Possum Bourne has been named the Ryman Healthcare Active Ageing Village of the Year for 2022.
The winning village was announced by Olympian Barbara Kendall who was the special guest speaker at a glitzy high-tech awards ceremony held at Edmund Hillary Retirement Village on Wednesday night.
The medal ceremony, which was also live-streamed into 42 Ryman villages in New Zealand and Australia, was the culmination of four months of regular walking and activity by more than 1,300 Ryman residents who registered for the Walking for Wellness initiative on both sides of the Tasman.
The first three months were spent training before a virtual walk of 60km kicked off for the month of October - of Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand and along Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
Speaking on behalf of the Possum Bourne residents, who were also thrilled by a stretch limo ride to the venue, Activities Coordinator Susan Horan congratulated every resident who had taken part before praising the way the Pukekohe village had embraced the challenge.
“It has been amazing. Our residents are just so competitive! We have had a lot of fun along the way and have really enjoyed doing the Auckland walks with all the other villages. This is for all our residents!” she said as she held up the trophy.
The residents from winning village Possum Bourne (above) after receiving their trophy from guest speaker Barbara Kendall (below).
Earlier, Barbara Kendall had given a great presentation about the benefits of remaining fit and active, and some other tips for life that she had learned.
“When I am active I will always feel better, golden rule. When I have good company around me, preferably doing fun things, I always feel so much better. When I eat well – they say you are what you eat – I always feel better. And think positively. We are lucky to be humans living on this planet right now!”
She gave credit to the residents who stepped outside their comfort zone and took on the challenge of walking 60km in 30 days, just like Rowena Jackson’s Mona Robertson who was invited on stage to talk to MC Jason Gunn about her Walking for Wellness experience.
With a visual impairment, and needing the aid of a stick, the walking was more of a challenge for Mona than for other people.
“It would have been quite easy not to do it but I stuck to my guns and I did it,” she told Jason.
Rowena Jackson's Mona Robertson with MC Jason Gunn, who kept everyone entertained.
Ryman’s Chief Strategy Officer Mary-Anne Stone said: “I think ‘be like Mona’ might become one of our Ryman catchphrases!”
Mary-Anne said the Walking for Wellness initiative followed on from last year’s Olympics@Ryman event and said the response had been fantastic, with 716 residents completing the challenge.
“That translates into a whopping 43,104.7km walked!” she said.
“This event was not only about completing the 60ks in 30 days. It was about breaking barriers, going beyond your usual activity and pushing yourself to do more. Finding your own way to a new level of fitness and wellbeing and hopefully forming some healthy habits for life – and maybe some new friends along the way too.”
Ryman Healthcare’s CEO – New Zealand, Cheyne Chalmers, announced all the individual medal winners in each of the three age categories, giving bronze, silver and gold medals to both men and women in each, plus a team category.
Cheyne said the success of the challenge had instigated a new level of baseline fitness across Ryman villages, with the participation and commitment to regular walking being the core goal.
“The way you all responded, the way you took it to heart and gave it a go has just blown us all away. We’ve been delighted by how well it has gone, and how you have all achieved what you set out to do.
“Two of our villages decided to approach the challenge as a group and commit to walking 2km each day for the whole month. We really think that encapsulates the spirit of the challenge, so a special mention goes to Malvina Major and Essie Summers villages.”
The calculations for village of the year were judged on the percentage of independent residents at each village who completed the challenge, the way the event was used to promote and measure health gain through the percentage of health assessments completed and the number of top 10 placeholders across all categories per village.
Linda Jones boasted a whopping eight placeholders, while Hilda Ross had six, and Possum Bourne had five. Five villages – Edmund Hillary, Kevin Hickman, Logan Campbell, William Sanders and Anthony Wilding had four.
Three residents completed the challenge in two days, one resident completed it in three and another in four.
The eldest resident to complete the challenge was 93-year-old Vic Murray from William Sanders who finished it in 11 days.
Full list of winners:
Age category 65-74 women:
Bronze – Mary Collins from Hilda Ross
Silver – Norma Kerr from Linda Jones
Gold – Noreen Parsons from Linda Jones
Age category 65-74 men:
Bronze – Greg Pringle from John Flynn
Silver – Philip Youens from Edmund Hillary
Gold – Brett Murray from Grace Joel
Age category 75-84 women:
Bronze – Susan Harper from Linda Jones
Silver – Margaret Morrison from Ernest Rutherford
Gold – Irienne Ameye from Anthony Wilding
Age category 75-84 men:
Bronze – Tony Watson from Linda Jones and Eric Cockerton from William Sanders
Silver – Bryan Fraser from Charles Fleming
Gold – Tony Ameye from Anthony Wilding
Age category 85-plus women:
Bronze – Alison Butt from Ngaio Marsh
Silver – Jean Cockell from Edmund Hillary
Gold – Joy Gray from Hilda Ross
Age category 85-plus men:
Bronze – George Henderson from Charles Brownlow
Silver – Rex Hadley from Linda Jones
Gold – Robert Waldron from Woodcote
Bronze – Cambridge Chicks from Linda Jones
Silver – 4TUNE8 from Diana Isaac
Gold – The Seenans from Nellie Melba
Ryman Healthcare Active Ageing Village of the Year 2022 – Possum Bourne Retirement Village