Dialysis patients up-beat

18:13, Nov 12 2012
Kidney dialysis patients Jake Wharewhiti, left, and Nigel Tupu
MUSICAL HEALING: Kidney dialysis patients Jake Wharewhiti, left,  and Nigel Tupu find their music helps with their treatment.

They say that music heals the heart and soothes the soul, but have you heard of it aiding kidney disease?

Three of the dialysis patients at Waikato Hospital think so, and have formed a band to play music before and after their treatment.

The band was formed after the nurses discovered that band member Jake Wharewhiti, who moved to Hamilton to receive treatment after the Christchurch earthquake, could play the guitar.

"They found out that I could play the guitar and sing, so they brought this [guitar] in for me and we started it from there," he said.

The trio got together every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to play music together for about three hours, and were sometimes joined by other patients, he said.

"There's quite a few of them that stop and have a sing too. It all depends on the song."


Mr Wharewhiti has been on dialysis for about two years and his bandmate Nigel Tupu has been getting treatment for seven.

He said playing music before treatment was "like meditating".

Renal services charge nurse manager Nicky Hagan said the men were a great source of entertainment for the patients.

"They're our big boy band. We've been telling them they need a name," she said.

And soon enough, they will be taking their band on the road - but just down the hill to the new Regional Renal Centre.

The existing unit is now too small to cater for current and future demand, prompting a $7.6 million refurbishment of the former Lions Cancer Lodge to house the new centre.

The new renal centre will cover all renal failure and dialysis services for the entire Midland region and feature one of the largest home haemodialysis training centres in New Zealand.

The number of haemodialysis stations will be increased from 12 to 30.

Waikato Times