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How not to retire

3 May 2018 – Barbara Tane’s father worked until he was 82; there is every chance she will do the same, writes Venetia Sherson for North and South magazine.

“I can’t see myself stopping soon.” An older brother and sister in their mid-70s still work full-time; another has just retired.

Tane says her father instilled a strong work ethic in his eight children. He had an agricultural contracting business for many years and later managed sheep farms. “He used to say, ‘Don’t expect something for nothing… you’ve got to earn your bread and butter.’ I’ve always carried that with me.”

Tane, 70, is a community services facilitator for Life Unlimited (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha) in Hamilton, a charitable trust offering support for the disabled. She commutes 30km to work each day from Te Awamutu. Sometimes she also visits clients in the evening, providing advice, support and information about services available.

Her work has always involved caring for others. She was a senior occupational therapist aid for 26 years at Tokanui Hospital before it closed, and then worked for the Richmond Fellowship, a mental health organisation, before joining Life Unlimited 17 years ago.

A widow, with two adult children, six grandchildren and two great granddaughters, Tane says she is sometimes asked why she doesn’t retire. “When your family leaves home, you need to have a purpose. My job gives me something to get up for every day.”

She does get tired sometimes – “more mentally than physically. But I have never had a time when I’ve thought, ‘I don’t want to go to work each day.’”

Her father died 19 years ago. “Even in his last years, he still refused to let us chop his firewood. He’d say, ‘That’s my job.’”

  • Read about Barbara’s job in the community programmes team
  • This article was published in the March 2018 issue of North & South magazine
  • Find out more from the Retirement Commission
  • The SuperSeniors Website is run by the Office for Seniors through the Ministry of Social Development. It acts as a gateway to information and services for seniors.
  • Age Concern is a charitable organisation dedicated solely to people over 65 that promotes dignity, wellbeing, equity and respect and provides expert information and support services in response to older people’s needs.

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