When Jan sailed to London in the 1960s to start her OE (Overseas Experience) it took five weeks to get there. Reminiscing about this time in her life, Jan, who is now in her 70’s said, “We used to have lots of fun. It was a big group of expats. Lots of Aussies, South Africans, Kiwis, all got together. Yeah, and then you would go over to Europe and hitchhike around. I hitchhiked most places in Europe, which is what we did, we had no problems. I had my 21st in London.” After her time in London Jan travelled to Canada and then Melbourne where she married a man she had met in London. After a few years in Melbourne Jan and her husband returned to New Zealand and settled in the lower part of the North Island where they had their children. Eventually they moved to Whakatane to buy their own business, which was very successful. However, after issues with the business Jan moved into another one which is where she met Ruth, the VEBV’s original coordinator, who many years later introduced her to the VEBV. Jan describes herself as a very nurturing person which led to her retraining to work with children with special needs. She worked in this field until she had a bad accident, which she has been struggling to recover from. Joining the VEBV has helped with her recovery as she enjoys both socialising with the diverse range of VEBV members, and the way they help each other. As she said, “the Eastern Bay Villages is really about helping one person to help the next person, it's really just - you do something for one person, and that person can do something to help the next person. That's really just passing it forward, and it’s about what life is to me.”


I am a very independent woman

I like to try to attempt new things/activities myself

I need assistance, but

I like to try to ‘do’ most

things myself

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- Barbara


“My mind is all circles the circles, and the dark colours, which I'm quite surprised because I'm normally a very bright person, and that surprises me? I'm normally very bright, bright pink, a bright, colours person. Now I don't know where that one came from. That's my mind and I can see the spiritual side of it also.”


Jan’s symbolic representation of her body speaks about the different parts of her body and how her emotions (the red lines), interweave her body.


“My spirit there on that one has the bright colours. You see, it's how I see spirit. I've got little trees, which I chose because they are living, they’re living things and without trees we’re dead. The crosses are spirit, and to me the Cross depicts the spirit, Christianity, really.”


“I think my emotions at the time were just everywhere. It's like a flower, because that's me with the flowers and the gardens. It's a flower, and my emotions. It’s like you can see the whole centre of it just exploding. My emotions were extremely raw that day.”

My Power

Jan’s power symbol is a cross, which represents the importance for her, of her Christian faith. As she said: “Why does Christianity mean a lot to me? Because without it, you're gone, you’re dead.”

Pleasure &

Jan derives strength and pleasure from nature and being outside, while she can’t walk as much as she used to, she still loves being outside. In particular she loves trees, as she said, “I love walking amongst the trees, being out in the open being amongst trees, I used to always walk amongst them.”