Introduction    |  1. After the flood    |  2. A question of Cruelty    |  3. Toru Awa Whakaahua    |  4. Lake Alice (Narrative)    |
  5. Sleeping Children.    |  6. The Cream on my Porridge.    |  7 The Man in the Veil (narrative)    |  8. Major Changes    |  9.Here There and Everywhere    |  10. A Hint of Turkish    |  11. The Cultural Safety Blues    |  12. Dark was the Night   

In appreciation of your visit I offer you this gift/koha. I’ ve attempted to tell some of my story in music writing and narrative … sort of a ’sit back with a glass of wine experience’…. rather than a page requiring any depth of cogitation…..idea is to perhaps entertain and relax you a little……before we get to the serious stuff’ later on……..

The instrument(s) I use are made of wood metal and bone…. and are recorded directly into a microphone. I have a love of natural acoustic music. I am not a trained guitarist and have limited knowledge of notation. My compositions come from either what I see, or feel, or both.

by Brian Stabb.




This recording was compiled on my laptop on this day the 21st August 2007 in the sodden Hutt Valley Motor Camp, whilst I keep a watchful eye on the creek level. It is compiled specifically for the Registration Committee of Nursing Council, and is being presented as formal Submission No 5 in support of my recently adjourned Reinstatement Hearing. It is my hope that it will reach all Nursing Council members.

I write a lot about realities confronting mental health nurses in clinical practice……, and my sense of humour and my appreciation of the absurd cause me to directly enculturate the way I write…..In this recording are three narratives which reflect my writings. I offer these recordings as a koha ,(gift) to all who have taken the time to visit this website. [back to top]


1. After the Flood

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This was written 2 yrs ago when I got caught in the Taranaki floods. I was fortunate not to get trapped in my van but others did….. I sought refuge In New Plymouth and later drove back through Himitangi and Turakina ,…to see caravans still underwater in the sites I had stayed in…. by the same token I was touched by the resilience and cheerfulness of those small communities and the individual personalities I met …..so the music tries to reflect both loss and recovery. [back to top]


2. A Question of Cruelty (narrative).

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This story tells of my introduction to Psychiatric Nursing in 1966 in Liverpool England. The few years I spent at Rainhill Hospital determined the direction that my career in nursing has taken throughout my professional life. The story ends in Te Puke in 1998. [back to top]

Rainhill Hospital

A similar irony as presented in this narrative exists today, where often the postulates and dictates of best practice are grotesquely incongruent with available resources and societal realities. Such situations are ripe for the spectre of abuse and neglect to again assail our mental health care services . We must not hide and deny our own history of mental health care. Rather we should examine it, scrutinise it, glean the wisdom that lies there and use that knowledge to prevent history from repeating itself.


3. Toru Awa Whakaahua.

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This tune is played on a 12 string guitar and is an attempt to represent three pictures of the Waikato River….. White-tops on a fine windy day at the imposing Port Waikato estuary…. meandering backwater at Meremere, sunny afternoon sparkling water….eels insects and bird-life….. Looking up –river from beneath the old Victoria St bridge….the paddle boat silhouetted against the night sky by the lights of the casino and the city……. [back to top]


4. Lake Alice (narrative.)

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Well talk about culture shock �.Before I left England in 1973 I worked around London spending time in The Henderson Unit and The Maudsley Clinic, although as it turned out they had far less influence on my career than Lake Alice did… [back to top]

behind bars

I met Rita McKewan there. She was a Nursing Tutor at the time, who went on to become the much respected Principal Nurse of Porirua Hospital. I nursed her brother David in Villa 15. She would often visit him at weekends and would always make a point of spending time with us new immigrants, particularly those of us who had worked in the more progressive areas of mental health nursing…….I remember her enthusiasm and her influence on a significant number of nursing staff. She would always walk over to Villa 9 where she would update the staff noticeboard with the latest seminars and workshops etc . It was she that persuaded me to attend my first Psychodrama Workshop with Professor Dorothy Burwell in 1976….


5.Sleeping Children.

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I composed this many years ago, and it’s been a lullaby to all my five children…… it worked on a few of them…..and still does with my daughter Hayley…… [back to top]

my 5 kids

6. The Cream on my Porridge.

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I composed this for a special friend of some 20yrs. Ever since I became embroiled in this conflict she has unconditionally supported me, cared for me, nursed me. She shares my stubbornness when it comes to democratic freedoms and the rights of the disadvantaged. When I am down she restores my faith in the human condition, [back to top]


7 The Man in the Veil (narrative)

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healing the heart

This was written shortly after emergency heart surgery . No doubt this reminder of my mortality has affected my attitudes and approach to life's problems. It was written as a celebration of being alive, and in appreciation of the nurses and friends that cared for me at that time…. .


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8. Major Changes.

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This piece was written when I was in recovery, the major/ minor key changes representing the life adjustments one makes after a traumatic event…….. [back to top]


9.Here There and Everywhere.

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This is an instrumental version of a Beatles classic. I was born in Liverpool and at the age of 12 yrs was regularly bunking out of school to see the Beatles play at lunch time sessions in the Cavern Club. I soon fell from the grace of the school orchestra into the local music scene, leaving school and home at the age of 13yrs to play in a rock band, never opening a book to study until I started my nurse training in 1966. [back to top]


10. A Hint of Turkish.

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This is a piece of music that came out of my travels….it’s fun music that brings out the gypsy in me…it serves to lighten my mood …… This is socially proactive music… .it’s hard to be miserable to music…. therapeutic music…. [back to top]


11. The Cultural Safety Blues.

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I wrote this subsequent to my experiences at Waikato Polytechnic where I was branded as culturally unsafe by cruel malicious people who didn’t know what cultural safety meant. It left me bewildered and perplexed.� It is that mood of general puzzlement and hurt that the music tries to reflect. In recent times I have thought to write a reprise…. as the bewilderment I feel now is tenfold in comparison. Ironically I don’t doubt that were Irihapeti Ramsden alive today, she would be my staunchest supporter. [back to top]


12. Dark was the Night

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This is a traditional old blues tune played with a brass slide. I find that acoustic slide guitar, plus all the accompanying taps and slips produces a sad soulful sound expressive of the pain and loss associated with depression, Not music for a sing-a-long so dont join in.. [back to top]


This photograph was taken by Mark Forster-King of Hamilton Acoustic Music Club.

it lives

The caption refers not to me but to my guitar, which is 20yrs old and has been split through the body, burnt, frozen over-night to a tree, and run over by a car.