Best place to retire?

These folks think so

These folks think so

Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village residents Joan Emery, Noel Minnaar, Olive Smith (sitting), Suzie Torbett, Betsey Thomson and Marion Bosdyk (sitting) speak about why they chose Gisborne over any other city in New Zealand to retire in.

Picture by Liam Clayton
Beetham Village residents Lois Grose, Judy McLatchie, Jenny Blakeman enjoy the country-club like surroundings of Beetham Lodge, which acts as a central spot for townhouse owners and offers a pool, hairdresser, bowls and other activities.

Picture by Liam Clayton

Why are more people choosing to retire in Gisborne? Favourable lifestyle factors to enjoy retirement have seen business boom with out-of-town interest high at the region’s retirement ‘villages’. Sophie Rishworth spoke to residents at the biggest two here, and decided she wouldn’t mind ending up in either herself.

When it comes to making the decision of where to retire, Gisborne has started to attract people from around New Zealand . . . and the world.

The region’s two biggest retirement villages, Beetham Village and the Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village operated by Ryman Healthcare, have reported national and international interest bringing an eclectic mix to the city.

Statistics New Zealand reports the Gisborne region has 14 percent of people aged 65 years and over — on par with the total retirement population of New Zealand at 14.3 percent.

Family tops the list of drawcards for retirees who move here, followed closely by the friendly small-town feel, sunny climate, good beaches and a relaxed lifestyle with a lower cost of living.

Noel and Lindy Minnaar are originally from South Africa but immigrated to Auckland in 2000. Mr Minnaar, 71, said when it came time to think of retiring, he and his wife started looking on the internet. They had never been to Gisborne but found a favourably-priced townhouse at Ryman Village and bought it.

“We have been here two years now and have never, never looked back.”

They came purely for the lifestyle. The big distance between their children and grandchildren in London is bridged by weekly chats over Skype.

No one seems to miss Auckland

But the majority of retirees moving here are from Auckland, none of whom miss the big city’s traffic.

Judy McLatchie said she was driving around in Auckland when she thought, “Gee, I’m 75. When I’m 80 I don’t want to be here. So I thought, I’m going home.” Now her biggest worry is getting out of Potae Ave on to Lytton Road, she said.

Judy has her “forever friends” in Gisborne but no family. She travels back to Auckland every two months to see them and, conveniently, they bought her North Shore property when she moved — so it’s like going home too when she visits.

Now 77, Judy chose the independence and freedom of Beetham Village. Beside her townhouse she has a productive vegetable garden, her small dog fits in easily to the lifestyle and Judy loves that she can come and go as she pleases.

The Village has a central lodge which offers townhouse-owners access to a pool, hairdresser, bowls and other resident-organised activities.

Many residents are ex-Gisbornites

Beetham Village sales manager Robin McGreivy said they were in their final stage of construction and would have 175 town houses when finished. About 90 percent of the 170 residents were originally from Gisborne.

“Most of them say it has a country club feel,” he said. Jenny Blakeman, 78, agrees. Beetham ticked all the boxes, she said.

“After living in Auckland for 50 years, the decision was not a hard one. I have family here, plus it is the small-town atmosphere, and I love being near the ocean.”

Lois Grose, 77, went to school in Gisborne and has a sister who lives here. She transferred from the University of the 3rd Age (U3A) group in Auckland, which has a very long waiting list, and was able to get into the Gisborne group immediately.

Olive Smith is 86 and moved to Gisborne from Woodville because her eldest daughter lives here. The city now feels like home and she has a serviced apartment at Ryman that she loves.

Gisborne was always home for Ryman-resident Suzie Torbett, 73, even though she spent the last 20 years living away from here in Auckland and Waiheke Island.

“Auckland is very expensive.” The only thing she does miss is the shopping. A lot of residents said shopping choices for people of retirement age in Gisborne left a lot to be desired. Many opted to shop online or travel out of town.

Ryman resident Betsey Thomson, 70, chose Gisborne for the beach and family history.

Marion Bosdyk, 71, is in her first-year of Gisborne-living after moving from Auckland. She finds it, “so much more relaxing” than Auckland where she had to drive 50 minutes to work. Marion loves the combined country and town feel here.

Joan Emery, 72, said she fell in love with a Gisborne property at Ryman despite her family saying she could live with them.

“I needed to maintain my independence.”

Townhouse sold to campervan couple passing through

Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village sales adviser Pip Griffin says the stories of these retirees who have made Gisborne home are just the tip of the iceberg.

She fields calls from people all over New Zealand and helps give them the confidence to make the move. She even had one couple travelling around in their campervan, stop by at Ryman and buy themselves a townhouse overnight.

The beauty of these new retirement villages, as opposed to old-school retirement homes, is that they ease the retirement journey from independent living to a higher level of care when needed. Both have fully equipped hospitals and staff who can provide nursing care when required.

