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Ryman News

Monday, 23 April 2018

Brian's Boer War connection

Resident’s older dad was a young fighter in South Africa


The month of April is a time of remembrance predominantly for New Zealanders and Australians who fought in World Wars I and II.

But for Brian Wood of Evelyn Page retirement village, it’s a time when he remembers his father Sid and the twists and turns of history and circumstance that in turn have directed his own life.

Sid was born Samuel Nathan in 1879 in London and moved to South Africa as a young child. When he was just a teenager he enlisted in the army, and ended up fighting in the Zulu Wars (1879-1896) and then the second Boer War which ran from 1899-1902.

“Dad was a runner at the age of 14, running messages between camps,” says Brian (85).

“He got a medal back in London in 1903 for his participation.

“The fact that he was born way back then, which is when most people my age say their grandparents were born, means I have kind of missed a generation. He was 53 when I was born.

“I don’t believe there’s anyone else in Australasia who can say their dad fought in the Boer War."


Brian's Dad Samuel Nathan changed his name to Sidney Wood before he moved to New Zealand

Brian’s nephew has kept the medals, but the fact they are in the name of Samuel Nathan, not Sidney Wood, is what piqued the interest of Brian’s wife Leonie, who is somewhat of an amateur genealogist.

They learned that by the time Samuel arrived in New Zealand in 1908 aged 29 he had changed his name.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure why, we’ve lost about five years,” says Brian. “But with the Jewish name we assume it’s due to the Jews getting persecuted and the timing that that’s why he changed his name.”

His father settled in Morningside in Auckland and married Jennet Main before joining the NZ Army in 1915.

He was posted overseas in July 1918 and was finally discharged in November 1919 after which he worked as a postman earning five pounds a week for many years until he retired.

While Samuel had stayed on in South Africa with his father Michael as a child, his mother Charlotte (nee Levy) and three siblings returned to London.

Michael had then had a relationship with a Frances Montague and went on to have three sons with her.

“We went to the national library in South Africa to try and track down my grandfather’s partner and we tracked down their house just outside Capetown. Back in those years it was a predominantly black area,” says Brian, who admits he was intrigued at the discovery.

Unfortunately, the records ended there and to date Brian hasn’t found a contact for his three half-uncles or their offspring - yet.

The couple did meet up with the grandson of Michael’s son (and Brian’s uncle) Philip, in London at the pub that Brian’s grandmother used to run. Tony Nathan, who is in his 70s, is Brian’s first cousin once removed.

The Jewish connection has been of great interest to Brian’s son who is married to a Jewish woman and has lived in New York for 30 years.

As the youngest of five siblings, and three of them only dying two years ago at the grand old ages of 102, 96 and 94, Brian has begun to reflect more on the past.


Brian (left) with his mother and two of his brothers

Brian remembers his father to be fairly distant, with the age gap playing a big part in that.

“Because of the age of my parents I have always had to do things for myself. We had nothing growing up, I don’t remember ever receiving any birthday or Christmas presents.”

This spurred Brian on to leave school at the age of 15 where his entrepreneurial flair soon emerged, delivering newspapers and groceries to make a few shillings.

“I would get a bag of offcuts from the sawmill, put them on my trolley and then sell them for three shillings.”

Later, Brian ended up selling British steel for many years and with Leonie built up a successful business and they are now very happy to be enjoying retirement at Evelyn Page.

As he looks around his beautiful three-bedroom apartment at the Orewa village he is still slightly incredulous at the achievement.

“To have all this, I still have to pinch myself, because it is so far removed from my life back then.”


Wednesday, 18 April 2018


Royal Happy Birthday for Margaret Stoddart village

Christchurch village celebrates 25 years

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A surprise royal visitor made a very special appearance to mark Margaret Stoddart’s 25th anniversary.

Resident Joe Peri had just finished performing a beautiful karakia to get the celebrations under way when the band struck up God Save the Queen to herald the arrival of a special gatecrasher.

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Her Majesty the Queen – aka townhouse resident Veronica Shepherd – made a surprise guest appearance and revealed the startling news that her royal highness and the Duke of Edinburgh were considering a move to Margaret Stoddart.

