Latest Ryman news

Swapping the beach for River Road

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on June 04, 2019

Kathryn and Rex cruise to Hamilton for family


After five years of living the life in the beach resort of Orewa, Kathryn and Rex are looking forward to a change of scene beside the mighty Waikato River.

While they loved being beachside and spending time with their youngest grandchildren, the couple says it’s time to share the love and hang out more with their family in the Waikato.

Their brand new home in Ryman’s River Road village in Flagstaff will be just a short distance from Kathryn’s daughter in Rototuna.

“I’m looking forward to having a bit more hands-on time with the teenage grandchildren,” says Kathryn.

“They’re at the age now where they can bike round to Nana and Pops.”

The two semi-retired teachers, who met while both working at Auckland’s Mt Albert Grammar School, have six children between them and always delight in thinking of fun things to do with the grandchildren when they come to stay.

“Rex sets up a room with activities for them to do and then we all bunk down in the lounge together overnight,” says Kathryn.

“It’s been wonderful investing in their lives and we feel very fortunate.”

While it was time with the children and grandchildren that influenced the move to Hamilton, it was because of their parents that they decided to move into a retirement village.

Both Kathryn and Rex had had to move their parents into rest homes and didn’t want to put their own children in that position.

“We thought we would make the move so that way the kids don’t have to worry about it. We don’t want to be a burden on them.”

And the seal of approval came from another family member - Kathryn’s brother, who acts as their lawyer.

“He knocked our socks off really because he was so positive about it. He said you’re buying something intangible. So that was a wonderful affirmation,” Kathryn says.

Once the decision was made that was it. The couple became two of the first people to sign a contract for the new village.

“It was just a paddock at that stage, so it was very early on,” says Kathryn.

As they get ready for the big move the couple will be winding down their lives in Orewa – Rex works part time doing financial mentoring through the Salvation Army while Kathryn does a few days relief teaching at the local high school.

“We all need significance and meaning and we’re both keen to contribute and get involved in the community. I’m thinking about becoming a life coach,” says Kathryn.

“And then there’s our church activities,” adds Rex. “Our faith is important in our lives.”

The other attraction of the Waikato, says the couple, is the country roads which are crying out for them to explore on Rex’s Honda Shadow cruiser motorbike.

“I don’t want him to sell it, we’ve had so many amazing holidays on it,” says Kathryn. “We’ve been down the eastern seaboard of Australia to Port Arthur, and the best holiday was five weeks touring around the South Island in 2008.”

Just the mention of the bike puts a huge smile on Rex’s face, as he visualises his life in a few months’ time.

“Just imagine it now, it’s a beautiful spring day, you wake up and say ‘let’s go to Matamata for a coffee….’ It’ll be bliss!”

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact our media team on

You may also like:

Residents ‘dig’ Ryman’s Trees for Fees initiative

With 500 trees now newly-planted on a slope in a Whitford farm paddock, Ryman Healthcare is well on the way to fulfillin...

Keith Park residents keep kids safe at road crossing

A group of residents from Ryman Healthcare’s Keith Park Retirement Village in Hobsonville is taking action to help prima...

Welcome wētā, rats rack off!

Watch out rats of the North Shore! Your time is up, thanks to two industrious residents from Ryman Healthcare’s Bert Sut...