My wife and I moved back to Gisborne in 1998 to live with and care for her elderly grandparents.

Matini and Lena Koia raised Tarsh as their own child, she grew up living in the same house as her uncles and aunties until they moved out and eventually Tarsh left Gisborne to undertake her studies in Maori and Politics at Canterbury University.  

Matini was a shepherd and farmer up the Coast all his life – other than a stint as an under-age soldier going off as a member of J-Force to occupied Japan after the war. He was an expert geneologist and had great stories about growing up around Tikitiki and Port Awanui! Lena grew up around Makarika as the daughter of the local midwife and raised 11 of her own children, as well as Tarsh.

Being raised by a grandparent is a special privilege – Tarsh has inherited some of her grandparents best attributes, their wisdom, humility and much of the knowledge they passed on.

Living with Matini and Lena as a young married couple was a great experience – seeing how these two 70-somethings loved, forgave and cared for each other was the best marriage guidance we could have hoped for as newly weds.

It was a great experience for all of us living together for the four years. While Matini was very sick with respitory illness and Lena has alzhiemers, we shared many stories, good laughs and a few times of tears.

Matini passed away exactly one year before our daughter Miria was born. She was named after his mother and we will make sure she knows Matini as well as we did.

2 responses to “Matini & Lena”

  1. manucaddie Avatar

    Kia ora Jill.

    Thanks for your comment. I was pleased to hear that good progress is being made toward the establishment of a Disabilities Advisory Group that will lead the establishment of a Council Disabilities Strategy and monitor Council policies and practices in terms of their (positive and/or negative) impact on people with disabilities.

    Gordon Jackman, who is also standing for Council, has been leading the development of this group with support from the sector and a couple of Councillors – I have been encouraging others to vote for Gordon as well.

    I know wheel chair access in the CBD has been problematic and the GDC has been doing work to address these concerns.

    The reality is at present our roads and transport all favour cars as the priority – and we need to have a much more pedestrian, cycle and wheelchair friendly city that includes first class public transport. If Invercargill can make their Council buses free then so can we!

    Thanks again for your support Jill.


  2. Jill Avatar

    Hi there, I watched a man in a wheel chair trying to get down and then up the footpath ramps along Rutene Rd. The approaches appeared to be too steep for him to use safely and he had to put himself into the traffic lane to turn himself around to back up and down the ramps. What are your visions for improved access for the physically disabled and is this a potential untapped voting area.
    Just wondering and you have my vote. Jill

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