Juliane Brand never dreamed that immigrating to New Zealand would lead to a new direction in her career and a passion for Kiwi life and aged care. Despite initially being reluctant about the move from South Africa with her husband and children in 2006, it proved to be a turning point that propelled her towards new opportunities and a passion for her new country.
“Moving to New Zealand was a godsend and it’s been absolutely amazing,” she says. Juliane was working as Head of the Health Science Faculty at the Institute of Higher Education in Kimberley, Northern Cape Province. Her husband, an environmental scientist, experienced job uncertainty in his role as Environmental Manager for DeBeer’s and was looking for job opportunities for the family abroad.
Juliane eventually agreed to an interview for nursing roles in New Zealand and was offered three jobs on the spot – with a choice of Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch. After the family moved to Christchurch, Juliane began her career in aged care. This was an industry she was unfamiliar with, but unexpectedly fell in love with. Juliane enrolled at Otago University to complete a master’s degree in Public Health. “I wanted to understand the New Zealand public health system and how it worked, before I could make an input. This country has been so amazing to me and my family that I want to try and give back. I knew early on in my career here that I had found my new passion in aged care.
I’ve always wanted to make a difference in some way.”
When Juliane began her management role at Holly Lea Village, it was in need of renovation with only a few residents. With a vision to make it the best retirement village in Canterbury, the village went through a complete refurbishment. “I love it at Holly Lea and I love working for Generus Living Group – the autonomy, support and the trust they put in me enabled me to implement my values and beliefs into my work. It is such a privilege and honour that people put their lives in our care.”
Being fully involved in the design and redevelopment of the village, she says it is “very emotional” seeing it all come together. “Seeing the newly completed Care Centre and memory support unit was a huge moment for me. I truly feel that I found my purpose at Holly Lea.”
The Care Centre was officially opened on 30 March and Juliane says it has been very well received and is in high demand. “The opening celebration was wonderful, there was so much interest and I feel honoured that people appreciate our vision. This makes me want to do my best. Living here is a unique experience for whoever will call it home.”
While Juliane is still the General Manager overseeing Holly Lea Village and is closely involved in all aspects, she has handed over the baton for care to Eva Bragat – the first Care Manager at Holly Lea who will oversee the centre. “Eva is amazing, she has been part of the Holly Lea team for many years in her previous role as Clinical Nurse Manager. We want to ensure this will be the best experience it can be for our residents, who will be transitioning to a new beginning and a new way of living. A lifestyle with care. They will still have the freedom to determine how they want to live – we are just the support to ensure they can live life to the fullest.”
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