Latest Ryman news

Welcome wētā, rats rack off!

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on February 12, 2024

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

The Village Workshop dream team Norris Aitken and Dick Fisher have been busy rustling up rat traps for their local conservation group, Pest Free Kapātiki (PFK) who will distribute the traps in reserves in the Birkenhead area.

The duo have got the production down to a fine art, and are ready to start on the next batch after PFK’s Senior Restoration Advisor Fiona Smal recently dropped off another load of fence palings.


But while the rats need to beware, wētā, on the other hand, will find a warm welcome in those same reserves with a fresh batch of wētā hotels also donated to PFK.

Fiona said the hotels make a great home for various species of New Zealand’s distinctive native insect as well as inspiration and interest for children and their families visiting North Shore reserves.

“We are incredibly grateful to Norris and Dick for making both the rat traps and the awesome wētā hotels,” she said.

“The hotels are a helpful way to engage people (especially the grandchildren!) when spotted in our parks, and the rat traps will make a big difference to our work in Kapātiki.”

Fiona added: “We are looking for families who want to join the conservation effort by hosting one of these rat traps in Kapātiki to make their backyard a safe space, and for anyone who is able to help donate wood to Norris and Dick to make more of these fantastic traps!”

IMG_7712_ Edited 3 (Large)

Bert Sutcliffe residents Norris Aitken (left) and Dick Fisher show off their handiwork after making a batch of wētā hotels to help boost the local wētā population in Kaipātiki.

Top pic: Pest Free Kaipātiki's Fiona Smal collects the latest batch of traps and wētā hotels from Norris.

The exchange represents the latest development in the ongoing relationship between Bert Sutcliffe village and PFK following a previous donation of wētā hotels for children taking part in a holiday programme at Shephards Park last October.

For Norris and Dick, who met and became friends after moving into Bert Sutcliffe Village and discovering a shared enjoyment of amateur carpentry, it’s just another great reason to spend time in the village workshop.

As well as churning out traps and wētā hotels, the pair often do repairs of items that residents bring along, the odd favour for the village management such as staining the garden benches, plus regular requests for puzzle boards.

Norris says hanging out in the workshop is not all work and no play either: “Sometimes it’s just a chance to chew the fat and have a catch up with each other over a cuppa or a cold refreshing drink!”

He estimates they might spend around eight hours a week working on their various projects, but this one for PFK is a real win for both sides.

“It’s helping us to do some work and Fiona is thrilled as they struggle to find people who can do the labour so we’re helping them.

“And it’s getting rid of those pests so it’s a win win!”

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.

You may also like:

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...

Rebecca renews her Cambridge connections at Patrick Hogan show

Classical crossover singer Rebecca Nelson told a rapt Cambridge audience how the town holds a special place in her heart...

Bert Sutcliffe residents help kids welcome more wētā

Bert Sutcliffe Retirement Village residents Norris Aitken and Dick Fisher have put their woodworking skills to great use...