Delicately mobile, she is escorted to the waiting van that transports her home, where she lives with her daughter Miimetua Patia in Arorangi,
At 98 years of age, Paruru is the eldest client at the Creative Centre.
The centre’s new manager, returning Cook Islander Danny Tixier, began the week familiarising himself with the challenging role.
He has Manihiki and Rarotonga family ties. “It’s a calling,” says the 45-year-old, who has returned home with his wife and two children, to give back to his country.
Tixier has over 10 years’ experience working as an intellectual disability specialist in New Zealand.
His recent role in New Zealand involved working to integrate prison inmates back into the workforce. He also has extensive experience working in mental health services and with clients who are intellectually and physically challenged.
Tixier acknowledged he and his family have been planning for some time to return home, so when this job opportunity arose he didn’t hesitate.
Keen to get to know the members and staff, he spent a week getting to know everyone a month ago before officially taking on the reins on Monday, his responsibilities include the operations of the Creative Centre and its thirty members.
Tixier is the son of Ana and Tom Tixier, and brother to Viana and Vaniva.
Settling nicely back into the island, his teenage children have started their new school life at Tereora College.
Tixier was welcomed into Creative centre by members, staff and two of the board members, Joan Uka and Jaewynn McKay.