Summerset in the Orchard – Allan den Boer

This is Erica Tenquist, Summerset Village in the Orchard. Interviewed Allan den Boer last week about what the villages actually do.

Okay, so we were talking about Summerset’s commitment to the extension, and I just think it’s amazing that they’ve done it, to be fair. I know Dave and I have often sat there shaking our heads in disbelief because they didn’t have to, is the reality. So I think as a company it’s a fantastic commitment to its residents and it will change and improve the life of the residents, which is great. But I still think it’s a surprise, to be fair.

They’re spending … half a million dollars it’s going to cost to build this extension now, with the way that everything is in the building trade these days – with health and safety and permits and what-have-you. So it’s a half a million dollar commitment, and this is a corporation too.

The size of the building is actually fine for the residents. It’s an awkward building for functions and things like that because of having to move furniture, but – I think it’s still a huge commitment that they’ve done it, and good on them really, to be fair. And I hope people realise that it is a commitment because there’s no return on it either, and it is a Corporation. There’s going to be no return on that building.

No return on it?

Not really. There’s no … I mean they might put a bit of pressure on me to have some private functions in there to get some return on it, but certainly that’s not the prerequisite for it. It’s interesting.

So after my initial eighteen months in the village I actually was offered the position in Napier Summerset, and I went there for about eleven months and then came back to Hastings. And the most interesting thing about going to Napier was it has a Rest Home and Care Centre attached, and after a few months there I learned very quickly that it was not my forte at all, health. I knew nothing about it to be fair, coming from the hotel background. And hospitality and hotel is my passion – health wasn’t. And I learned that very quickly.

So after working with two nurse managers – one that used to come into my office every day crying her eyes out, and the next one that came in used to come in my office and scream at me every day – I decided that health was not of any interest to me at all, and I decided to come back to Hastings and manage that site because it is a particularly unusual site for a retirement village in that it doesn’t have a hospital and rest home. And as I mentioned before, my passion was hotel management and this is what I’m basically doing. So I didn’t want to remain in Napier, so I came back to Hastings and I’ve never looked back since. I love every minute of it, it’s fantastic.

It is and you do a great job.

Oh, thank you [chuckle] – you have to say that.

But in the Hastings village – when it was first built, because of the whole unusual scenario about not having a rest home and hospital – and the reason it doesn’t have a rest home and hospital is because the DHB wouldn’t award a contract. That’s the only reason, for another rest home/hospital in Hawke’s Bay at that time. It’s interesting – they probably would now, because I think with the baby boomers coming on there’s going to be a shortage of beds in Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand as a whole. But certainly at the time when the Hastings village was built this wasn’t the case, so the DHB wouldn’t award a contract so they just decided to build the village anyway, without the hospital and rest home. And it’s a very unusual thing, and I really enjoy not having it on site. It creates a whole different atmosphere … a whole different feeling. I think the village itself in Hastings is so vibrant because there’s no hospital or rest home. I think what hospital and rest home does in a retirement village, it creates a feeling of unwell people. There’s nurses running around and it creates a whole different feeling. And like anything it’s still a living thing. And I have arguments with other managers about – coming to a retirement village is about living not about dying – it’s about living in my opinion. And I’m very hot on that.

And so you know, like anything it has its advantages and its disadvantages, but overall in my mind, the advantages for the residents living here outweigh the disadvantages. It’s a much more vibrant living, fun place because of it, I think. There’s a different type of people around.

Because of no hospital or rest home, they did build a what we call a respite room, which means there’s a room available for people to go to if they come out of hospital and need to recover – all well intentioned; all well thought about. However, we don’t have nurses on site because we don’t have a hospital/rest home, so whether they’re in the respite room or in their own home they would have had the same level of care. So of course no one wanted to use the respite room. They wanted to be in their own bed in their own home, get help from the community … help that’s available … and any help that we can provide as a village. So it became an absolutely dead space. So again we all got together as a team of staff, and we got … you know, we were thinking about ideas and this respite room came up. And beside it was a little wee office room that was really used for nothing, so that room sat there for two and a half years doing absolutely nothing.

So we came up with the idea of putting a motel room in there, and we converted it internally. Russell, our handyman at the time, he got stuck in and converted it to a motel room, which has been hugely successful. And I’ve got to say, for the residents – it’s there for their family staying, when they’ve got functions on and events happening in their lives – it’s a great tool that they can use, and it’s been a really successful and popular room. In saying that, it’s not going to be done anywhere else. It’s a one off. It is a Summerset in the Orchard one-off room, and it’s great. It’s fantastic. So yeah, so that’s a bit about that.