“Buckingham Place and Windsor Castle have got a bit too much for Philip and I. Like a lot of you, we have been thinking of downsizing and we can think of no better village than Margaret Stoddart. We’ve heard there are two townhouses available – one for us and one for our servants – but we’re worried about putting the corgis in quarantine.’’

Unfortunately, Her Majesty was unable to stay for a cup of tea, cake and oysters because she had to jet back to London for an important meeting.

“I’m seeing your Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tomorrow so I’ve got to get back. My very best wishes and congratulations on your 25th anniversary.’’

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The Queen joined with Ryman Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod and Chief Operations Officer Barbara Reynen-Rose for a special afternoon tea celebration for the village.

Margaret Stoddart was opened in 1993 and was named in honour of the talented Canterbury painter.

Staff dressed in Victorian outfits in honour of the village’s namesake, and residents Janet Emeleus and Audrey Burton took the theme to heart by dressing as Margaret Stoddart and her mother Anna.

Gordon said Margaret Stoddart village would always hold a special place in his heart – it was his Nana’s home for six years.

She lived in a townhouse before moving to the resthome, and visiting Margaret Stoddart was Gordon’s first contact with Ryman Healthcare.

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Long serving staff members Anita Chapman, Jeni Keogh and Beck Little had looked after Gordon’s Nana, and he thanked them for their long service to the village’s residents.

“Margaret Stoddart is a special place and will always be special to me,’’ Gordon said.

“This village has provided comfort and joy and many special occasions for thousands of Christchurch residents. As a company we are incredibly proud of the contribution you have all made to so many lives, and will continue to make for the next 25 years or more.’’

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Manager Merrin Jack made special mention of Margaret Stoddart’s many superstars.

Sandra Adamson, the village’s hairdresser, was acknowledged for her 25 years of service.

She has been cutting hair at Margaret Stoddart since it opened.

“I love it here – I love the residents,’’ Sandra said. “I guess I wouldn’t have been here for 25 years if I didn’t like it,’’ she said.

There was a special bouquet for Joyce Walker, a townhouse resident for 15 years and a keen gardening volunteer.

Merrin also acknowledged Marie Edwards – a former staff member who liked Margaret Stoddart so much she moved in and is now a resident.

Winnie Winstanley and Bruce Boon were also acknowledged for their time at the village.

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 over 10,500 residents, and the company employs over 4,700 staff.

For media information or images contact David King, Corporate Affairs Manager, on 021 499 602 (+64 21 499 602) or email david.king@rymanhealthcare.com.


Monday, 16 April 2018

Media release

Entries open for the NZ$250,000 Ryman Prize

Richest prize of its kind to reward the best work in the world for older people

Web Peter St George Hyslop

2017 Ryman Prize winner, Professor Peter St George-Hyslop

The search is on for the best work in the world that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

Entries are now open for the 2018 Ryman Prize, the only award of its kind which is targeted at the health of older people.

The prize winner is selected by an international jury and entry is open to the brightest and best engineers, thinkers, scientists, clinicians or inventors anywhere in the world.

The prize will go to the best discovery, invention, medical advance, idea or initiative anywhere on earth that enhances quality of life for older people.

The Ryman Prize has been awarded three times since its launch in 2015.

Last year’s winner was Professor Peter St George-Hyslop, who was delighted to be recognised for his more than 30 years of research into neuro-degenerative diseases.

Professor Peter St George-Hyslop leads research teams at Cambridge in the United Kingdom and the University of Toronto in Canada.

His research work has focused on discovering the key genes and proteins that cause cells to degenerate, causing early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Professor St George-Hyslop said he was delighted for two reasons.

“At a personal level, it is obviously thrilling to have one’s professional work and the work of one's colleagues publicly recognised.

However, there is a much larger importance to this prize. It signifies a sea-change in how society perceives disorders affecting the health and well-being of their older members.

It signals a growing understanding of the urgency of getting to grips with these increasingly common, devastating conditions that impact not only those individuals affected by them, but also their family and their caregivers, and the state in which they live.’’

The 2016 prize went to Professor Henry Brodaty, a leading Alzheimer’s researcher, and in 2015 the award went to Gabi Hollows, the founding director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, who was recognised for her work to help restore sight to more than a million people.

Ryman Prize director David King is expecting a large number of entries from all around the world for the 2018 prize.

