Wait for new elderly care centre continues

Tuesday 8 June 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Wait for new elderly care centre continues
Members of the Are Pa Metua, an elderly care centre in Rarotonga. 21060209.

The mamas who regularly enjoy the services of the Are Pa Metua – a centre for the elderly to meet and enjoy activities together – are disappointed that the Government has not contacted their coordinator regarding the progress of their new facility in Panama, which they say was promised back in February.

A disappointed Are Pa Metua Teremoana Arbuthnott said: “The Prime Minister told us not to worry about it, that soon our facilities will be done at Panama; George Maggie said he’s waiting for the money to build it, he said don’t worry. Well, we are still waiting and there’s been no follow-up from Government.”

“That means then te pikipikika’a ua mai nei ratou ia matou, tera ua, tarekareka ia matou (it seems that government lied to us, they said that then to keep us happy). They said, ‘don’t worry about it, we’ll get you a home, so it’s now June…”

In February, Prime Minister Mark Brown, Minister Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa and Minister George (Maggie) Angene addressed the Are Pa Metua members and board about the problem of having no place for the elderly to meet.

The centre had to move out of their premises at the time, one of the Airport Authority buildings, due to the expiry of their lease in December 2020.

Government had assured the elderly that they would work quickly on this project to ensure the elderly citizens have a “nice restful place that is also near the town centre for their necessities”.

Arbuthnott said: “Now we see a new building going up at Constitution Park; we thought we would be the priority. Government said don’t worry, he said to be patient. How long are we going to be patient, we are running out of patience.”

Minister Mokoroa did not respond to email sent to him last week for an update on the proposed project.

The Are Pa Metua coordinator Moana-O-Liliuokalani Marsters says since the function in February, neither the Prime Minister or Minister Mac Mokoroa has contacted them.

“George Maggie did mention that we are welcome to use the new building at the Constitution Park, but it is not suitable for our elderly,” said Marsters.

At present the Are Pa Metua is functioning from Titikaveka- at the home of Marsters and her husband Purua, and her baking room has been renovated into an administration office for the centre.

About 20 to 30 elderly meet at the residence on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Various activities are held such as hand painting pareu, making Maori medicine for themselves, and playing cards. Meals are cooked on site.

When a family member of one of the group passes away, Marsters organises the van to transport those who would like to attend and everyone chips in for a donation to the bereaved family.

“We are like a family here,” said Marsters.

She was also pleased that all of the mama and the few papa who attend the centre had all received their first Pfizer vaccine shot, as encouraged by the Ministry of Health. “Kua akarongo rae ratou i te autara a Te Marae Ora, kua patia ia ratou.”

After four months of waiting, the organisation received their Social Impact Fund (SIF) payment last week. The Marsters are not paid a rental fee for using their private home to host the elderly.

“I believe in the Lord who gives me the strength and courage to continue to host the elderly at our home. There is nowhere else for our centre to go or for the mamas and papas,” said Marsters.


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