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MEDIA RELEASE April 20, 2017

Ryman residents and staff dig deep for Kaikoura

$22,000 raised for earthquake relief

Ryman residents and staff have raised $22,000 for Kaikoura – which is good news for the earthquake-devastated region’s little blue penguins.

The coastal town bore the brunt of the November 2016 earthquakes, leaving the settlement cut off by road and without essential supplies including water, sewerage and power.

Ryman’s villages have done their bit to help, raising $11,000 through a variety of fundraising events. Ryman has matched their fundraising efforts dollar-for-dollar to take the total to $22,000.

Kaikoura District Mayor Winston Gray said the plan was to use the money to help restore the little blue penguin colony habitat at South Bay and to repair the town’s Cenotaph, which was damaged in the quakes.

“A lot of the infrastructure is insured but we have plenty of other projects on the go that we don’t have funding for – this will be a big help.’’

Winston said he had been amazed by the amount raised.

“When I was told how much it was I was just blown away. I thought it would be a little bit – that was a really pleasant surprise. It will mean a lot to the people of Kaikoura.’’

The penguin colony has been struggling since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake lifted the seabed around Kaikoura, leaving them partially stranded. The money will restore their walkways down to the ocean.

Gordon MacLeod, Ryman Healthcare’s Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, said it was a pleasure to help.

“We’re a Christchurch company so we know all the challenges that Kaikoura faces, and it is great to see the progress that’s being made with the recovery. We’re particularly delighted to be helping with the Centotaph repairs and to rebuild the penguin colony, they’re both projects that will appeal to our residents and staff.’’

The donation was handed over to Winston Gray at a special morning tea at Charles Upham Retirement Village in Rangiora, which is the closest Ryman village to the epicentre of the quake.

The village is home to former Kaikoura residents Margaret Hislop and Julie Jack, who were delighted to see the money go to their old hometown.

Margaret moved after the earthquake, saying it was the "big nudge'' she needed to move.

"I like it here but I wish you would build a Ryman village in Kaikoura,'' she said.

Also pleased was Matt Smith, Project Manager at the village, who is a Kaikoura local.

About Ryman: Ryman Healthcare was founded in Christchurch in 1984 and owns and operates 31 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia. Ryman villages are home to 10,000 residents, and the company employs 4500 staff.

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