The Huntington's Scene In  New Zealand

Site Maintained by
Graham Taylor

Articles taken from the SEPT,   2004 Huntington's News. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Huntington's Disease Associations of New Zealand


Stuart has Huntington’s Disease and he is now in residential care in rural north Canterbury.

One of the remaining pleasures that he has are his cigarettes. I once asked him, "What brand do you prefer Stuart?" and his reply was, "Anything!!"

However, the smoking became somewhat hazardous for Stuart because of his involuntary movements and there were instances of him burning himself, his clothing, the carpet and anything else that happened to be around.

Knowing how much he enjoyed his smokes, Stuart’s dad Ron decided to do something about it and hence Stuart’s Smoking Machine was born. Looking somewhat like a cross between a sixties ashtray on a stand and a Middle Eastern hubble-bubble pipe, I watched in amazement as the nurse sat Stuart down outside in the rose garden and prepared his smoke.

She inserted it into the holder of the ashtray, lit a match to the end of the cigarette and Stuart gave a long pull on the length of pipe, which connected the cigarette to his lips, and hey presto — he was in business!!

I sat in the courtyard with Stuart as we talked and he sucked on his pipe and inhaled the smoke. I noticed that it was with certain difficulty that he was able to swallow the smoke, but nevertheless he persevered and gradually worked it right down to the filter, which he happily puffed away at as well.

I left there with a huge smile on my face at the kiwi ingenuity that had enabled Stuart to continue his enjoyment of smoking for yet awhile longer.

Since then I have learnt that Stuart has deteriorated and is not likely to be able to continue to smoke for much longer. I’m truly glad he was able to enjoy it whilst he could.