Latest Ryman news

Warren’s bus shelter mission finally succeeds

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on April 04, 2024

A six-year campaign to get a bus shelter installed on a busy Auckland road has finally come to fruition - and it’s all thanks to the one-man mission of Edmund Hillary Retirement Village resident Warren Barrett. 

It was no mean feat, with the 88-year-old retired engineer collecting hundreds of petition signatures from fellow village residents and writing dozens of emails to 80 different people at Auckland Transport over that time. 

“I just wouldn’t let it go,” he grins.  

“Most people would have given up I suppose. I had nothing else better to do!” he laughs. 

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Auckland Councillor Josephine Bartley, who helped to get it across the line, has praised Warren for his persistence: “It’s been a long process of consultation, budgets, changes at Auckland Transport and new priorities, but it was that consistent advocacy from Warren that pushed me to keep pushing Auckland Transport. 

“And the persistence paid off!” she says. 

Warren says originally all he was after was a shelter for the bus stop and a pedestrian refuge halfway across busy Marua Road, which can be accessed from the rear entrance to the village.  

This would help the slower-walking residents from the village to get across safely and then have somewhere to shelter from the rain while they waited for a bus. 

“A lot of us used to use the shelter on this side but originally it was only two or three cars an hour, now it’s two or three cars a second, and they’re going quite fast,” he says. 

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Warren Barrett with Auckland Councillor Josephine Bartley pictured on both sides of the crossing - above on the village side and below on the side of the new bus shelter with the village in the background.

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To see if there was wider support, he canvassed the residents in the village, dropping leaflets in over 300 mailboxes. 

“I received 264 signatures from people saying it was a good idea. 

“If you think about it, there are over 600 residents plus staff, that could be up to 1000 people.” 

Throughout the six years, there were occasions when Warren thought something was about to happen. 

“I had umpteen promises, I even had someone tell me it had been done and I had to email them back and say nothing had been done!” 

Warren invited Councillor Bartley along to take a look, and she immediately saw what a tricky road it was to cross. 

When work finally began at the end of 2023, he was surprised to see not just a bus shelter being installed but the road was being dug up for a pedestrian crossing too. 

“I couldn’t believe it. The next thing there were big trenches and traffic light poles being installed!” 

Cllr Bartley says it was a valid case: “Auckland Transport has a policy that when they have bus shelters they have a signalled crossing as well,” she says. 

“When Warren showed me how long it takes for people to cross the road, well, in this case it’s warranted.” 

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Warren, seen here in the brand new bus shelter on Marua Road, says he feels like 'the cat that got the cream' now that his six-year mission has finally been realised and (below) with Cllr Bartley on the busy road with the new traffic lights and crossing behind.

IMG_9907 (Large) 1Warren believes many surrounding businesses have no idea there’s a retirement village backing onto Marua Road as the main entrance is on Abbotts Way.  

Parents walking their children to the nearby school have since expressed their gratitude for the crossing, thankful that they can now get them across the road safely. 

“What I have noticed is that the traffic has slowed down dramatically, even if you stand there ready to press the button, they stop for you,” Warren says. 

Fellow Edmund Hillary resident, Joan Swift, says the fact it is a raised crossing is a bonus for residents especially those using walkers, sticks or wheelchairs as it means they can continue smoothly across the road from the pavement. 

Warren says he feels ‘like the cat that finally got the cream’ to see his six-year crusade finally realised – with all the bells and whistles, or in this case, lights! 

“I’m very pleased. The other day I went to Bunnings, and from leaving the village, to crossing the road and getting on the bus and coming back again it took just 17 minutes! 

Edmund Hillary Village Manager Grant Costello praised Warren for his marathon effort: “I take my hat off to Warren for his tenacity. He had a goal to improve travel options for our residents who no longer drive or who simply prefer to use public transport and he has achieved it. I heartily congratulate him for that!” 

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 Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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