104 year old Kiwi thrill-seeker celebrates birthday by parasailing

NZ 17/05/2018

If you make it to your 104th birthday, you may as well do something special to celebrate. For Ella Bayes from Northland, that meant parasailing. 

Her rest home is helping its elderly residents indulge their urge for adventure. The great-grandmother of 10 is not afraid of heights - she's already been gliding and hot air ballooning.

Mrs Bayes made a pact with her younger friend, 100-year-old Dorothy West, to go parasailing in the Bay of Islands.

Mrs West is an adventurer herself who's written four books about her travels. She went parasailing two weeks ago, and describes it as being like "dancing in the wind".

At 1300 feet, Mrs Bayes experienced New Zealand's highest commercial parasail - and looked like a natural.

"I thought it would be rougher," she said when she came back down.

Her rest home is fast gaining a reputation for thrill seeking - more than 30 residents at the Jane Mander Retirement Village have taken to the sky.

Now the oldest and most active resident can say she has been parasailing too.

As for her next birthday, she's thinking of getting a tattoo.