Our story


It's got to be good enough for Mum, and Dad!

In 1983, Kevin Hickman walked into a fire-damaged old villa to investigate how the fire had started. The building was a rest home, and Kevin didn’t like what he saw.

“There were four people to a room with shared toilets down the corridor. The people running the rest home were nice and did a good job in as much as they were expected to. But to me, it was crazy. The standards were so poor. But that’s how rest homes were in those days.” 

It started Kevin thinking about what the standards should be. “I thought, what would I want for Mum? I’d want a single room with an ensuite, for a start.”

Finding the perfect business

Kevin and his business partner, accountant John Ryder, had met a few years earlier. Kevin had left the police to set up his own private investigation business and needed an accountant. Kevin says the partnership worked because they had complementary skills. 

After Kevin’s experience with the fire-damaged rest home, they knew they’d found what they were looking for. It was a great business idea and they could improve the way older people lived and how they were cared for. It was a business they could feel good about and believe in completely.

They soon found a block of 14 two-bedroom flats on River Road in Christchurch, which they would convert into their first rest home.

And with that, Ryman – formed from combining Ryder and Hickman – was born.

They renamed the rest home Riverside, the cash flow started to come in, and Ryman was soon in the market for a second property. A motel complex on Woodcote Ave in Hornby became their next development.

“Because we didn’t have much money, I lived there while we rebuilt it,” Kevin says. “We needed to squeeze every drop of cash flow out of it while we were rebuilding.”

Kevin and John believed in reinvesting to grow the company. Profits were reinvested to lay the foundations for future earnings so that the value of the investment was always compounding.

The Ryman recipe involved meticulous site selection of premium locations; design and construction to a specification aimed at meeting a discerning consumer’s expectations; and village operations and care that were equally committed to excellence. 

A belief in growing in-house talent

Both Kevin and John believed in bringing talented people through the ranks to top roles, and Ryman's current board and management still hold the same belief today. People need to have the Ryman way of working in their DNA to become Rymanians. They need to have care at the heart of everything they do.

Ryman’s ethos hasn’t changed

Three decades on, Ryman’s ethos hasn’t changed. “Everything we do must be good enough for Mum – and Dad.”

Want to know more?


Browse our retirement villages across New Zealand



Our villages offer living options to suit everyone, so you can choose the lifestyle that’s the best fit for you.



Contact us with your enquiry