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Napier Age-Friendly

Published: 29 September 2023

Last Updated: 2 October 2023

Peter Grant and Lexia Puna

Positive Ageing Strategy Advisory Group co-chairs, Peter Grant and Lexia Puna

Napier has joined a small group of cities around the world to be named a member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

Napier is the sixth city in New Zealand to join the growing global movement of communities and cities that strive to better meet the needs of older residents. Hamilton, New Plymouth, Gore, Auckland and Nelson are all members of the network. Wairarapa Region has since been announced as the seventh member.

Napier Mayor, Kirsten Wise, says the announcement is perfectly timed as the world prepares to celebrate International Day of Older Person’s this Sunday.

“In just a few years Napier’s population of over 65-year-olds will outnumber children for the first time ever,” Napier Mayor, Kirsten Wise says.

“Older people have so much wisdom and experience to offer our whānau and communities and we need to foster that, so we have been working hard to become a member for several years.

“By joining the Network, we commit, as a city, to implementing age-friendly local environments and sharing our experiences with other members.”

Hon Ginny Anderson, Minister for Seniors, congratulated Napier on becoming a member of the WHO’s Global Network saying, “This is a fabulous achievement that reflects a large amount of work by the Council and the community of Napier over the last few years. I can see that this is the beginning of an exciting journey for Napier City, and I look forward to seeing the community’s progress in the future.”

By 2038, a third of Napier’s population (31%) will be 65 years and over, compared to 23% nationally. This will become a ‘new normal’ for Napier.

Recognising the changing demographic, Napier City Council adopted a Positive Ageing Strategy in 2020, with the vision of ‘living well and ageing well’. A Positive Ageing Strategy Advisory Group, independently co-chaired by two members of the Napier community, was also formed.

Napier City Councillor, Greg Mawson, says membership to the WHO Network will provide more visibility of Council’s desire to be an age friendly city, which should also further strengthen cross-agency collaboration and coordination.

“The Positive Ageing Strategy Advisory Group, led by Peter Grant and Lexia Puna, has been key in progressing our application to the WHO,” Councillor Mawson says.

“Being accepted into the international network means we are on the journey to becoming age friendly after having some of the key steps and projects under our belt to be accepted into the network.”

The Positive Ageing Strategy has seven priority areas based on feedback from the Napier community, which closely align with the WHO’s Age Friendly Cities and Communities model and Aotearoa/New Zealand’s government strategy.

  • Community spirit
  • Being informed and involved
  • Being safe
  • Getting around
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Housing
  • Things to do

As part of the Strategy, an action plan will be phased in over a five-year period. The action plan identifies opportunities for supporting both current programmes and services available to older people, as well as new initiatives that will further develop Napier as an age friendly community. The action plan will be launched by Mayor Wise at Council’s International Day of Older Person’s event on 10 October.

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