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Ten years ago, a notice in the local paper led Ross to discover a love of playing music. The notice read ‘No musical knowledge required’. Aged 65 at the time, Ross and some mates, none who had played music before, decided to head along and give it a go. Now he’s in several bands and tours in different towns playing music on a guitar he made himself.

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Ross’ musical journey started as a hobby when he stopped working, but it grew into something much more. He especially loves being part of a group - “It’s socialising with other people. It’s great. It keeps you happy.”

Being with other people is something he also loves about living at Ryman. Ross enjoys volunteering at his village and getting involved. “We work on the bar during happy hour, go to some of the events, and that’s the great part about Ryman - you can go along to whatever you want. You just do what you want to.”

Ross almost always has something on the go. One of the things he threw himself into was making not just one, but four, guitars.

Ross bought his first instrument, but then had the idea that he could make his own. He sources all the materials and he’s especially proud of the recycled wood he uses and where it comes from. For his first guitar, Ross used native Kahikatea out of a century-old Nelson woolshed for the soundboard, and recycled Southland Beech, another New Zealand native, for the sides and neck.

Music is a big part of Ross’ life, but it’s not his only passion. He’s just as fervent about motorhoming and tries to combine both passions whenever he can. Every year he takes his RV to the annual Music in the Mountains festival which features four days of live performances in a valley near Nelson.

Being able to travel while knowing your home is secure is another benefit of living in a Ryman village. “In the village we’ve got no worries, and if we choose to go away anywhere, we know everything’s fine and looked after. We like the security. And joining in with everything. It’s just fun here.”

"I never did any music until I retired. The rest is history."



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