November 17, 2019
Nancy Brunning a creative force to the end
Patient Voice Aotearoa says actor, director and playwright Nancy Brunning has joined the roll call of petitioners who have died before the drugs they needed to hold their cancer at bay were funded.
Brunning, who died on Saturday aged 48, featured in a video produced this year to support the petition to double the Pharmac budget and to have the government drug buying agency reformed.
She had battled cancer for nine years, and a crowd funding campaign was launched in July to pay for non-funded medication as she worked on her final play, Witi’s Women, a celebration of characters created by novelist Witi Ihimaera which premiered at last month’s Tairawhiti Arts Festival.
Ihimaera says as a tribute he would like to see her added as a character to the play.
He described her as Te Wāhine Rongonui, a woman of tremendous influence and talent.
He says she has stood out since he first saw her in a Taupō-nui-a-Tia College production of Whale Rider in the 1980s.
She went on to work in television, including in the original cast of Shortland Street, in films such as What Becomes of the Broken Hearted, and Mahana, and in theatre.
Yesterday she was declared the posthumous winner of the country’s top playwriting accolade, the Bruce Mason Award, which recognises career achievement.
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