the local hospice, Orewa travel agency owner Dennis Payne says the joy of helping those who use the service still motivates him to keep finding ways to contribute.
Dennis, who with his wife Yvonne is joint owner of House of Travel Orewa and two other stores, has been a proud supporter of the Hibiscus Hospice for a decade.
“What some people don’t realise is that Hospice New Zealand receives some government funding, but a lot of it comes from the public, so if we don’t help, then it doesn’t exist.”
The passionate travel agents have been a key supporter of the local hospice since 2005, when House of Travel established a national partnership with Hospice New Zealand.
Initially inspired by there being no hospice service available when his own mother died when he was 15 years old, Dennis says he and Yvonne wish to contribute to the community in a meaningful way. Their team provide ‘armchair traveller’ sessions every month to patients in the Hibiscus Hospice, showing them images of exotic locations and telling them about travelling there to “take them away from where their reality, even just for half an hour”, explains Dennis.
The sessions attract anywhere from six to 35 people each time, and Dennis says the most popular ‘escapes’ recently have been Africa and cruises, although a recent session on the Fijian Yasawa Islands was also a welcome tropical break.
“People ask questions about things, and reminisce on their own trips there or to other destinations,” he explains. “One of our staff goes every month and they always get a warm reception, it’s just something different for the patients.”
Dennis and wife Yvonne are also involved in regular fundraisers such as the upcoming “Art at the Estuary’ event, which will contribute entirely towards lymphedema care for Hospice out-patients. They are also hosting collectors outside their stores during Hospice Awareness Week.
Their longstanding support has twice been recognised with awards by Hospice New Zealand for outlets that show outstanding commitment to the partnership, being presented with the inaugural award in 2006, and winning again in 2013.
“We don’t even think that we are doing anything special, it’s just what we do to help to assist towards the much-needed funds required to keep this valuable service in our community,” the pair say. “Hospice rely on people from their community to be involved, and there should be a real sense of ownership because while people are used to other services like hospitals or doctors just being there, we would lose Hospice if people didn’t help.”