Ella Bayes enjoys getting her feet off the ground and she isn't letting age stand in the way.

The Whangarei woman, who turned 104 yesterday has been hot air ballooning and gliding before and is now going parasailing next week to celebrate her birthday.

Bayes, who lives in Jane Mander rest home, is looking forward to the parasail experience in the Bay of Islands.

In parasailing, people are towed behind a boat while suspended from a chute. Photo/Supplied
In parasailing, people are towed behind a boat while suspended from a chute. Photo/Supplied

As part of the 104th birthday celebrations, about 50 family, friends and residents filled the atrium at Jane Mander for a morning tea yesterday.


"I thought I'd make 100 but I didn't think I'd go any further," Bayes said.

After the party, Bayes went for a Thai lunch with family.

Bayes had three children, but her son died. She has five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Her daughter Lynda Brown said her mum always liked to be active, never stresses about anything and has always eaten well.

Bayes will be the 30th resident from Jane Mander to go parasailing, and the first from the rest home as the other 29, some who have been more than once, all live in independent units.

Two of the activities co-ordinators, Jazz Phillips and Coralie Vine, share the same birthday and so pick something to do together to celebrate. Last year it was parasailing and afterwards they took the video in to show the residents, who then decided they wanted to go.

Fellow resident Dorothy West, who turned 100 in September, went parasailing in March. When she returned she challenged Bayes to the adrenalin-filled activity.

Bayes' doctor has given the all clear, and next Tuesday she will sail high above the Bay of Islands.

She could be the oldest person to parasail according to the director of Flying Kiwi Parasail based in Paihia.

Richard de Rosa said he had been in the parasailing industry for 28 years, 20 of which had been spent in Paihia, and he had not heard of anyone older.

In recent months Lady Reid, at 101, was the oldest, closely followed by Dorothy West at 100, who had both used the company.

"She could be the oldest in the world to do this," de Rosa said.

He said the take off and landing was gentle and was from the back of the boat. The parasailers were hooked into a harness and then deployed into the sky.

"We will make sure weather conditions on the day are favourable and we wouldn't put anyone of this lovely age up in rough conditions."