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Age no barrier for Hikoi Hinepare
Hinepare Coddell is 77 years young, and even though she admits her memory isn’t what it used to be she is in every other respect fighting fit.
When her dementia reached the point where it was no longer safe for Hinepare to live independently she moved in to the Norfolk rest home in Waitara. Although Hinepare wasn’t allowed to bring her dog with her a special exception was made for her cat Possum who is purring contentedly on the sofa next to her.
“I always thought I wouldn’t want to end up in a rest home but they are lovely here. At home I kept forgetting things. I would start cooking something on the stove for tea, forget about it, and start watching TV. I nearly burnt the house down – twice!”
Hinepare is now leading an active and engaged life thanks in part to the Tui Ora pāhake programme. The tauheke and kuia service is offered as part of its pāhake service which provides opportunities for people aged 55 and over, to age positively. It focuses on three key areas of health education, fitness and mobility.
“Being here I see a lot more people than when I was in my house. Sometimes I would get a bit lonely, but I have lots of friends here and we get to go out on the Tui Ora bus,” says Hinepare.
“Every week they come and pick me up and we do all sorts of things, like go on walks at the beach and visit marae, and we go to our kaumatua meeting and have lunch.”
Hinepare is part of Hikoi Haere (the pāhakewalking group) that get together to walk and enjoy each other’s company every Wednesday. Recent trips have taken in East End Beach and the foreshore and Pukekura Park. Exercise is always followed by a shared meal with an emphasis on healthy kai.
Many of the members, like Hinepare, don’t have their own transport or are no longer able to drive so being picked up and dropped home afterwards means they can continue to be involved.
And now thanks to a grant from the TSB Community Trust, and a helping hand from the New Plymouth Shoe Clinic, the walking group are kitted out in the smartest shoes in town.
Some members of the walking group have mobility problems or needed orthotics so having the right shoe is really important. Nick Bull, manager at the Shoe Clinic provided the ASICS and New Balance sneakers at a hefty discount and made sure they fitted properly. Tui Ora fitness guru, Leanne Matuku and Koroua and Kuia Early Intervention programme coordinator, Ngareo Akariri put together the walking programme.
Hinepare’s purple, pink and white sneakers have pride of place in her wardrobe. She keeps them for best as she doesn’t want to wear them out. She is hoping to take them with her to the 12th annual Kaumātua Olympics in Hamilton later this year where she thinks she has a good chance in the kumara and spoon race.