And I want to talk about the staff here too. I must say as it stands at the moment, this group of people I work with at the moment … and I’m fifty-six years old – I’ve worked a long time since I was eighteen … this is without doubt the best group of people I have ever worked with. They are committed, and love their life, and I must say too that we really gel as a group of people – it’s a lot of fun, we laugh a lot, and I love it. I love the fact that staff should laugh, and that’s how it should be in any work place I think. You know, I’m pretty … as a manager my style is very … allowing people to run their own areas of their work place. I don’t like to interfere unless I have to – don’t worry, I’m very happy to do that, but I think that people should take responsibility. Because of that it’s created a really free and easy work environment with lots of fun. And I think that’s translated back to the residents I think, which is really important. So you know, the next manager that comes may change that, you know, when my time’s done. But certainly at the moment it’s a great bunch of people, and I haven’t lost a staff member through ill discipline or any other reason than normal reasons for about three, four years, so it’s a great feeling. It’s a great feeling.

And you could mention about Luana getting the award … promoted for the award.

Oh, so we have an applause awards in Summerset, and Luana Southern, she’s what we call village assistant, in the village – she has been nominated for a couple of years as a support person of the year through the applause awards. So she’s well deserving, she’ll do anything for anybody – she’s amazing.

I’ve also won … you don’t know this, Erica … also as a manager I won the RVA Manager of the Year for small villages when it was very early on, and that was in the first year, so that would have been about 2010 probably … eleven. I think the small group of people – they nominated me and I didn’t know anything about it actually, for the RVA awards. So I won the RVA Manager of the Year for small villages, and I had to go to Australia and present to twelve hundred people at a Conference … RVA Conference … so that was fantastic fun. I enjoyed that, it was great. So that’s something that’s … I’m very proud of. I’m not sure they do it any more, I’m not sure. But no, that’s great.

So you also were talking about the site, the actual site, so it’s a seven-hectare site, and it was originally an orchard. So because it was originally an orchard there’s been lots of drama around it, and there’s also a stream running through the middle of the village. So those two factors have created lots of challenges for the village around building, and how the village is used. Now in today’s environment with health and safety and … in my opinion a little bit over the top, health and safety … the spray that they used to put on orchards many years ago, they’ve decided there’s residue of that in the soil so the residents can’t plant directly into the soil there. So they have to have raised gardens and bring soil in if they want to plant a crop where they want to eat anything off. Fascinating thing – right across the fence there’s an orchard which … you can buy an apple off no problem at all. Although in saying they’re still spraying – yes that’s true. But I’ve done a lot of work with the orchardists next door because of course there was concern at some point about sprays. The way they spray is completely different from what they used to, you know, and most of it is all water-based organic sprays that they use these days. Very different – targeted – they target a particular species these days rather than just a blanket spraying of herbicides and pesticides and stuff like that, so it’s completely different. And it’s a hundred times safer than it used to be, so it’s quite different. And I’ve done a lot of research around it, and I’ve talked to the orchardists a lot about it as you can imagine, ‘cause it was a concern for some residents.

But they did take a lot of top soil off. They had to sculpture the land and if you go down Romanes Drive there’s that, I think it’s called the BMX bike track that’s there? That’s original … all that soil from there is original … it’s all built up from the soil from the site. Because of that so-called residue spray they couldn’t put it on any residential property so it was all used for that, so there was a lot of topsoil taken off there. And also that bund on the north boundary, that was to help us move the soil as well to try and get a flat surface, so that was a big part of it.

Because so much topsoil was taken away we’ve had huge issues around the gardens as well. There’s a clay pan underneath so we’ve got a little … only a small level of topsoil and it causes a lot of issues. I know Brian, our property manager, and myself have done a lot of work around increasing the fertility of the soil in our gardens, and our soils – we do a lot of work around making the soils healthy and that kind of thing. Yeah, it’s a big part of it.

