Ngai Tahu mana whenua have blessed the site of Ryman Healthcare's latest retirement village in Christchurch in a heartfelt ceremony.
Initial construction work on the Northwood site, located on Main North Road near the Northwood Supa Centa, has been ground based. Building will now ramp up in the remainder of 2022 and into 2023, as the distractions from COVID-19 fall away.
Ryman’s Northwood village will eventually be home to a community more than 300 residents.
Ngai Tahu mana whenua Maaka Tau today performed a warming karakia on the site.
Maaka said he was making the Te Reo blessing on behalf of TRONT (Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) and the Christchurch rūnanga Ngāi Tūāhuriri to spread spiritual goodwill around the village setting.
Group Chief Executive Richard Umbers welcomed everyone to the Northwood site, then joined with other Rymanians, including members of the development team and construction teams, to receive the blessing. “It’s hugely important that every village in every community for us, gets the right start.
“So I’m delighted to welcome Maaka Tau from Ngāi Tūāhuriri.”
Maaka offered a prayer for the new site, and thanked those at the ceremony for the opportunity to offer a blessing on behalf of his hapu and the kaumatua. “We’re also asking for spiritual, emotional and physical blessings on all the workers here.”
Everyone enjoyed the karakia, and then in turn the team and visitors sang the waita Te Aroha.
Richard answered by saying a thank you to the runanga members for their thoughts and that Ryman looked forward to a village that would be a partnership with the community. “Thanks for your blessings and prayers for the safety and wellbeing of the people who will build, work and live here on this site.
“We are humbled to acknowledge the history and the Manu Whenua you have over this area – Purarekanui,” Richard added.
The village is located on the border of the suburbs of Belfast and Northwood, and provides a natural gateway to North Canterbury as well as back into the city. Richard said it was a beautiful place to build a village that the whole area could be proud of.
The village will offer magnificent views of Canterbury’s big skies, and is within a short distance of the Styx River, with the Port Hills visible in the distance.
“It will be a place about people. It will create hundreds of jobs as a construction project and then in the future as an operating village,” Richard said.
“We see it as our privilege to be able to look after the older people of Otautahi.”
The Northwood 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 village is Ryman’s ninth in the Canterbury region. Ryman has existing villages in Halswell, Rangiora, Mairehau, Halswell, Beckenham, Riccarton Park, Papanui and Hornby. Ryman also has another village planned for 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.