From the self-described ‘lippy suburban mother of two’ to the Dark Destroyer from TV’s The Chase, Ryman Healthcare has been recruiting a range of well-known personalities to keep residents entertained during the long days of lockdown.
Hilary Barry and Shaun Wallace were popular viewing for tech-savvy residents looking for some variety in the early days of the restrictions being put in place.
Hilary shared some of the most memorable moments from her career and what she thought her most important role in society was, to more than 300 residents who watched on.
Other speakers in the first week were Gordon Russell, head winemaker at Hawke’s Bay winery Esk Valley, and singer/songwriter Andrew London, who performed a ’lockdown special’ for residents during their usual Friday Happy Hour.
Week two guest speakers included celebrity chef Simon Gault and Brett McGregor, who issued a cooking challenge to participants. On the Friday Dark Destroyer Shaun Wallace hosted a happy hour quiz – which was won by residents Maxilyn and Robert Tudman from William Sanders.
They credit their exceptional quizzing skills to over 600 nights spent on cruise ships around the world.
“Onboard we would take part in two quizzes every sea day. We make a note of all the questions that we don’t know, and we learn them,” said Maxilyn.
Other zoom speakers have included Dr Denise Quinlan from the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, Professor Michael Baker, Peta Mathias, Suzanne Paul, and David Lomas. Not to mention Happy Hour with Two's Company, a Glenfiddich Whiskey workshop, and an art class with Kimbra.
There have also been wellness workshops on sleep, meditation, and exercise and movement.
Links are circulated with instructions explaining how to tune in via Zoom, with residents loving the fact they can ask questions directly to the speakers as well.
Lepa Wyatt, a resident from Bert Sutcliffe, had one of the highest participation rates saying Peta Mathias was her favourite speaker.
“I enjoyed her talk. She’s a very clever lady with great fashion and clothes. The topics she talked about were relevant and enjoyable for me.
“I also tuned in to the Glenfiddich Whiskey workshop. I’m a whiskey drinker so I found that very interesting and they were very knowledgeable. Michael Baker was great too!
“Ryman is doing a fantastic job of looking after us and bringing all these wonderful zoom speakers to us. I have been very entertained, and all the topics were great for me.
“Perhaps the most important thing of all though, it’s taught me how to use zoom! Before lockdown I had only used it a handful of times and I wasn’t that confident. Now I can log on with ease and use it time and time again.”
Another resident racking up the views was Richard Ward from Edmund Hillary. Having spent more than 50 years in the food and wine industry himself he said the recent Ryman zoom speaker series topics were relevant to him and it was a series that he enjoyed.
“I’m interested in food and wine particularly as we own a vineyard in the family, so listening to Simon Gault and Gordon Russell were most interesting ones for me.
“I would have also loved to do the Glenfiddich Whiskey one too if I had had the time!
“It’s fantastic that Ryman is doing this for us. The zoom speaker series has been very relevant and interesting for me. More please!”
The virtual events have proven so popular amongst our residents, with some wonderful feedback, which has prompted us to continue to offer a range of virtual events to our residents, even when life returns to normal!