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Sat 26 Oct, 10am for brunch, 10.30am start
90 mins, no interval


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Meet four extraordinary people who are redefining what ‘ageing’ and ‘eldership’ mean, and learn some of their insights into having a long and fruitful life.

Renée Hollis travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand to interview 120 centenarians and shares 38 of their stories in Keepers of History. Poet, playwright, author and nonagenarian Renée (The Wild Card, These Two Hands: A Memoir) is still playing with words. Former MP and academic Phillida Bunkle, who returned to flatting with friends in her 70s, loves a good policy debate. They all have a great deal to share about what it means to be an active and productive senior, while Dr Shaun Holt (Medical Cannabis, Natural Remedies that Really Work) explains why we’re living longer and how we can be healthy.

Chaired by Emma Espiner.


Renée ONZM, Ngāti Kahungunu, is one of Aotearoa’s writing rangatira. A novelist, poet and playwright, who lives in Ōtaki, she was recently awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement and the Playmarket Award for significant artistic contribution to New Zealand theatre. In 2017 she published her bestselling memoir, These Two Hands, and this year her first crime novel, The Wild Card. She turned 90 this year.

Phillida Bunkle

A true Boomer, Phillida caught the 60s free education wave from a UK all-girls grammar school to the exciting ‘new’ Keele University and as a Fulbright Scholar on to USA and where she followed in the foot steps of Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinham to the all-women’s Smith College. She arrived at Harvard just in time to catch the very start of the women’s health revolution and went on to become one of the pioneers of Women’s studies at Victoria University. Her subsequent public activism has focused politically on seeking a sustainable economy while retaining the access to to the publicly funded education, health and housing that so transformed the lives of her fortunate generation Phillida has also worked as a carer in many roles and has practicing certificates in many holistic health modalities.

Dr Shaun Holt

Dr. Shaun Holt is the founder of two clinical trials organisations as well as Research Review, a company that produces regular reviews of the medical literature for health professionals. He holds degrees in pharmacy and medicine, has been the principal investigator in over 50 clinical trials and has over 220 publications in the medical literature. As well, he is the author of 10 books and has been a regular contributor on TV One’s Breakfast programme and national radio shows. He is currently helping a medical cannabis company with their research and clinical trials.

Renée Hollis

Renée Hollis has been called the ‘grey whisperer’ on her travels throughout New Zealand, interviewing centenarians in their homes, on their farms and in retirement villages. She has a unique ability to draw out remarkable stories, as she interacts with the individual and their family members. Renée feels deeply that it has been a privilege and honour to spend time with these precious souls and record their oral history. Prior to her career as an author, Renée was a primary school teacher in New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Botswana. In October Renée will have two of her Timeless Wisdom books published, titled; Fear and Courage and Human Kindness, along with a book called Oink: A book of fun for pig lovers.

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