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Sporting legend, academic and life coach Sir Peter Snell is to become patron of New Zealand’s SuperSeniors Champions programme and help raise awareness of senior’s issues such as elder abuse and neglect.

The Minister for Seniors, Maggie Barry, has enlisted Sir Peter’s support to spread the word to as many people as possible that elder abuse is not OK.

“Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and is a chance to send a message to all New Zealanders about the need to respect older people and to make it clear that elder abuse should never be part of our society,” Ms Barry says.

“Sir Peter is an inspirational role model to older New Zealanders and many people feel they know him through his sporting success, his books and his life’s work. He is also a distinguished academic with published research on exercise and ageing.”

“I’m delighted he has agreed to join the 13 other articulate advocates for seniors who are all lending their voices to raising awareness of elder abuse.”

Sir Peter says he was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to contribute to the SuperSeniors Champions programme and enthusiastically accepts the challenge.

“Our elderly citizens have contributed a great deal to the development of our society and standard of living. The least we can do is to try to ensure that they do not suffer physically, mentally and financially from abusers who prey on their vulnerability,” Sir Peter says.

Ms Barry says addressing elder abuse is one of her main priorities as Minister for Seniors.

“Statistics worldwide tell us too many cases are unreported and go unnoticed and here in New Zealand there are 2,000 reported annually. With an ageing population it’s time to bring this difficult issue into the open,” Ms Barry says.

“We’ve re-organised prevention and intervention services to have a more positive outcome focus and from 1 July there will be a new Elder Abuse Response Service - EARS. These new services are spread throughout New Zealand and will ensure older people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds will have access to help and advice when and where they need it.”

“The focus will be on swift intervention and measurable positive outcomes for seniors in their own communities. From July 1 there will be a free phone number – 0800 EA NOT OK (0800 32 668 65) - to ensure vulnerable older people can get help.”

For more information on Elder Abuse prevention services or Super Seniors Champions go to http://www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz/

Our SuperSeniors Champions are:

Lance Girling-Butcher QSM

Dame Kate Harcourt DCNZ

Precious McKenzie MBE

Dame Malvina Major ONZ GNZM DBE

Peter Hayden MNZM

Sir Jon Trimmer KNZM MBE

Margaret Austin CNZM

Donald and Jennie Sew Hoy QSM

Peter Chin CNZM

Seung-jae Yu QSM

Nanette Nathoo QSM

Sir Pita Sharples KNZM CBE

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