There’s also the stream running through the village, which is … the banks of the stream are owned by the Regional Council not by us. They are without doubt the most challenging areas of the village to maintain and look after. And we’ve just embarked this week actually, on a planting programme on those banks, and I’m very proud of it too ‘cause … well I’ve been working with the Council for years about trying to get this done. And they’ve, to their credit, come on board and just last week they supplied seven hundred and eighty native plants in stage one of a three-year programme. And we’ve planted them this week and I’m extremely proud of that. I think the village will benefit enormously through the flowering periods, through bird life, and just the general feel and look, and also the health of the stream, so … And the stream is such an important part. What the stream has done, with flood plains and things, it’s created a very open village because of the flood plain issues around that stream. So without doubt I think, probably Summerset in the Orchard will be the last village built with such open space.

The ones in Auckland and Christchurch are very small.  [Speaking together]

Very. And that’s just not Summerset, that’s all retirement villages in general really, so it’s created lost of pluses for us, you know, the feel of the village is different because of the stream, the open spaces are there, and it’s just great. I think the stream’s fabulous.

And to go on day to day things, I enjoy it and you probably do enjoy watching people coming for cards, bowls, the men’s shed, the men’s breakfasts, ladies breakfast now.

Yeah, that’s just starting up, who knows next? So these are all ideas that residents have. And we’ve got an activities person, so Vickie and generally Zoe and I are the ones, we sit down and come up with cunning plans and anything we can come up with. And again we’re proud of what we do – all part of the deal.

Yeah. And I think a lot of the advantage too is for the residents living in the village a big plus is the absolute surety of what your budget is. You’re not going to get stung with “I need a new roof on my house”. You’re not going to get stung with any of like that ‘cause we take care of all the maintenance, and I think for the $124 a week, I think it’s good value for money for what you get.

You wouldn’t be able to rent outside for that.

Well you can’t rent for three … four hundred dollars now. But even if you own your own property, you’re still going to have maintenance issues, you’ll still have your insurance to pay for, which has gone up enormously in the last few years as everyone knows. Our insurance bill in the village is now $40,000 a year, you know, so It’s a huge amount. Rubbish collection, all that stuff, absolutely.

Can you talk a little bit about the Summerset pay for some functions each year and also the refreshments …

Yep, sure.

… and I think that’s important.

Yeah, so we have a list of functions that we call the ‘must do’ events, so there’s a number of events that we must do, and they are the two major functions of the year and that’s the Christmas and mid-year … it’s supposed to be called a mid-year Christmas but we don’t do that – we like to do things just a little bit different in our village. So we try and make that mid-year event something different every year. We’ve gone from a mid-year Christmas to a mid-year solstice, and this year we had a 1950s American party, so we change it every year to try and keep the event fresh. But we do the Christmas function and that’s usually attended by about a hundred and fifty people so it’s a big function. And then we have the other must do events such as St Patrick’s Day, Melbourne Cup, the Family Day in February which is very well attended – I think we had about two hundred and ten – twenty people last year with all the families and things included so that’s very well attended. And then we have … just trying to think what else, the ‘must do’ ones … Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St Patricks Day, Melbourne Cup – there’s a couple of others as well which we must do, and that’s great ‘cause it helps us you know, keep the regular events going and people know. And then we have a list of things that we like to do which are a little bit special, like the breakfast you mention; the men’s thing that we’ve initiated and brought up ourselves. So Summerset funds a lot of that but not everything.

But you also fund, I believe, the buses.

Yep. But to hire a bus to go to a thing’s expensive, and if you’ve ever done that you know, you would know that, that even a forty-five seater bus – I can’t remember what it is – it’s $700-$800 depending on how far away you’re going, so we generally ask residents to subsidise some of it and Summerset will subsidise the rest. And generally I work on about a fifty-fifty split, so … same with the Christmas and mid-year function, you know – it costs me about $50 a head to put on, and we charge $25. So I think that’s a fair … a fair way that I look at it anyway. The residents together collectively pay half and we pay half ‘cause they’re expensive to put on. And that’s all covered by the $124 a month too.

So with those five units that are in the main house … in the main building … they pay less to get to buy into that but then they have to pay so much a week, don’t they?

Yeah, it’s exactly the same format as the residents in the villages as such – they’re all classed as independent living villages, and so is the apartment people – they’re classed as independent living as well.

How the village is decided on how much it costs each unit is purely based on independent valuation, so that’s all decided that way. So Summerset doesn’t decide ‘I’m going to charge x amount’. It’s all decided, so that’s why the apartment is cheaper to purchase than a double story property, which is the most expensive one.

