Jennie and Roger Williams, the first ever residents of Ryman’s latest retirement village in Northwood, Christchurch say they are enjoying their brand-new townhouse. They’ve already started living the dream by having two granddaughters for a sleep over.
The granddaughters’ sleepover just happened to be on the first two nights that Jennie and Roger were settling in, amidst the boxes, to their townhouse at the village that now has asphalted roads and driveways – giving it real sense of permanence.
Northwood is the ninth Ryman village in the Christchurch region, and while Jennie and Roger are the first, the village has also seen two other couples move in on the first week, says Sales Advisor Sharyn Wilson.
Jennie and Roger say their reception into the village by Sharyn and other Ryman team members couldn’t have been better, and that they chose a two-bedroom home with Ryman because of its reputation.
Asked about the welcome, Roger says: “Overwhelming I’d say... they just haven’t come in and sorted out our (moving) boxes yet,” he jokes.
“Everyone’s been brilliant,” Jennie adds.
They’re excited that they can both continue their outside of village engagement with friends and the wider community, and that they can help start a new community within the village. They’ve already met 20-30 new Northwood residents at social events and are looking forward to regular village happy hours. In terms of looking after the grandchildren, Roger says he’s walked them to school this morning.
Roger, originally from Kaiapoi, and Jennie, from Adelaide, first met in their 20s. Roger was on part of his OE, returning from Western Australia towards the eastern seaboard on the Indian Pacific train when he met South Australian Jennie on a section of the Perth to Sydney journey.
He returned home to Canterbury, and the pair kept up their relationship with written letters and frequent telephone calls. After 18 months Jennie moved to New Zealand where the couple married and started a family.
Roger had a long rep-based sales and advisory career with rural supplier PGG Wrightson, meaning he and Jennie spent some time living rurally. The couple brought up their children in their Bishopdale family home.
As the children grew older the coupled eventually downsized, before deciding to look at retirement village options. The location and friendly welcome at Northwood has been key, Roger says. “When I saw the fence signs go up at the village, I said that could be a pretty good place to be. We’re thinking ahead now – there’s buses going past, all the shopping there, the supermarket also.”
Gardening will not be a priority for the couple. They are happy for the Ryman gardeners to take care of that. Jennie says she will continue to play golf and petanque, while Roger enjoys his part time work, Uber driving.
Sharyn says the multiple move-ins taking place across the village has been a wonderful process to be involved in. “I’ve absolutely loved it.”
Roger says he feels while there are lots of retirement options, Ryman is top of the pile. “We definitely like their fixed weekly fee. You know where you are.”
“We are grateful to have this opportunity to share another new adventure together.”