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Farewell to an awesome Kiwi … RIP Celia Lashlie

February 17, 2015
Celia Lashlie

Celia Lashlie

Celia Lashlie, the New Zealand author of He’ll be Okay: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good MenThe Journey to Prison: Who Goes and Why, and The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children died last night, from pancreatic cancer. She was aged 61.

Lashlie started her career in social work within the prison service in 1985, rising to manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison which she left in 1999. She was a Nelson manager for Specialist Education Services, and worked for a number of Nelson schools, where she developed the Good Man project working with male college students.  Celia was well known for her talks on raising teenage boys, as well as on social justice issues, and she had an extensive speaking circuit in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the United States.

Her family have set up a Givealittle page to raise funds to continue her important work.

“Every child is born pure and filled with their own particular brand of magic” – Celia Lashlie.


Her final statement issued 16 February 2015 (source:

The seductive nature of the modern world allows us as human beings to believe we are in charge. In today’s world we think we are in charge. Technological advances and intellectual knowledge we continue to acclaim, leaves us with the sense that we are in control and that there is enough time to achieve what it is we want to achieve.

We become complacent about the need to take care of ourselves… always something more to do. Some of this is driven by our desire to save the world, others driven by the desire we have to reach the many goals we have set ourselves – many of them superficial.

The simple reality is that we are not in charge and that moment of realisation comes to us when we learn of the fragility of the human spirit. For some, that lesson comes unexpectedly and hard.

Late last year I slowly became unwell. The stress of the lifestyle I was living, the demands I made of myself, the demands other people made of me and expected to meet became too great and as 2014 closed I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to my liver. No treatment, no cure, only palliative care. I’d waited too long to look after myself and my body broke.

To say that it was and is a shock is a major understatement. and as I look at the amazing family and group of friends I’m surrounded with as I now travel a different journey warms my heart. At the same time, there are feelings of trepidation about what lies ahead.

I’m now focused on the moments of magic that are appearing in front of me: The laughter of my grandchildren; a smile of a friend attempting to walk this journey with me and the pure beauty and strength of my adult children as they battle their anger, grief and sadness at what is happening to their beloved mother.

It’s time to leave the work to others now.

My wish is that others will learn to stop before I did, to take into account the limitations of their physical bodies and to take the time to listen to the yearnings of their soul. It is in the taking care of ourselves we learn the ability to take care of others.

boys into men


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