Renata was brought up in a coastal town in the lower part of the North Island. In her early 20’s she moved with her husband to a small town in the middle of the North Island where they lived for many  years before relocating to Whakatāne to retire. She is very happy to be living close to the ocean as she did when she was a child, describing this she said, “I love it because it’s by the ocean…when we first got here in the Winter we went to the beach and the salt air just hit me. It felt like I was coming home.” When speaking about aging, being in her 60’s and a recent birthday Renata emphasised that “you’re only as old as you feel.” Despite living with a chronic health issue and having recently struggled to find permanent housing Renata describes herself as a ‘cup half full, not a cup half empty’ kind of person. She was introduced to the VEBV when she applied to their HomeShare program, although this didn’t work out as she’d hoped it was through one of the VEBV facilitators that she eventually found the flat she is currently living in. She described the enormous relief of finding stable housing, and said about her flat, “I love it, I call it my little tiny home.” Renata is grateful for the support the VEBV has given her, both through the help with housing and the sense of family that has developed for her. When describing what she likes about the VEBV she said, “there’s caring, there’s understanding, there’s kindness. I like to think that there is love, there’s respect, there’s a feeling of belonging, that’s the one, they’re like my second family. You know what I mean, because all my family are scattered.” Like many of the VEBV members she also enjoys helping her fellow VEBV members and members of the community. Currently she is volunteering on a mentoring program she learnt about through the VEBV, and with a food distribution program that she does with a fellow VEBV member.





Enjoy Life 


Loving, Caring and Honest

Funny, Smiley

I like people and company, and

I’m a Social Butterfly that’s what my symbol represents

“I love, love, love butterflies, and my sister who passed away loved butterflies. They’re beautiful, they’re free, and to me they represent happiness.”

- Renata


“I'm happy and it’s all at peace and everything else, but the waves are like you know, like the ups and downs of your life I guess, but in saying that, you know, that's what made me who I am today.”


In this painting Renata describes how it has two parts, one which describes how her body has been through a lot. There have been different operations and ongoing problems related to some of these operations. The other part with a drawing of her heart illustrates how “heart is good and then my body’s happy.”


“I like the one because I’m very content and happy in my soul. That’s my spirit, and my soul, and I’m content and happy.”


“Colourful, happy, I'm happy, the yellow is like the sunshine it made me feel good. I'm just showing that all is well, in my world.”

My Power

“My power symbol is Libra, yeah I’m a Libran, in the background is the ocean and all the white in the waves when they crash on the shore. It’s the ocean and my sign and that’s the balance.”

Pleasure &

Renata loves the ocean, and after living inland for many years she was thrilled to move to Whakatāne to be close to the ocean. On her first day in Whakatāne, she visited the ocean and describes here how, when walking on the beach, she was “hit by the smell of the ocean,” for her it was a homecoming.