While Michelle Fannin is thrilled to be the new co-ordinator of Taihape seniors group Older and Bolder she laughs at the fact she is still too young to join the group.

Seniors need to be at least 55 to join up but Fannin is still "40-something".

"Doesn't matter at all though. I'm loving reading and researching people, places and issues for the group," Fannin said.

"They are an amazing group of people and to be honest, old just doesn't come into it. Most of them are so busy they have to make time to come along."


One example is the group's chairperson Marion Cleaver who has been the chairwoman for 20 years.

She is also a Justice of the Peace, the Taihape Golf Club manager, Otaihape Medical Centre Trust chairperson, and chairs the Mataroa School Trust as well as caring for 10 steers on the family farm block.

"Being busy is typical of most country women. Sitting around is never an option," Fannin said.

Former co-ordinator of Older and Bolder was well known Taihape woman Betty Tierney.
"Betty's are big shoes to fill. She was pretty great."

Fannin is also the Taihape Community Board chairperson and was delighted the people of Taihape voted unanimously in a recent Rangitikei District Council survey to retain the board.

The survey had asked whether residents wanted to change the board and have a committee instead.

"But the board was voted in with a majority of 75 per cent which is wonderful because Taihape is so distant from the Marton-based council.

"We are a distinctive town with very much our own voice. We need to be listened to which would never have happened with a committee."


Working for Older and Bolder has meant Fannin has come across a wealth of information she wouldn't have previously thought about.

"Like the Gold Card for example. There are amazing discounts and offers from a huge range of businesses. I'm going to arrange a Gold Card information evening."

And as always there will be an abundance of exciting trips away, Fannin said.

"The members love trips away, they find them very rewarding, worthwhile and always fun."

There would also be a programme on confident driving and learning the basic mechanics of your car is important.

"There are a lot of older people who don't feel confident driving on the open road, actually, I'm one of them. I think safety driving information would be invaluable."

Older and Bolder drivers help with Taihape's health shuttle service taking people through to Palmerston North or Whanganui Hospital.

Fannin said she was very keen to plan events and have interesting people come in and talk to the group once a month.

"This job makes me very happy. These are people I've know most of my life. Just never mention the word old... ever. Older is fine, old is not."