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Bob Owens village celebrates double digits!

Written by Pip Rowe
on April 22, 2024

Our Bob Owens Retirement Village celebrated a significant milestone on 18 April - a decade in business!  

The Ryman Healthcare village, located in Tauranga, was packed with over 200 eager residents waiting to celebrate. The festivities had been delayed due to COVID-19, making it closer to a 12-year birthday than a tenth but as the saying goes, better late than never! 

Cheyne Chalmers, Chief Executive Officer - NZ, opened the speeches by commenting on the strong sense of community at the village.  

She remarked on what a beautiful spot the village is located in, with panoramic views of the Mount and the harbour, while being conveniently close to the Bethlehem town centre.  

Cheyne spoke about the village’s big moment in the spotlight when it won Ryman Village of the Year in 2020. It offers townhouses and apartments, with assisted living available, as well as a state-of-the-art care centre providing rest home, hospital and specialist dementia care. Alongside this, the high standards of support, excellent clinical care and staff satisfaction ratings clinched the award win.   

“Obviously with it being COVID times, we had to run our annual awards via live stream, but I was lucky enough to be here in person that night and I was absolutely thrilled for the team,” she said. 

Cheyne acknowledged the professionalism, care and hard work of the wonderful team at Bob Owens, and thanked the residents for making the village such a welcoming and vibrant community. 

Longstanding team member Jan Corbett also spoke of her experiences at the village and read out some touching stories from Thelma Grant, the resident who has lived at the village the longest.  

Namesake Sir Bob Owens is rememberedPicture1-Apr-22-2024-02-01-54-9539-AMSir Bob’s grandson, Mahé Drysdale, speaking at the event

During her speech, Cheyne Chalmers commented that: “It’s a Ryman tradition to name our villages after outstanding people who are connected to the local community. So, when we decided to build a village here it was no surprise that Sir Bob Owens’ name soon came up.”

Known as a pioneering figure in the development of Tauranga and its port, Sir Bob was also one of New Zealand’s most renowned businessmen. In addition, he played a huge role in serving the local community. He was a Tauranga City Councillor, Mayor of Tauranga, and Mayor of Mount Maunganui Borough. 

We were very fortunate to be joined by three of Sir Bob’s grandchildren and four of his great grandchildren, with Olympic rower Mahé Drysdale sharing some memories.
Mahé spoke about the values his grandfather instilled in him from a young age. He lived with Sir Bob in Auckland when he was 16, and said he remembered how hard-working his grandfather was.

“What I got out of that was the determination he had to succeed, no matter what,” he said.

“That’s certainly been a great lesson to me and my career and what I’ve done.”

A new Village Manager revealed 

Last but not least, Cheyne Chalmers announced that Izak Luther had been appointed as the new Village Manager. 

Izak has been in the same role at Ryman’s Hilda Ross Retirement Village in Hamilton, yet he lives in Tauranga just two blocks away. 

Residents were very excited to hear this, with many of them taking the opportunity to have a chat to Izak afterwards. Picture2-Apr-22-2024-02-08-58-0195-AM

Team members pictured, including new Village Manager Izak Luther in the centre

Cutting the cake and eating it too

The speeches were followed by a memorable moment where not one but two huge tenth birthday cakes were cut.

Brontë Drysdale, Sir Bob's great-granddaughter aged 9, and Jessie Bicker, the village's eldest resident at 98 years old, came together to cut them.

With the first slices made, the cakes were promptly whisked away for the morning tea. This certainly got the residents to their feet, with people moving fast to get their pick of the delicious array of sweet and savoury items.

Residents enjoyed catching up with one another over morning tea, and there was a steady queue to chat to Sir Bob’s family members, with some sharing their personal memories of him.

Here's to another decade of success, growth and good times!

Picture3-Apr-22-2024-02-11-50-4753-AMBrontë Drysdale aged 9 and Jessie Bicker aged 98 cut the cakes


About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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