Geoff and Robyn Hickman know they share the name of Ryman’s co-founder Kevin Hickman and while they don’t think there’s a family connection, the association is certainly appealing!
“As far as I know there’s no relationship with Kevin Hickman. But I don’t mind if people think there is!” he grins, with a twinkle in his eye.
The Hickmans have certainly done their homework on the retirement offerings in Auckland. They started looking at villages about three years ago, and checked out all the major providers.
- New Hobsonville village named in honour of Sir Keith Park
- Three former airmen land as next door neighbours
As they were living in St Heliers at the time they thought Edmund Hillary would be the natural choice, but then a chance visit with their daughter-in-law to Hobsonville led them down a different track.
“As an interim measure we decided to buy a house here in Whenuapai thinking we might catch the housing market by selling.
“Then while we were here we heard Ryman was intending to build so we went along to the meeting and we thought it looked very attractive,” says Geoff.
Adds Robyn: “We liked the idea of everyone moving in and learning together in the new village.”
Other appealing points included the shops at the top of Scott Road and having the range of care options on site.
Geoff says on broaching the subject with their family, the couple’s two sons had suggested they just get home help when they needed it, but that idea didn’t appeal.
“We like the area and we feel better to move in while we’re mobile and can make our own decisions and we like the idea of Ryman having hospital facilities on site, and dementia care. Those things you don’t think about 20 years before!”
Through Geoff’s work as an Anglican vicar the couple have lived in various places around the North Island, including Panmure, Takapuna, Kamo in Whangarei, Parnell and Taupo with Robyn working as a librarian in various different settings.
And it was a church youth group in Mission Bay that originally brought the two of them together with both their families living in the Eastern Bays.
But the west of Auckland has proved to have a strong pull, with their first marital home being in Titirangi.
Geoff recalls a historical moment in 1965 before they got married when his mother took them to Fiji to see how well they got on.
“We flew out of Whenuapai and by the time we came back two weeks later we landed at the new Mangere airport which had just opened!”
They’ve loved travelling ever since and still have very fond memories of a year long stint they did in Reading, England in 1975 when their boys were young.
“It was the most beautiful summer but it snowed the day we arrived in March!” laughs Geoff. “We love it in England and have been back a dozen times since.”
While travelling is on hold at the moment, they are looking forward to spending time with their two sons, who have returned to New Zealand after living overseas, and enjoying their other interests in the village.
Says Robyn: “I enjoy embroidery, sewing and drawing, cooking, photography and reading.”
Adds Geoff: “I do a bit of carpentry and listen to semi-classical music and we both enjoy walking and observing what’s going on around us.
“And we’re both looking forward to meeting new people, it’s fascinating learning about people’s lives.”