Beetham has a lower age entry point at 55 years. By comparison others, like Ryman, have a higher entry point of around 65 plus.

Whatever their age, all residents agree they love Gisborne — the climate, the beaches and the security offered at the purpose-built villages.

Why are more people choosing to retire in Gisborne? Favourable lifestyle factors to enjoy retirement have seen business boom with out-of-town interest high at the region’s retirement ‘villages’. Sophie Rishworth spoke to residents at the biggest two here, and decided she wouldn’t mind ending up in either herself.

When it comes to making the decision of where to retire, Gisborne has started to attract people from around New Zealand . . . and the world.

The region’s two biggest retirement villages, Beetham Village and the Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village operated by Ryman Healthcare, have reported national and international interest bringing an eclectic mix to the city.

Statistics New Zealand reports the Gisborne region has 14 percent of people aged 65 years and over — on par with the total retirement population of New Zealand at 14.3 percent.

Family tops the list of drawcards for retirees who move here, followed closely by the friendly small-town feel, sunny climate, good beaches and a relaxed lifestyle with a lower cost of living.

Noel and Lindy Minnaar are originally from South Africa but immigrated to Auckland in 2000. Mr Minnaar, 71, said when it came time to think of retiring, he and his wife started looking on the internet. They had never been to Gisborne but found a favourably-priced townhouse at Ryman Village and bought it.

“We have been here two years now and have never, never looked back.”

They came purely for the lifestyle. The big distance between their children and grandchildren in London is bridged by weekly chats over Skype.

No one seems to miss Auckland

But the majority of retirees moving here are from Auckland, none of whom miss the big city’s traffic.

Judy McLatchie said she was driving around in Auckland when she thought, “Gee, I’m 75. When I’m 80 I don’t want to be here. So I thought, I’m going home.” Now her biggest worry is getting out of Potae Ave on to Lytton Road, she said.

Judy has her “forever friends” in Gisborne but no family. She travels back to Auckland every two months to see them and, conveniently, they bought her North Shore property when she moved — so it’s like going home too when she visits.

Now 77, Judy chose the independence and freedom of Beetham Village. Beside her townhouse she has a productive vegetable garden, her small dog fits in easily to the lifestyle and Judy loves that she can come and go as she pleases.

The Village has a central lodge which offers townhouse-owners access to a pool, hairdresser, bowls and other resident-organised activities.

Many residents are ex-Gisbornites

Beetham Village sales manager Robin McGreivy said they were in their final stage of construction and would have 175 town houses when finished. About 90 percent of the 170 residents were originally from Gisborne.

“Most of them say it has a country club feel,” he said. Jenny Blakeman, 78, agrees. Beetham ticked all the boxes, she said.

“After living in Auckland for 50 years, the decision was not a hard one. I have family here, plus it is the small-town atmosphere, and I love being near the ocean.”

Lois Grose, 77, went to school in Gisborne and has a sister who lives here. She transferred from the University of the 3rd Age (U3A) group in Auckland, which has a very long waiting list, and was able to get into the Gisborne group immediately.

Olive Smith is 86 and moved to Gisborne from Woodville because her eldest daughter lives here. The city now feels like home and she has a serviced apartment at Ryman that she loves.

Gisborne was always home for Ryman-resident Suzie Torbett, 73, even though she spent the last 20 years living away from here in Auckland and Waiheke Island.

“Auckland is very expensive.” The only thing she does miss is the shopping. A lot of residents said shopping choices for people of retirement age in Gisborne left a lot to be desired. Many opted to shop online or travel out of town.

Ryman resident Betsey Thomson, 70, chose Gisborne for the beach and family history.

Marion Bosdyk, 71, is in her first-year of Gisborne-living after moving from Auckland. She finds it, “so much more relaxing” than Auckland where she had to drive 50 minutes to work. Marion loves the combined country and town feel here.

Joan Emery, 72, said she fell in love with a Gisborne property at Ryman despite her family saying she could live with them.

“I needed to maintain my independence.”

Townhouse sold to campervan couple passing through

Kiri Te Kanawa Retirement Village sales adviser Pip Griffin says the stories of these retirees who have made Gisborne home are just the tip of the iceberg.

She fields calls from people all over New Zealand and helps give them the confidence to make the move. She even had one couple travelling around in their campervan, stop by at Ryman and buy themselves a townhouse overnight.

The beauty of these new retirement villages, as opposed to old-school retirement homes, is that they ease the retirement journey from independent living to a higher level of care when needed. Both have fully equipped hospitals and staff who can provide nursing care when required.

Beetham has a lower age entry point at 55 years. By comparison others, like Ryman, have a higher entry point of around 65 plus.

Whatever their age, all residents agree they love Gisborne — the climate, the beaches and the security offered at the purpose-built villages.

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