“The aim of the prize is to reward great work so we’re looking forward to seeing what innovations come forward this year. We also hope that the idea of winning the prize will mean that a whole lot of people out there with great ideas to help older people will put them into action.’’

“We are now entering the greatest period of demographic change the world has ever seen. As the number of people aged 75+ in the world grows, so too do the issues they face. People are living longer and their health needs are becoming more complex. We hope the prize will help address these issues.’’

The prize could go to an initiative or invention as simple as a new walking cane or mobility device, or as complex as a medical advance. In Peter’s case, it was for more than 30 years of dedicated work into diseases of old age.

While there are plenty of prizes for medicine, there are none specifically aimed at the area of the health of older people. The Ryman Prize, which is modelled on the Nobel Prize for medicine and the Pritzker Prize, aims to fill that gap.

Entry forms for the 2018 Ryman Prize are available at www.rymanprize.com. Entries close at midnight on Friday, August 31, 2018.

About the Ryman Prize:

The Ryman Prize is administered by the Ryman Foundation. The annual prize consists of a $250,000 grant which is awarded to the best invention, idea, research concept or initiative that has enhanced quality of life for older people.

The Ryman Prize is awarded in New Zealand but is open to anyone, anywhere in the world with a bright idea.

The prize is a philanthropic initiative aimed at improving the lot of those over 75 years of age. In Western countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, this is a significant demographic, which is set to more than double over the next 30 years. The rapid ageing of the population will be even more pronounced in the developing world.

The Ryman Prize jury includes:
Professor Brian Draper, Conjoint Professor in the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.
Professor Sarah Harper, Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing.
Professor Tim Wilkinson, consulting geriatrician and Associate Dean of Medical Education, Otago School of Medicine.
Dr Naoko Muramatsu, health and ageing research specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Professor Erwin Neher, Nobel Laureate and Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany. Dr Neher is a biophysicist who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1991.
Dr David Kerr, Ryman Healthcare Chairman, Fellow and Past President of the New Zealand Medical Association, Fellow with Distinction of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

Media advisory:
For interviews or further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Ryman Prize director David King on 03 366 4069 (00643 3664069) or 021 499 602 (006421 499 6902) david.king@rymanhealthcare.com.



Thursday, 08 March 2018

Brandon Park retirement village named after Dame Nellie Melba


From left: Victoria Regional Sales and Community Relations Manager Robert Taylor, Melba Opera Trust General Manager Amy Black, Debbie, Dale and Michelle.

The operatic icon borrowed her stage name from Melbourne, now she’s lending it back

Dame Nellie Melba’s face graces the Australian $100 note, and now her name will be forever fixed to Ryman Healthcare’s new $200m retirement village in Brandon Park.

More than 200 people attended the unveiling of the new village’s name at the Mulgrave Country Club today.

Ryman Healthcare names all its retirement villages after exceptional people. Its first Melbourne village, opened in Wheelers Hill in 2014, was named in honour of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.

Ryman Healthcare Group Sales and Community Relations Manager Debbie McClure said she was delighted the company’s newest village would bear the name of such an influential Australian.

“Dame Nellie was an international opera superstar, but had so much affection for Melbourne she chose a stage name that paid homage to her hometown.

“To now have that name forever attached to a village community that will care for thousands of Melburnians is a wonderful way to honour her legacy.”

Ms McClure said Ryman Healthcare has forged an ongoing relationship with the Melba Opera Trust, which is Australia’s premier scholarship program for promising young opera singers.

General Manager of the Melba Opera Trust, Amy Black, said: “Melba had a fierce sense of community and was very generous in supporting worthy causes.

“Through our new partnership, this exciting initiative champions Melba’s values and will support the scholarship that was established by Dame Nellie Melba 87 years ago and continues today through the Melba Opera Trust.

“Residents of the village can look forward to regular performances from our exceptional young opera singers,” Mrs Black said.

The Nellie Melba village will include two and three-bedroom independent townhouses, apartments and an aged care centre. The aged care centre will include rest home, specialist dementia as well as hospital-level care.

The resort-style amenities will include a gym, a bowling green, a hairdressing salon, a chapel, a movie theatre, a bar, a cafe and an indoor swimming pool.

The Nellie Melba village will be home to more than 600 people, with the first residents due to move in in July. It will create more than 200 jobs, pumping millions of dollars into the local community.


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