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Keith Park residents congratulate high-vis army

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on October 27, 2023

Residents at Ryman Healthcare’s Keith Park Retirement Village got up early to bake up a storm for the entire 250-strong crew of workers from the construction site yesterday.

The mammoth morning tea was laid on to personally congratulate Project Manager Simon Richards and his team at Hobsonville for winning Ryman’s Construction Site of the Year Award at the 2023 Ryman awards.

Six trestle tables laden with scones, sausage rolls, chocolate cake, lamingtons, and muffins were set out in the shadow of the new village centre, which is set for completion next year.


Village Manager Kim Dawson said she was thrilled with the response from residents when the idea was floated.

“It was just amazing, but this is what our residents are like, they rally together and make the effort,” she said.

Kim addressed the workers who were gathered around the Construction Team of the Year trophy and thanked them all for efforts.

Resident Linda Anderson got out her guitar and sang a song to the high vis army, which was a funny take on various recognisable songs, adapted to suit the occasion, the gist of it being congratulations and thank you very much!

IMG_8609 (1) (Large)

Project Manager Simon Richards and Senior Site Manager Jacques DuPreez with Keith Park residents (top pic); the high-vis army gathers for morning tea (above); and resident Linda Anderson sings a song for the workers, with help from Village Manager Kim Dawson (below).

IMG_8624 (Large)What motivated her to make the effort? “Just gratitude really,” she said. “I’m very grateful for what these guys have done.

“The residents heard the call to all pull together, and that’s what we do here, we work together.

“We have so much respect for the management and all these guys too.”

Fellow resident Suzanne Simpson, who made some cheese scones for the occasion, said it was inspiring to her that they could all do something personally to recognise the construction team’s hard work.

“I’ve seen them out the window, in the hot sun, working hard in their hard hats and boots,” she said.

“They’re all very friendly, and always charming and helpful so I think this is a nice idea, very commendable.”IMG_8644 (Large)

Lining up for a lamington, scone or sausage roll (above); many home-baked choices for morning tea (below).

IMG_8638 (Large)Site Health & Safety Coordinator Nancy Strapp said there had been loads of positive comments from the guys on site.

“I think they really enjoyed being able to come over to the village and see not only what they have accomplished in the build, but also seeing the residents actually living there and enjoying their village and homes.

“It was such a nice gesture from the residents,” she said.

Project Manager Simon Richards agreed: "Initially I thought Kim wanted the Ryman team over for scones but I was very impressed to hear that it was the entire 250 strong site team. And there was more than enough to go round!"

The Keith Park team were cited at the awards ceremony earlier this month for ‘managing multiple construction stages within the tight confines of an active building site and operational village’, with four of the nine apartment blocks already completed and being enjoyed by residents.

“Simon and the Keith Park project team have done an exceptional job, not even record-setting Auckland rainfall could dampen the commitment of the team at Keith Park,” their nomination read.

Presenting Simon with the award was Group Chief Executive Richard Umbers, who said: “The construction teams have worked under enormous pressure in the past year and every development has been spectacular, but there can only be one winner and that winner is Keith Park!”0P6A5012 large

Simon receives his award from Ryman Group CEO Richard Umbers on awards night (above); delivering a heartfelt thank you speech with support from Village Manager Kim Dawson and Sales Advisor Carolyn Macdonell (below).

Screenshot Simon, Carolyn and KimSimon, supported on stage by Kim and Sales Advisor Carolyn Macdonell, said it was his privilege to accept the award on behalf of the team, and made comparisons between them and a rugby team.

“Those guys have worked through thick and thin, we’ve managed to overcome so much over the past year.

“Our team is made up of about 200 years of experience, and they’ve come from all over the world and they’ve managed to produce something that I think Kim and Carolyn are very happy with."

Referring to the wider support from other Ryman teams, including admin, design, procurement, accounts, recruitment, finance, safety, QA, commercial sales, ops and development he added: “I think if you look at Keith Park as the front row, the hooker and the props and everybody else is the locks, the flanks, and obviously we have captains – Chris, Paul, our previous Regional Construction Manager Tom Farrell and our new leader, thank you to Matt Bell, I think you’re an awesome leader.”

Finally, he ended his speech with a reference to an email Carolyn had sent him describing the tears of joy, amazement and wonder experienced by the newest residents to arrive at the village who described the ‘new lease on life’ they were looking forward to after moving into their beautiful new apartment.

“It’s the why," he said. "It’s why we do what we do every day."

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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