Otara bands together so elders aren’t lonely

By Kayne Peters

Otara elders celebrating the Christmas spirit at Te Puke o Tara Community Centre.

Christmas is the time of year elders across New Zealand feel most lonely.

Research from the Ministry of Social Development reveals that about half of older New Zealanders experience loneliness at this time of year.

So today, the Auckland community of Otara came together to put on a free event to celebrate more than 100 local elders.

“It’s the will of good people plus goodwill is why we’ve got this going today,” event organiser Mary Gush says.

Mary is an Otara local and has lived in the community for 53 years. As a part of her work for Independent Charitable Trust, she has raised more than $1800 and reached out to other locals to celebrate elders in the community at Te Puke o Tara community Centre with kai, music, prizes and whanuangatanga. And all for free.

Reconnecting with community

She says, “It’s about bringing our old people out of their homes, reconnecting with community and making new friends.”

Local kaumātua Jeff Tukua says this time of year is hard for elderly and calls for whanau to remember to make time for their kuia and koroua.

“Loneliness is prevalent for many elders at this time. Many of them don’t go out at this time of year because they have no money, no car and their children and grandchildren are living their own lives.”

If any elders are seeking support, please contact:

Super Seniors

0800 32 668 65

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