Village News

A wickedly adventurous couple

06 May 2024

Barry and Janet with residents from Wāitakere Gardens

Since moving into Waitākere Gardens village 17 years ago, Barry and Janet Wood have seen more of New Zealand – and the world – than many of us do in a lifetime. And better still, they’ve given multitudes of other residents the chance to join them.

“Janet and I did very little travel prior to moving into Waitākere Gardens but it was something we were keen to do more of, so we did,” explains Barry.

“When we’d talk to other residents about our trips, they’d often say ‘I’d love to do that, but I have no one to go with’, so about 14 years ago I started organising group tours.”

Since then, the intrepid resident has injected the joys of jet-setting into the lives of more than 1500 residents. From the South Island to Singapore, Alaska to Adelaide, Barry’s legendary tours have become a highly anticipated village drawcard.

“Usually, I organise two tours a year, and mostly we have between 40 and 50 passengers per tour – sometimes there’s even a waiting list! As soon as we get home from one tour, people start asking me ‘where are we going next?’”

Each tour takes months of organisation, and Barry doesn’t make a profit. So why does he do it?

“I enjoy it, it keeps me active and I get great satisfaction from knowing that I’m giving residents the chance to do something they would otherwise not be able to do.”

Fellow resident Lyn Jeffery is a perfect example. She’s been on nearly every one of Barry’s trips for the last 13 years – and she has loved them all.
“I consider myself very lucky to live in this village and appreciate everything Barry has done for us. We only have to pack our bags and everything is organised for us right down to the last detail,” says Lyn.

“We’ve seen New Zealand like never before, been on cruises, and participated in so much more than we would have had we been travelling independently. I’d never have done all this travel on my own.”

Heather White is also an avid fan. Thanks to Barry, she has jumped off a bridge into the Clutha River, been paragliding for the first time, and travelled to far flung places she’d never even dreamed of.

“I moved in here thinking I was going to retire but I’ve never been on so many adventures,” says Heather. “I’ve had so much fun, and made so many great friends on these trips. To me that’s been the biggest highlight.”

Those endorsements are music to Barry's ears - and all the impetus he needs to start planning another adventure!

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