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Ryman News

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Isi’s loyal to Ryman for 15 years…
…and counting!

The year 2018 was a big year for Logan Campbell’s Isileli Uata.

Isi Jan19 1

He celebrated 10 years of marriage to his wife Lisa; he marked 20 years of living in New Zealand since leaving his native Tonga; and on September 24 he notched up 15 years of working for Ryman!

But while he remembered the first two it took a reminder from one of his colleagues that he’d passed the 15 year mark for Ryman.

“I didn’t even realise it had been that long,” he says.

“When I started with Ryman back then I had no idea I would still be here 15 years later.

“I just wanted to make the best of this opportunity.”

That opportunity came for Isi, as he is called by his friends and workmates, after he was originally hired as a contractor on the Ryman village being built in St Heliers, now known as Grace Joel.

His boss at the time, Project Manager Jan MacLeod, liked what she saw and asked him to officially join the Ryman team for the next project being started at Marua Road, later to become the Edmund Hillary retirement village.

Isi started as a hammer hand and carpenter but was soon offered training to get his licence to operate heavy machinery such as telehandlers and diggers.

“I really liked it when I started there,” he says. “Jan really looked after people and she gave me the opportunity to learn something different to what I was doing.”

Having someone put faith in his potential back then was enough to inspire Isi’s loyalty to the company ever since.

After Edmund Hillary was completed he went on to work on Bruce McLaren followed by a brief stint at Possum Bourne before being based at Logan Campbell in Greenlane since 2015.

He admits there have been a few offers from other construction companies over the years.

“Other subcontractors are always trying to take me away but I always say ‘No, I’m happy where I am’.

“I like what I do and I don’t want to move to something else.”

Last year’s big focus on safety really impressed Isi too.

“I don’t know of any other company that has shut down all its construction sites to teach people about safety.

“That is something that I always focus on, to make sure everyone is safe when I do something.

“Everyone has a family and I want to make sure they go home to them safe after work.”

Isi has even bought a few shares to invest in the company to show how much faith he has in what Ryman does.

“I took my wife to the shareholders meeting in Pukekohe and the open days at the village here and she was bloody happy I am working for Ryman, she was really, really proud.

“She won’t let me leave either!” he laughs.

While he awaits word on which site he’ll be working on next, Isi is helping the remaining construction team members to finish off the final bits of work at Greenlane.

Having worked with some of the guys on site for so long, going to work means hanging out with his Ryman family.

“I hope I can stay with the same team on the next site because we work so well together.”

Here’s to the next 15 years Isi!


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Long Road Home brings team together

Ryman supports veterans charity event

Ryman Road Jan19 1

Members of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust

A memorial service to celebrate the end of The Long Road Home charity trek brought a tear to the eye for many involved in the walk, organised to raise awareness for post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI).

The early new year trek from St Arnaud along 110 km of high country station roads ended in Hanmer, on January 12, with a memorial service at Soldier’s Block in the township.

Dozens of onlookers gathered at the block to hear accounts from the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust team that took part in the horse-ride and walk, which left a few horses and humans limping at the end.

They had followed the route taken by soldiers returning from World War I, 100 years ago, but with the benefit of blue sky days and a support team.

Organisers Bernard Shapiro, Murray Hill and Mark Appleton, president of the NZMRT, said the group was also raising funds for people suffering PTSI and included those that had suffered as the result of traumatic events.

Ryman Road Jan19 2

Mark Appleton leads the mounted rifles group.

The memorial was to recognise that both service​ people and civilians face problems with PTSI, Mark told the onlookers.

Military servicemen returning from areas like Afghanistan to the relative calm of New Zealand were “still on edge and looking over their shoulder, it’s a very difficult to transition into the civilian lifestyle”.

There was a wreath laid at the memorial on behalf of Ryman, a sponsor of the trust and its work.

The walk remembers that soldiers returning from WWI were often left to make their own way home.

Many felt abandoned, hopeless and segregated from their fellow Kiwis after witnessing the horrors of war.

Mark said he now wanted to make the trek an annual event.

The trust was also in contact with overseas groups, so the idea of supporting PTSI spread to countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

PTSI continues to impact on the lives of soldiers that have served in arenas including Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Timor and Afghanistan.

“I think there are 800 people a year exiting our current forces … some of those will definitely be suffering from PTSI,” Mark said.

Robert Norman Read, a young Christchurch man and the creator of a fast-growing Suicide awareness and prevention Facebook page, spoke of New Zealand’s need as a country to address both military and civilian sufferers.

Ryman Road Jan19 3

The mounted rifles group at the soldier's block.

Murray Hill, an ex-serviceman and PTSI sufferer, said in the period following WWI many ex-soldiers became marginalised, and some committed suicide with little reportage in newspapers.

