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Pioneering is part of who we are

Essie Summers (1912-1988)

Pioneering is part of who we are. That’s why each Ryman village is named after a Kiwi or Aussie trailblazer. Anthony Wilding, Lady Diana Isaac, Evelyn Page to name a few. They lived with passion and purpose, they pushed further, they went beyond the ordinary. That’s exactly what we strive to do every day at Ryman. To pioneer a new way of living, for a new retirement generation.

Essie Summers stories have been relished for more than forty years. Summers, known as New Zealand’s Queen of Romance, sold more than 19 million copies of her romance novels in 105 countries.

Her vivid descriptions of the landscapes and people of New Zealand led to her being awarded The Order of the British Empire for her contributions to tourism in New Zealand.

Resilient in the face of adversity, Summers had been writing for a decade before her work was first published. A career of short stories, poetry, and newspaper columns ensued until her first novel was published by Mills & Boon in 1957.

Summers met her husband at the age of 13 but waited another 13 years until she agreed to marry him. She divided her time between her duties as a minister’s wife, their two children, and her writing.

The heroines depicted in her books share her pioneering traits; they’re brave, caring, intelligent, and continue to work after marriage which was uncommon at the time. Meanwhile, the heroes are never violent. While not considered a feminist in her time, her work is now categorised as both feminist and pacifist.

The Essie Summers Story autobiography depicts her life and was published in 1974 by Mills & Boon.