Residents affected by the torrential rains hitting the top of the north island have expressed their gratitude to Ryman Healthcare staff who went the extra mile to mitigate the effects of the recent unprecedented weather.
Of the 4000 residents living in Ryman’s Auckland villages, a relatively small number will need carpets and skirting boards replacing, with the village teams taking control of the matter as soon as the rain subsided.
Those affected were offered alternative accommodation within the village with that offer also going out to staff members whose homes suffered in the deluge.
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David and Janice Christian at Murray Halberg Retirement Village were shocked when water started seeping from the corridor into their two bedroom apartment and quickly let the village team know.
“Ryman responded extremely quickly. We were at the forefront of care,” says David.
“Greg (the Village Manager) got here as soon as he could and he was here at the village until about midnight."
Adds Janice: “And Sam the gardener (Sam Rakai, pictured above) came back after his shift had finished and was trying to clear the drains with a rake.”
David and Janice accepted the offer of a stay in a vacant apartment on the top floor of the main building while tradesmen got to work on replacing their carpets and say the delicious meals they’ve been treated to have been a real bonus.
Murray Halberg residents David and Janice Christian enjoying some normality in another apartment in the village while work gets under way on replacing the carpets in their apartment (below).
Says David: “The meals have been wonderful, and that’s taken a bit of pressure off Janice too.”
For many residents, the event has underlined the reasons why they moved into the village in the first place.
Lynne Leaming, who was one of the first residents to move into Murray Halberg, said she felt ‘very, very lucky.’
“Everything has been taken care of, our building insurance has been covered by Ryman, they’ve taken the wet carpet away and they will replace my carpet, it’s been amazing. The staff have been amazing,” she said.
While the team members rallied around to help residents, 35 staff were in need of help themselves.
Other villages hit hard by the record-breaking levels of rain included Evelyn Page in Orewa, the entrance to the village pictured above, and Hobsonville's Keith Park, where staff are pictured below tackling the clean up the next day.
Grace Joel caregiver Sapana KC was alarmed to find water seeping into her Epsom unit. When Sapana and her husband Deepak KC opened the front door, water came rushing in like a waterfall.
“It was so strong I nearly fell over. We had to get out.”
She tried to gather documents and important items but it all happened so quickly they had to leave, wearing only their pyjamas and slippers.
Sapana had sent a video of the water coming in to a friend in Mt Eden who offered to come and pick them up.
Sapana KC, who works at Ryman's Grace Joel village in St Heliers, is camping out at a friend's place until she finds a new place to rent.
“They got to about half way but then they couldn’t drive any more so we walked for about 30 minutes to meet them.”
Sapana let her manager know what had happened and was grateful when she was offered accommodation in the village and whatever time off she needed to get sorted.
“Ryman has been really good. We feel that they’re caring for us and that I’m working for a good company.
“I was offered to stay in a unit at Ryman and my friends say how lucky I am.”
Apart from some of her clothes that were stored on top of a wardrobe, Sapana and Deepak have lost all their possessions and while they had car insurance so have been able to replace their vehicle, they didn’t know about contents insurance.
Nevertheless, Sapana, who left the Dang region of Nepal in 2018 to move to New Zealand, is counting her blessings.
“We are grateful to our good friends who we are staying with and now we are looking for a new place to rent.
“We’re both working so we will manage. As long as we’re alive we can start again.”
Ryman Healthcare has also offered emergency accommodation to any over-70s who have had to move out of their homes due to the flooding.
They are invited to get in touch with their closest Ryman village for more details.