Ngai Tahu mana whenua have blessed the site of Ryman Healthcare's newest retirement village in Christchurch.
The site, located next to the race track at Riccarton Racecourse, will eventually be home to more than 380 residents.
Ngai Tahu mana whenua Maaka Tau and Hippy Reuben yesterday performed a karakia on the site.
Maaka said he was making the Te Reo blessing on behalf of TRONT (Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) and to spread spiritual goodwill around the village setting. “We’re here to complete and partake in the cultural ceremonies of the blessing this morning.
“So, in that process, what we’re really doing is asking for spiritual, physical and mental blessings upon us all – the kaimahi, the workers/builders, the organisers, the developers, for the future residents of the houses/whare and so forth and so on,” Maaka said.
Group Chief Executive Richard Umbers joined with other Rymanians, including members of the development team and the construction team working at the village site, to receive the blessing.
Everyone enjoyed the karakia, and then in turn the team sang Te Aroha.
The village is set against a backdrop of magnificent views of Canterbury’s big skies, with the Southern Alps and Port Hills also visible in the distance.
The Riccarton Park village will eventually offer a full range of retirement living options with care tailored to each resident’s needs.
The village will include apartments for residents living independently as well as care beds and assisted living apartments for residents. Resthome, hospital and dementia-level care options will be provided.
The resort-style amenities in the village will include an indoor swimming pool, spa, gymnasium, hairdressing and beauty salons, movie theatre and library. The bar will adjoin a racecourse viewing lounge.
The village is Ryman’s eighth in the Canterbury region. Ryman has existing villages in Halswell, Rangiora, Mairehau, Halswell, Beckenham, Riccarton, Papanui and Hornby, and has new villages planned for Northwood, north of Belfast, and Park Terrace, near Hagley Park.
As well as providing construction work the village will create long-term jobs for the area. Roles for registered nurses, caregivers, housekeepers, activities & lifestyle co-ordinators and gardeners are coming online as the village is being built.