Although Taea will no longer grace the track with her power and speed, she will remain active with the development programme of athletics here in the Cook Islands.
Athletics Cook Islands president Erin Quirke says she understand the demands and challenges of life as a representative athlete.
“It is sad to see any athlete come to the end of their career, but Patricia has a long and successful history,” says Quirke.
“She has been a powerful ambassador for the country and remains a fantastic role model for our young athletes. As a federation, I look forward to working with Patricia to support her passion for youth development. Athletics is in her blood, and while she may be hanging up her track spikes, she will never leave completely!”
Taea, who is of Mangaia and Aitutaki descent, raced throughout her primary school and college years under the guidance of coaches Ray Preston and the much loved Ake Hosea (Sparky).
To this day, Taea still holds Tereora College records in the 100m, 200m, javelin and long jump, before she first entered international events as a 17-year-old at the 2010 World Juniors in Canada, going on to compete all over the world for the next eight years.
Quirke said Taea has represented the Cook Islands with pride in the region and the international arena.
“Patricia is a quiet, humble and intelligent young woman and her personal character together with her physical talents made her a formidable opponent and one of the highest performing home grown athletes of our time.”
Taea retains the senior national records for the 100m, 200m and 400m, her achievements also include winning gold and silver medals at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu.
She said she has mixed feelings about calling an end to her career.
“Sacrificing a lot for a sport I love was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
“The life of an athlete required a lot of courage and commitment, it was the best experience of my life,” Taea said.
“On the one hand I am happy that all the training sessions that ended with me throwing up have come to an end - but at the same time I am sad because I will miss representing my country on the track.”
Spending time with her family will be a top priority for Taea as she settles into retirement.
“I plan on studying education and playing other sports socially, as well as spending a lot of time with my family, especially my nieces. I haven’t been around much when they were born but now that I am living on the rock, I love spending time with them.”
While working full-time as a teacher aide at Te Uki Ou, Taea is a member of the national Olympians Association as well as a committee member of Athletics Cook Islands.
Those within the athletics community will spot Taea officiating at both the National Youth Athletics and the Prince of Wales Championships in September and October this year. She will also be spotting rising talent.
Quirke said “On behalf of ACI and the people of the Cook Islands, we salute you Patricia on your retirement. Meitaki maata, thank you for bringing pride and joy to our sporting world.”