Or a mews without the garage.

Yeah, that’s right. So that’s right – that’s why they are a bit cheaper, and it’s done independently – it’s not done by Summerset. That’s done by an independent valuer … that’s part of the legal conditions of the site. So the apartment people do pay a little bit more and that’s purely because we cover the cost of their power, but apart from that it’s exactly the same.

And their telephone?

No. Just the power. That’s lumped into the power of the main centre as such.

We haven’t mentioned the hairdresser …


… and the visitors to come and talk after the Questions & Answers. How do you find that?

Well so – let’s start with the contractors on site. So we have two contractors on … we have three actually, we have Adrienne who does hair, beauty and stuff like that, eyelash tinting and foot massages and that kind of stuff. And then we have the hairdresser, Tina, who comes and she works three or four days a week, mostly four, but sometimes three days a week. And she’s an independent contractor, so how that works is she pays part of her income to Summerset for rent. And then we have a very, very unusual scenario – no other retirement village has this and that’s … we have our cafe, which again is hired out to independent people, and again I get a percentage of their income. It’s very good for the village to do that because it encourages me as a manager to promote their business and for them to promote their own business as well because it affects both of us. So I think it’s a fabulous idea. Most other Summersets have – because they’ve got their rest home and hospital, they have a company called Medirest which comes in and looks after the catering for the hospital – and that’s their main focus, let’s be honest. The cafe is there and it’s sort of like a secondary part of it. For the guys that have our cafe, it’s very much their main business and in their interest to promote it. And I think they do a fantastic job. We’re very lucky to Sarah and Martin there at the moment – they’re an English couple, he’s a qualified chef, very experienced; she’s Hilton-trained. And you’ve got to remember too, at $10 for a main course – that’s extremely great value. And that’s – you know, it’s hard for them to put a … you know. And people don’t want a restaurant-type meal. It’s a home based meal. We want a value for money, good honest food, so that what that is.

And it’s there for residents to entertain their families and everything, to bring them into the village on a regular basis.

Well funny you should say that, because it does cause me a lot of grief sometimes that sort of thing. I’m very, very hot on the village being part of the community. Now other managers have different views on that, and I know residents have some different views than I do and some residents have the same view as I have. But I think that it’s a dangerous thing to suddenly say we are on our own island and we don’t have anything to do with the community – I think it’s a dangerous thing. It starts looking inwards instead of outwards, become insular and I think then issues escalate to where they shouldn’t, because we do live in a community. We live in Hastings, we don’t live on our own separate island. I’m very hot on allowing the community to come into the centre – I think it promotes what we do; it promotes life; it promotes the ongoing sale of the village as well, which is important. I had an interesting question on Q&A the other day about what happens if we leave the village and selling. And I felt like saying “well you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. You know, some people say you shouldn’t allow the public to come in, and other people say “I want my house sold quickly”. Well you can’t have one without the other. The public understanding of what the village is about – the life it brings – helps sell it. So absolutely, ongoing sales as well, so – and I’m very hot on that, I think it should be part of the community. I think it’s a dangerous thing to look inwards.

By the same token that’s why I came to Knowledge Bank to do other outside things …


… so that I meet people outside the village …


… and then bring them in, and that French couple for instance – yes, I have to say that helping the Knowledge Bank I’m going to invite them to come and see the village …


… so they know what …

I’m talking about. That’s a great idea. And I think that people should feel proud to bring their friends and family and groups in. And to be fair too, probably eighty per cent of anyone who comes in from outside have a connection with the village already, whether its through a friend or you know, acquaintance or whatever. They generally are associated with it in some way, and that may be people who are looking to move into the village in the future. You know, that’s an important part of what we do, so probably eighty per cent have some affiliation with it already.

Yes, so I do do Question & Answer – think you mentioned about the Question & Answer – once a month, and I really enjoy it actually. It can be challenging at times, and to put yourself in front of a group of people and say “right, give me your best shot” [chuckle] is sometimes, you know, a bit nerve-wracking. And it’s probably one of the most nerve wracking things I do, although hopefully I don’t show that. But yeah, so it’s challenging, and I think it’s important though that people … because I think a problem in a place like a village too, is rumours can start and sometimes it’s good to quash them too – or give a complete overview of what’s happening rather than someone’s perception, so you know, that’s important. And we do have guest speakers afterwards, and Vicky Orton, our events coordinator, is very active in finding different speakers to come and talk about what’s happening in their worlds, and their lives. Again it brings the outside into the village.

