Three well-known older New Zealanders are the latest to join the SuperSeniors Champions as advocates and role models, Seniors Minister Maggie Barry says.
Renowned ballet dancer Sir Jon Trimmer, former Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin and Senior New Zealander of the Year 2015 Donald Sew Hoy have all accepted the invitation to become Champions as part of the programme launched earlier this year.
“With our society ageing and become more diverse, having prominent New Zealanders with a variety of different life experiences behind them advocating for older people has never been more important,” Ms Barry says.
Recent research from the Office for Seniors has found more than half of New Zealanders view older people as an asset to society, but there is little awareness of how fast New Zealand is ageing.
Within 20 years, more than a quarter of the population will be aged over 65 and there will be fewer children under 14 than seniors for the first time in our history.
The three new Champions join Dames Malvina Major and Kate Harcourt, former Minister Margaret Austin, weightlifting champion Precious McKenzie, actor Peter Hayden and former newspaper editor Lance Girling-Butcher in the voluntary, non-political role.
“By raising awareness of senior’s issues with high-profile, articulate advocates like the Champions we can help change attitudes towards age. I look forward to seeing the impact Sir Jon, Mr Chin and Mr Sew Hoy have as Champions.”
Sir Jon Trimmer is celebrating close to 60 years on stage and is currently appearing as the Duke in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s production of Giselle. He has been a mainstay of the ballet company, and at 77, plans to keep performing as he loves working with dancers and actors of all ages.
Donald Sew Hoy QSM is the managing director of a successful clothing import business which supplies major retail chains, and is committed to continuing to run the family-owned company. He was a member of Auckland Council’s Business Advisory Panel and was Senior New Zealander of the Year in 2015.
Peter Chin, a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, has been a two term Mayor of Dunedin, a lawyer and chair of the national Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust, which aims to raise awareness of the early Chinese community in New Zealand.