Village News

When a Fairway is the best way

23 April 2024

Fairway Gardens residents Bill and Teena

First published in the New Zealand Herald

This is the fourth in a series of sponsored stories by ZB’s Kerre Woodham in which Kerre examines life in Metlifecare villages through the eyes of residents – how they came to be there, what shaped their choice of village and their life in residence. Today: How Bill & Teena happily teed off on life in a home overlooking a golf course.

Saying goodbye to household maintenance big draw for retired couple

When it came to choosing a retirement village, Bill and Teena knew they wanted to stay local. They wanted to be close to their children and grandchildren; they wanted to be in the area where lifelong friends lived; in a neighbourhood where they could keep their same doctor.

So, once they’d decided to sell their family home, Bill and Teena went to every village open home in south-east Auckland. But one village was a clear favourite. Having seen the first soil being turned at Metlifecare’s Fairway Gardens, having a home there was always in the back of their minds.

“We always thought, gee, that’s a neat spot,” Bill says. “If we could get something there, on the golf course, that would be worth looking at.”

When the ideal property came up, that’s what they did. They made an appointment and went to look at it. For Teena, the moment she walked into the apartment and saw the gorgeous view overlooking the Pakuranga Golf Course, she knew she’d found her new home.

“I said, this is it. I knew. It’s just all that green that doesn’t have to be mowed.” “Or rather mown by us!” Bill chips in. “Quite right”, Teena laughs. “It just had everything in its favour. The position, the sun...”

“And how many people can say they have a water fountain outside their bedroom window,” says Bill.

Not having to mow the lawns – indeed, saying goodbye to household maintenance – was a big drawcard for Bill and Teena. The pair had been accustomed to doing all the work required to keep their beautiful family home tidy and well-presented but recently, Bill concedes, some of the jobs had become beyond him and he didn’t want years of paying for other people to do the jobs for him.

The idea of a brand-new home, in a place where maintenance was taken care of, very much appealed to him.

We were lucky we caught Bill and Teena at home at Fairway Gardens. They have busy lives, both within the village and outside of it. Bill was in the process of preparing their motorhome for a trip to Nelson where they would stay for a few days at a music festival, then head off on a tiki tour of central Otago.

Bill was driving down to Nelson and Teena was flying down a few days later to join him. That, says Bill, is another reason why the couple decided to sell their family home and move into a ‘lock-and-leave’ apartment at Fairway Gardens.

“It’s the security”, Bill explains. “I hear noises,” Teena confesses. “She does”, says Bill, “and when I’m away, it’s good to know Teena will feel safe in a secure second floor apartment, with the added security offered by the village complex.”

Bill and Teena live busy active lives outside of the village but also enjoy the facilities Fairway Gardens offers. There’s a nurse once a week, a full-time hairdresser, a beautifully equipped gym, a fabulous spa and swimming pool and a sophisticated lodge-like cafe and communal area overlooking the golf course.

Teena, along with a couple of other women, set up the library, there are all sorts of exercise activities and plenty of excursions – to the local Buddhist Temple open day; to musicals in town; to the Sculptureum at Matakana.

They enjoy the friendly community feel of Fairway Gardens.

There’s no ‘them and us’ between the staff and the residents, says Bill – in fact, a visit from the maintenance manager for a routine matter ended in a discussion about common back ailments and a brief demonstration, carried out on the floor of the apartment, of helpful exercise to alleviate pain.

The one thing they emphasise to friends is not to leave it too late to make the move: “Coming in at the right time means you have the opportunity to participate”, says Teena. “You can make new friends if you want to, you can make the most of everything the village has to offer – and if you want to head off on adventures, you can just lock your door and go, knowing your home will be safe.

The grass is never going to grow under Bill and Teena’s feet, not with their adventurous active lives – and the meticulous care of the groundsmen at Fairway Gardens.

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