And that Health and … the exercise.

Yeah, the Use It and Lose it. So Summerset’s instigated this Use it and Lose it exercise class. Personally I don’t think it was necessarily necessary – we had a good Sit and Be Fit – but it’s just added something I think. And also Summerset started a happy hour once a week as well, just to start the … and help enhance the social life of the village, which is good.

So yeah, one of the biggest challenges for me … I always say to people “there’s two things that would make my life so much easier if we didn’t have in the village.” One was dogs and the other was sprinklers. [Chuckle] They cause a great amount of grief. And Summerset is a pet friendly village – and it should be a pet friendly village too, I think it’s important. I think pets are part of people’s world, and I know I have pets at home and … especially Sally, my wife, she would never come to a village if she couldn’t bring her cat with her. So it is very much an important part of people’s worlds, and I actually quite like it. Again we should be a reflection of the community at large, we shouldn’t be an island.

But you know, there’s always that challenge of people who think their pets are the most important thing in the world, and they can do whatever they want, and don’t consider other people so there’s always that challenge around that. But overall, people with pets are very considerate. There’s only one or two that cause the real issues really. Most of the time they’re not.

Stray dogs come into the village too and do their business, and they get lumped in with the village dogs – in fact we’re having a big problem at the moment with a stray dog from the street across the road, so … that kind of thing.

Sprinklers are another one. I’m always bamboozled when we have a sprinkler failure how people get so irate about it, because it’s just a sprinkler failure, you know – these things happen in life. But we do struggle with that a lot too. But we do do two major uphauls [overhauls] of our sprinkler system twice a year to try and negate that as much as possible.

Now Allan, where do you see the village altering at all in the next five years say?

Yep. I don’t see it altering very much in the next five years. In the next fifteen possibly. I know that Summerset’s got the challenge at the moment of being around for fifteen years now so the first villages are showing signs of being around for fifteen years. So – we talked about our extensions – so we’re one of six going round the country at the moment – extensions – and that’s partly due to the ageing of some villages and the need to upgrade and keep up with what’s happening in the rest of the country around retirement villages and things. So there’s a big push towards that at the moment, and I mean I know the CFO [CEO] and the CFO are going round all the villages at the moment … well, especially the older ones … and recognising there is a need to improve on. So that’ll come to our village at some point as well. So in the next five years I don’t see much change happening at all.

Do you think they will build on that bank facing the orchard?

No. I hope not. I think as the village stands at the moment, it’s a beautiful site. I think anything they do could change that. We have quite an envious place really – because we don’t have a hospital and rest home we are very much off the radar, which is quite good. You don’t want to be on the radar necessarily for some sort of things, so – although, it is a big block of land there. The reason that bank is there though, it’s part of the resource consent for spray. So it’s a twenty metre boundary – you see we’re twenty metres off any boundary facing an orchard, so that’s why it’s there, it’s not … if that resource consent wasn’t in place that would have been built right up to the fence. So that resource consent has been very good for us and I don’t see that changing. I have to do a report every year to the Council regarding a resource consent to make sure we’re complying with the soils and things like that, and that has to happen once a year – I’ve just done that actually. So I don’t see the village changing at all in the next five … fifteen years? Things will have to be upgraded and there will be a big push to do that but not for the next five.

For the other two Summerset villages … we went and looked before I came into your village … we went and looked at the other two and one reason we didn’t go to Taradale was (a) they didn’t have a villa suitable and (b) it was too far away from shops or town … city … you see we’re are close to Havelock North. And the other one was too old, because that was thirteen years old – the Vines.

See that’s a challenge isn’t it? Havelock’s the second village that was built after Whanganui. So that’s the challenge now, I think for Summerset, to now make sure that they stay up to play. The villages themselves are still pretty nice, but the difference is … it’s just like our village really … the difference is the centre. The main community centre is quite different, and that’s a big challenge. And originally the reception area for instance was built in where the hospital is, and it’s still there. So for anybody walking in and thinking about a retirement village, for some people – not for everybody – but for some people, they don’t want to see what their life is going to be, or could potentially be. So to walk in and see nurses and things. … for some people it turns them right off. It would turn me off for instance, for argument’s sake, but I’m not everybody. Some people, you know – they want to see the comfort of that, but for other people – they don’t. So for some, to walk into our environment which is more a hotel and fun and … is what they prefer. Other people do want to see the nurses on site walking around, and they want to have that feeling. So you know, it covers – everyone’s different, and it does cover both areas – we’re quite lucky. And being close to the shops is important – it’s only four minutes to Havelock, to drive, so it’s good.