“Others continued to struggle on in a living nightmare with the images of their experiences replaying in their heads.”

Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley said the venue for the trek’s conclusion at the Soldiers’ Block at Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer Springs was very fitting.

“This is the only remaining WW1 Soldier Rehabilitation facility with its unique design still remaining.”

The block was built to receive and rehabilitate returning soldiers, often in poor health.

Without doubt many were suffering post traumatic stress injury, known then as shell shock.

Ryman Road Jan19 4

Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association Canterbury president Stan Hansen said the trust members and supporters were doing a great job to bring better awareness to PTSI and suicide prevention.

There was a further need to talk “about this thing and try and figure out what we can do to help”.

“We’ve put that branch out further. We’ve recognised that PTSI is not only a military condition. We’re now looking at our first responders – our fire fighters, ambulance, police, corrections, nurses … and funeral directors. These people are all affected by trauma.”

The National Anthem was sung by Rebecca Nelson, known by many for her singing at village launches, at Gallipoli and for the All Blacks.

The use of horses by the trust fits well with Ryman connection, Mark says.

Whenever the horses and mounted rifle trust team visit retirement villages, the residents love the connection with the friendly animals.

Such connections can help take them back to rural memories from younger years.

“Older people, a lot of them grew up with horses as kids.”

 Ryman Road Jan19 5


Tuesday, 08 January 2019

Deaf Lawn Bowls a drawcard

Ryman supports international competition

Ryman Deaf Bowls Jan19 1

From left, Dennis Herrick, Philippa Johnston and Tony Gorringe enjoy the day.

Many Ryman Healthcare residents would appreciate the exceptional quality of lawn bowls being played down the greens at Burnside in Christchurch this week and note a quiet undercurrent to the competition.

The 8th International Deaf Lawn Bowls Championships are underway at the Burnside Bowling Club.

There is a near silent backdrop to the tournament involving six countries including New Zealand.

International Deaf Bowls Federation president Dennis Herrick is in attendance and says most of the communication that takes place during competition is visual or of course via New Zealand sign language.

Onlookers and participants are signing rather than shouting encouragement to those competing.

The tournament is sponsored by Ryman, which is fitting given that most Ryman villages have a bowling green as a community centrepiece.

Cantabrian Dennis Herrick has got a satisfied smile on his face, while watching the play.

He has spent a lot of time organising the latest international bowls tournament, held every four years for those with hearing impairments.

He says fundraising and sending flurries of emails have been a core part of that work.

Ryman Deaf Bowls Jan19 2

From left, Dennis Herrick, Philippa Johnston and Tony Gorringe.

Burnside Bowling Club president Philippa Johnston says some of the larger mainstream international bowls events previously hosted by the club have sometimes been more rowdy affairs with the men in particularly liking to verbalise while they play.

However, the deaf bowls championships with both male and female contestants have a different edge. Rather than clap they raise their arms and wiggle their fingers to applaud.

Dennis says Ryman came to the party amongst other sponsors allowing the organisers to break even financially on the event. Hosting costs have skyrocketed so the outside sponsorship money is much appreciated, he says.

Dennis, of West Melton says he has been busy but happy since he learned New Zealand won the bid for 2019 at the previous event in Belfast.

Encounters on the greens have led to lasting friendships amongst the players, their friends and supporters.

“We are a deaf family,” Dennis says.

Of course, there is some international rivalry. Scotland is a leading country in terms of performance over the years and other teams are keen to knock the Scots over.

There are high calibre lawn bowlers walking the greens. They range in age from mid-30s through 80 plus. “We – Deaf Bowls New Zealand – have a high standard.

Because most of the players tend to play for hearing clubs, mainstream bowling clubs throughout New Zealand,” Dennis says.

Ryman Deaf Bowls Jan19 3

International bowlers compete at Burnside Bowling Club in Christchurch.

The countries competing include Australia, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales, and there can be slight differences in sign languages established by each country.

Dennis and Australian-based International Deaf Bowls Federation secretary Tony Gorringe say those differences are quickly ironed out as signing is such a visual language.

​​​​There is plenty of good humour and fun times to be had Dennis says.

The players and supporters gather around in the clubrooms to socialise at the end of the day.

There are nearly 100 involved in the event and the players have been on the greens from 9am to 4.30pm each day.

Each country’s team has seven women and seven men.

The players compete in singles, pairs, triples and fours categories.

The championship play finishes on Sunday January 13 with a farewell dinner on Monday.

Some of the story was compiled with the kind help of sign language interpreter Marlene Beale.


Monday, 17 December 2018


Rynz Art Dec18 Small

Ryman supports new exhibitions

On view this summer are some of New Zealand's most important paintings, some not seen publicly in decades. They're being exhibited in Christchurch with the support of Ryman Healthcare.

Read more


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