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Locking up and leaving for adventure

November 30, 2023

Panakeri Bluff, Lake Waikaremoana adj_WEB

If you’ve seen the current Ryman Healthcare commercial on TV, then you’ve probably seen Judy Shadbolt rowing past the camera on a beautiful still Auckland morning. 


Rowing is one of Judy’s passions, and she’s had great success with it, competing up and down New Zealand since picking up the sport in her 50s. A highlight in her rowing career was in 2017 when Judy, along with her rowing partner Alison, competed in The World Masters Games, winning a silver medal in the 1000m Women’s Pairs. 


She currently holds the title of top women's single sculler in the 70-75 year age group in New Zealand and is second in the North Island for the 65-75 year age group.  


In September, Judy and a small group from her rowing club competed at the Masters National Rowing Championships in Twizel in challenging conditions, gaining five 1st place placings and one 3rd place placing. 


“I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. I enjoy the sheer grittiness of rowing – it moves your whole body. It’s exhilarating,” she says. 


Adventure is in Judy’s DNA. She’s always up for hitting the open road and exploring the fantastic wilderness that Aotearoa has to offer. When she’s not rowing, Judy loves to hike. And she’s no stranger to several hard South Island trails. Not one to shy away from a challenge, she has even completed the tough but picturesque Hump Ridge Track in Southland. 


More recently she completed a three-day trip to Cape Brett with a group of three other women. They caught the boat to Deep Water Cove then walked 6km to the DOC hut where they stayed for two nights, exploring the peninsula and enjoying the stunning views and perfect weather. On the third day Judy and one of the other women walked 16km out to Rawhiti. 


Having a lifestyle this active and busy means that Judy doesn’t want to be worrying about her home while she is away. She chose Murray Halberg Retirement Village because it suits all her needs, right down to the location near the water as well as all the safety and security benefits. 


“It’s a lock up and leave it situation,” she says. 


“There’s no responsibility in terms of maintaining the building. When you go away, it’s exactly the same when you get back.” 


This is the way Judy loves to live her life. She can happily pack her hiking shoes or hit the road for a rowing regatta whenever she feels like it.  


“You’re still an individual and can live your life with all the freedoms that you had previously. I find that aspect of Ryman really appealing,” she says. 


When she is at home, Judy’s pretty active around the village too. From line dancing in the morning, bowls in the afternoon and an evening catch up at happy hour, she’s seizing the day and experiencing new adventures.