So I’ll send through some photos of different stages of the village. I’ve got some fantastic photos very early on of the brown field with all its hills and things like that, so … and just the absolute commitment the new early pioneers had to the site, because it was really quite hard to fathom and understand. And I’ll send some newsletters through from the very first one up to our present day newsletter which we’ve developed, and I’m pretty proud of actually, our newsletter – I think it’s a nice little monthly publication, so I’ll send through some of those.

That will be great. Thank you very much for being such a great interviewee.

You’re very welcome – my pleasure, it’s been fun.

So, there’s two hundred and twenty people in the village at the moment, in a hundred and fifty-four villas. Five of those are one-person ones which are attached to the main building. The main building comfortably holds a hundred and fifty people. Then there is [are] ten big two-storey places in one block and another six in another block, and they have upstairs as well as downstairs. The original thirty units built closest to the road area, they have two bedrooms and a study or a conservatory – that is the design of them.

It’s divided up into groups of three villas or four, and that means the turn-end ones have the advantage of having extra windows and extra sunlight into their villas; the others in the middle do not have that, or they don’t have a window in the kitchen area. Some of them have actually got a built-in skylight which gives some light.

Of the village people, a lot come from overseas. We have people from South Africa and America, Canada and a lot from Holland and other parts of Europe. They are people who’ve been in New Zealand for something like twenty, thirty or forty years and decided that Hawke’s Bay is where they want to retire. A lot of them are still in their sixties when they come in, but the present way of doing it … you have to have one person of a pair being seventy … that has just come in. Originally people could move in when both of them were over fifty-five.

During the week people can go to bowls or croquet, pool or dance … they have line dancing. We can play cards on Saturday, Wednesday and Monday. During the year Summerset pay for five different events in the evening. We subsidise it to a certain extent, but it doesn’t cost more than $20 or $25.

We have our windows cleaned for us four times a year and all our gardening and lawn is done. If you choose to have pot plants or things in pots outside in your garden, then you are responsible for it. Some people in the village have their own pets, cats or dogs. A couple of them have actually got goldfish too, just to make it a bit more interesting.

There’s a really good spirit among the village so that at the happy hour on Friday nights you usually get anything up to a hundred and fifty people. Some of them may be family and friends of the village people. We have the one motel unit where people can hire it, which Allan had talked about. Looking to the future, they’re building on this extra piece, which will mean that if we have an event, two hundred people can be in instead of a hundred and fifty.

The main thrust of it is that we enjoy life and go out to quite a few shows. Since I have been in the village I have been on a day trip to Huka Falls Lodge; to Taihape when we went to the wool shop; I’ve been up to Cape Kidnappers to their Lodge; I’ve been to nearly all the different big restaurants, or places like the Mission, Ormlie Lodge – all the sort of places where you may not go if you were just on your own, so in all it’s very well conducted.

On average people have moved in within the last three to four years, because as Allan said, there was a gap when they had that crash … Wall Street crash in 2009. But for the last six months the village has now been fully occupied, and they had a big celebration with a function put on by Summerset itself, when the village was declared to be full.

There’s a knit and natter group, and also a sewing group, and there’s also a group who do the gardens. And they raise some money so that they can plant seedlings and sell them back for a very small cost to people who might want to grow something different in their garden or in their porches there. You have bingo as well once a week, with different people within the village on a Residents’ committee, or callers for it; or a wine tasting, so there’s always at least one or two activities in any one day that you or I could do.

The average age at this time, which is July 2016, in the village is seventy-eight, whereas in the Taradale village the average age at the moment is eighty-five, and at the Havelock North one, Summerset in the Vines, it is eighty-four. Compared with that, the Ryman village average age round at Princess Alexandra at the moment is ninety-five. So we are about lowest – we still have some people in the village who are working.

I would recommend this village whole heartedly, and look forward to staying there for at least another five to ten years – who knows? And enjoying life, birthdays remembered, and lots of fun and enjoyable aspects.

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Manager, Summerset in the Orchard

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Interviewer:  Erica Tenquist, recorded in July 2016

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