Esther-Jordan Muriwai was an amazing young woman who lived every moment to its fullest. She was diagnosed with bronchiectasis at the age of eight and spent much of her life in hospital.

Stories Estherphoto

In all her young years Esther showed courage and tenacity in the face of her challenging respiratory condition, and decided on two goals: to revitalise te reo and to make things different for others with bronchiectasis. Esther completed her Bachelor of Māori studies, which due to her health she could only complete one paper at time, taking her over five years. This is a testament to her will and inner strength to complete tasks she sets herself.  Esther was fluent in te reo and spoke from the heart about what it meant to her to be Māori in the Miss Aotearoa New Zealand contest. Entering the competition was a courageous step for a shy girl from Northland, and she was first runner-up! Esther also translated a resource book into Māori for the Whangarei Children’s Ward. Esther said “you have to take what your challenge is and use the wisdom gained from it to get on with life”.

Esther-Jordan was determined that for others with bronchiectasis it would be different, as for her “growing up with a lung condition was one thing, but growing up without a decent support network and services specifically to provide for those with bronchiectasis was highly difficult and it was a struggle for both my parents.” In true Esther style, she aimed high and worked hard to form the Bronchiectasis Foundation to provide education about this devastating condition. Esther also founded the Northland Bronchiectasis Support Group and mentored young people with the condition.

“You have to take what your challenge is and use the wisdom gained from it to get on with life”.

Sadly, Esther-Jordan did not live long enough to see her foundation’s launch, losing her 14-year battle with the crippling respiratory disease on June 5 2014. However, she wrote the constitution herself, teed up the Governor General to be its patron and pulled together those who would see her dream through. On the day that would have been her 25th birthday, the people whose lives she touched gathered for the launch of her Bronchiectasis Foundation, including family, friends, health professionals, dignitaries and the Governor General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae who all acknowledged her courage and determination. 

Esther-Jordan will be deeply missed.

Bronchiectasis Day is held annually on the day of Esther'Jordan's birthday, 7 April, which is also the day the Bronchiectasis Foundation was formed.

If you or someone in your whanau has bronchiectasis and is looking for education or support, contact the Bronchiectasis Foundation Chairman, Camron Muriwai on 021 593 501 or email camron.muriwai@northlanddhb.org.nz or visit their facebook page under Northland Bronchiectasis Support Group.

To learn more about this incredible woman and her illness, click here or check out the video below.


If you or someone you know with a respiratory condition has a story to share, please email marketing@asthmaandrespiratory.org.nz and you could be featured here too!

Can you help other New Zealanders with a respiratory condition?

Sadly, many New Zealanders are affected by respiratory disease. One in six New Zealanders have a respiratory condition. Respiratory illness is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand.

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