Plunket veteran retires after three decades

Plunket community Karitane, Pam Wenzlick

After 30 years of attending to more than two generations of Mahurangi babies, Pam Wenzlick is retiring from her role as Plunket community Karitane this month.

Pam started her career as an obstetric nurse before getting a job at Plunket in 1986 in what she thought was a temporary role, covering the area from Whangaparaoa to Kaiwaka.

Thirty years on and she says she is often overwhelmed by how many people she has worked with and how fast the years have gone by.

“I blink and they are one years old, I blink again and they are five, then before I know it they are coming back as parents,” Pam says.

“Almost every day there is someone who shows me a picture of their baby all grown up or at their 21st.

“It’s nice to walk down the street and see all the parents and children that I’ve worked with. Being able to help people is the most satisfying thing you can do.

“To watch young parents grow and gain confidence is very rewarding.”

Over the years she has found babies are born bigger and develop faster, although they appear to be teething at a later stage.

“A lot of children now only have one or two teeth when they are 12 months old.”

People’s lifestyles have also undergone a transformation, with fewer parents staying home to look after children full-time, but fathers are playing a greater role in raising children.

But she says the biggest change has been the population.

“The area has grown and grown. I remember five years ago I went to the same house I had been to 25 years earlier and I thought ‘where have all the fields gone’.”

Pam is looking forward to spending more time with her four grandchildren and having time to focus on her hobbies in art and craft.