Real Life

Help us find nana!

once a week without fail, great-granny Audrey Gibson would ring her daughter Susan oanga and read out her New Zealand Woman’s Weekly horoscope. But now, remembering those happy chats on the phone, Susan says nobody could have predicted what was ahead for Audrey, known to her loving family as Nana G.

The 82-year-old was seen leaving a hair salon in Hamilton on 2 December – then vanished without a trace, leaving her family baffled and devastated.

After two months without any sign of Nana G, Susan still holds on to the hope that her mother will be found safe. “She wouldn’t be away this long without contacting us,” she says. “As far as I’m concerned, she’s out there somewhere and we just want her back.”

Susan and her family spent most of December searching for Audrey, who has four children, 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Armed with pamphlets and wearing custom made T-shirts printed with her picture, they’ve scoured Hamilton and the edges of the Waikato River. But so far, they haven’t found a single clue to her whereabouts.

“I feel like my heart has been ripped out,” says Susan. “oost people who have lost loved ones have somewhere they can go to remember them. We have nothing.” The family members have explored every avenue in their determination to find Nana G, even hiring clairvoyants in an attempt to find out what has happened to her.

“one of them said that she’s in the river, but another one says she’s in Taupo, so it’s anyone’s guess,” Susan says. Audrey has no history of mental illness or dementia, although she was being treated for high blood pressure and new medication may have left her disoriented. But despite fears for her safety, Susan remains hopeful her mum will find her way home.

“I’m still paying rent at her flat and it’s remained untouched since she’s been gone. It’s all ready for her to come back to. We’re still holding on to hope.” Granddaughter Anjula oanga says Nana G was so adored that all her grandchildren happily gave up their Christmas holidays to search for her.

“She is more than a grandmother – she’s like a second mum to all of us. We won’t stop until we get our nana back.” Police have used tracker dogs to help in the hunt for Nana G but have found no solid leads and haven’t ruled out foul play.

Now, as the days go by with no new information, Susan is making a heartfelt plea for help through her mum’s favourite magazine. “I just want to tell people that if you have loved ones, cherish them,” she says. “one way or the other, we want to bring oum home.”

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