First female president of Grey Power resigns


Jan Pentecost. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Jan Pentecost. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The first woman to become national president of Grey Power NZ Federation has resigned, citing the heavy burden of the role and coping with family issues.

Jan Pentecost of Sefton has stepped away from leading the national body for seniors, which has more than 45,000 members.

‘‘I resigned because I am exhausted.’’

She said on occasion the past three-and-a-half-years as president were a trial.

‘‘With Covid, conflict between board members, and some bias towards me because of my gender, plus, of course, the very heavy workload, have all forced me to look at not continuing on in the role.’’

Pentecost had been the national secretary for the 10 years prior to taking on the mantle of the national president.

She said she felt at times some of the board's older members were too comfortable with past stereotypes when it came to women's roles on committees.

‘‘It was like any national body I guess.

‘‘Being the first woman in the role wasn’t ever going to be easy, it was also impacted by circumstances in my personal life that arose seven months ago.’’

Her husband of almost 60 years, Tony, has grade three prostate cancer and, although his seven months of treatment appears to have been successful, he is now displaying memory loss.

This means she is unable to attend board meetings because she needs to be at home to look after him.

‘‘I have to recharge my batteries now for whatever the future holds for Tony and I.

‘‘Tony has been my absolute support for all our nearly 60 years of marriage so it is my turn to help him now and do everything we can to slow the progression of his condition.’’

Her fondest memories of the time spent as president was the huge amount of kindness and respect she received from members.

‘‘Many of them are doing huge amounts of work at the local level, and I’m proud of being there for them.’’

Pentecost has been re-elected as North Canterbury Grey Power Association president and says she will now have time, once again, to become immersed in local older peoples' issues.

‘‘There are still a lot of issues we need to be looking at, issues such as digital exclusion, aged care facilities and care at home,

‘‘That is the goal of Grey Power to advocate for aged people at both the national and local levels, to talk to politicians and bureaucrats to make them see our point of view about upcoming legislation, and local bylaws, and how they impact on the aged peoples in our communities.’’