2017 Hamilton


2017 UPBEAT Weekend, Airport Conference Centre, Hamilton

The 2017 UPBEAT weekend was held 15-17 September at the Airport Conference Centre in Hamilton. Over 80 people with early onset Parkinson's and their partners attended. The upper North Island was well represented and members from Wellington and as far away as Invercargill also attended.

Friday afternoon started with Speech Language Therapist Robin Matthews and a sing-along. This was a fun way to learn about Parkinson’s and communication and a great icebreaker. The members who attended the 2017 Outward Bound course had everyone laughing with their "rap" performance. Senior Neurological Physiotherapist Gilly Davy outlined the principles of exercise for people living with Parkinson's and then got us on our feet and moving. 

The Saturday morning session began with a group tai chi session led by Waikato tai chi instructor Doug Downs. Nurse Practitioner Tony Lawson from Bay of Plenty DHB spoke about Parkinson's and medication. STADA Nurse Advisors Rebecca Manners and Elise Tune described medication treatment using Movapo (apomorphine).  Movement Disorder Nurse Lorraine MacDonald from Auckland Hospital spoke about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), the assessment process and what the surgery involves. These presentations were followed by a panel discussion with plenty of question and answer time.

Saturday afternoon's excursion to the Hamilton Gardens for lunch and a wander through the gardens was a good way to get to know people better. On Saturday night there was dinner and dancing with Wellington Dance For Parkinson's instructor Rachel Horwell. A number of us danced the night away!

The Sunday morning session began with a group dance session led by Rachel Horwell. Dr Helen Murray from the Centre for Brain Research talked about the latest research on the progression of Parkinson’s in the brain and discussed her own research on neuroplasticity and the Parkinson's brain.  

The weekend ended with a presentation by psychiatrist Dr Colin Patrick from Waikato DHB who spoke about non-motor symptoms related to Parkinson’s including depression, anxiety, psychosis, and problems with sleep. 

Arrangements were tailored to suit the needs of people with Parkinson’s. Breaks between sessions allowed members to eat, drink, chat or rest. Group discussions on topics relevant to people with early onset Parkinson’s and their partners were well attended.

A special thanks to the Parkinson's Waikato branch for helping us pull this weekend together.  We are also grateful to our funders The Southern Trust and STADA Australia for their generous support.


If you went to the Hamilton UPBEAT weekend, we would be grateful if you could let us know your opinions and any improvements we could make for the future by participating in this survey:




Presentation reports

Parkinson's and Exercise, sample exercises from Gilly Davy, Senior Neurological Physiotherapist. To view please type in your user name (PDUpbeat) and password (PDUpbeat)

Parkinson's and medication (PDF), presentation slides from Tony Lawson, Nurse Practitioner

Parkinson's research update (PDF), presentation slides from Dr Helen Murray

Non motor symptoms of Parkinson's (PDF), presentation slides from Dr Colin Patrick

Click here for a copy of the programme (PDF).