A stroke in 1992 prematurely ended Pacific Homecare client Tepaeru’s career with the Cook Island Tax Department. Relocating to New Zealand for improved health facilities, the proud Rarotongan took a while to adjust and says Cook Island music and dance got her through and kept her connected to her home.

Born in Rarotonga in 1948, Tepaeru Short grew up in the village of Titikaveka and spent her entire career working for the Cook Island Government’s Tax Department.

After suffering a serious stroke in 1992, Teparu was forced to stop working due to health reasons.

She then moved to New Zealand to access better health care, as she felt her quality of life would be much better here.

When she first had her stroke, Tepaeru says she went through a phase of depression, feeling helpless and missing her home in the Islands.

Listening to cultural music and watching films of island culture and dance reminded her of home and uplifted her spirits.

Her Doctor referred her to Pacific Homecare and she now receives both personal and household care.

Tepaeru also attends a Cook Island community group on Wednesdays and the Fia Ola programme at Pacific Homecare. Transportation is provided to help her get to these outings.

Not wanting to let her health or age slow her down, in her spare time Tepaeru loves to get on a bus and travel the city, looking at different sights and scenery Auckland has to offer.

She makes the joke that she goes out on the bus because she “would rather look at the beautiful scenery instead of looking at the walls at home all the time!”

With three children and five grandchildren all residing in Australia, she says it can get lonely at times.

She enjoys her time with her Support Worker Sarah Andrew who shares her love of the Cook Islands.

She says being able to see and talk to someone regularly really helps, and the best part of Pacific Homecare services is the companionship she and her Support Workers have created.

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