Tireless advocate inaugural Champion

Lance Girling-Butcher outside (Wellington).

Lance Girling-Butcher, QSM, has been announced as the first SuperSeniors Champion, part of a new programme launched by Minister for Seniors Maggie Barry.

The role recognises outstanding advocates for an age-friendly society.

Mr Girling-Butcher, a former newspaper editor, has spent many years fighting for the rights of disabled and older people in the Taranaki region.

He is now the chair of the New Plymouth Positive Ageing Trust and a tireless advocate for seniors.

"This is about seniors talking about issues that matter to seniors," Ms Barry says.

“Our Champions will be inspirational role models who embody the idea of positive ageing.

"The Champions will raise awareness of our ageing population, how we can make our towns and cities better places to be old, and advocate for the voices of seniors to be heard in their communities.

The position is an honorary, voluntary and non-political role.

Mr Girling-Butcher says when he lost his sight nine years ago, he went through a mourning process but then realised "I had to get on with life and think positively. I’m honoured and humbled to be the first Champion for seniors.

“It’s important for the whole community to get on top of our ageing population and it’s also an opportunity to respect and recognise older people.”

Other Champions will be recruited over the next few months and announced on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, 15 June.

What is a SuperSeniors Champion?

A SuperSeniors Champion is someone who embodies the qualities of active and positive ageing, and is a high-profile inspirational role model in a specific area of expertise who can highlight the opportunities presented by senior years.

What we mean by Positive Ageing

Positive ageing is something that everyone should be able to experience.

It is when older people are engaged with society and their contribution is valued. Society benefits from a healthy, happy and engaged older population, and recognises seniors who provide their expertise and skills to the community and workforce, in both paid and unpaid roles, who offer positive role models for both seniors and younger generations.

If you would like to nominate a well known high-profile New Zealander to become a SuperSeniors Champion, please email the Office for Seniors at osc@msd.govt.nz.