A blessing from Ngāti Koroki Kahukura has signalled the start of Ryman Healthcare’s new Cambridge retirement village.
The new site is on 8.6 hectares on Cambridge Rd to the west of town and will be home to more than 350 residents.
The new village will include 80 care beds, 60 serviced apartments and 185 townhouses. It will also include an indoor swimming pool, café, hair and beauty salons.
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Ngāti Koroki Kahukura’s Harry Wilson joined with the Ryman team on site to acknowledge the mana whenua and pray for those who will build, work and live at the village.
He explained how special the land is, having once been the original site of King Tawhiao where around 20,000 people once lived.
With plentiful crops on the land and fish in Lake Te Koo Utu it made a popular rest stop.
Harry shared a story of two hapū who came to settle their differences with warfare but after sharing kai first they managed to sort out their disagreement.
“It was a central hub of Māoridom. Whenever people came to our turf there was no fighting.”
He also acknowledged the historical land confiscations that forced local Māori to settle in less desirable areas.
Now, coming together for such occasions represented positivity for the future.
“Our view now is how do we as Māori and as pakeha, as New Zealanders, move forward together?
The Ryman Healthcare team meets Harry Wilson, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, at the site of its new retirement village being built on Cambridge Road.
He looked forward to the employment and residential opportunities that Ryman Healthcare’s new village would bring for local people.
At a special kai, or lunch, Ryman Healthcare’s Taha Māori Kaitiaki – Cultural Navigator Irihapeti Bullmore acknowledged the customary and cultural relationships with ngā iwi Māori, tangata whenua, and gifted the koha of Pohowaitai Titi, (muttonbird), Kai Tahi delicacy, and Rakahuri inaka, (whitebait from the Ashley River).
“Working together as Iwi for the betterment of kaumatua, whanau and the community is important to us and we can’t move forward until Ngāti Koroki Kahukura mana whenua are supportive.”
Irihapeti talked about ensuring the past helps us shape the future, acting with integrity, inclusiveness and supporting Iwi katoa.
“With the blessing of Ranginui today, the rain that finished our whenua mahi, it was a spiritual tohu (signal) from our Tupuna (ancestors) and we are blessed! A very special and emotional connection to this whenua, land and its people,” she said.
Irihapeti Bullmore (right) gifts Harry Wilson a special koha of Pohowaitai Titi, (muttonbird), Kai Tahi delicacy, and Rakahuri inaka, (whitebait from the Ashley River).
Ryman development manager Tayla Beck said the village would employ around 150 team members including clinical leaders, registered nurses and caregivers as well as kitchen, housekeeping and maintenance and gardening teams.
Ryman villages offer a choice of independent and assisted living options as well as resthome, hospital and dementia care all on one site.
Sales manager Colin Caldwell said there had been a huge amount of interest thanks to Ryman’s 20-year history of providing beautiful homes and the best of care in the Waikato.
“Cambridge will be our 41st retirement village in New Zealand and will build on the great work our teams have done at Hilda Ross and Linda Jones villages in Hamilton over many years.
Ryman villages are named after significant people from the community and naming suggestions for the new village are welcome.
Other names include Sir Edmund Hillary, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major, Possum Bourne, Hilda Ross and Linda Jones.
Harry Wilson with the Ryman Healthcare team on site at Cambridge.