For a keen golfer, Arrowtown Retirement Village is the perfect location – situated right next door to The Hills Golf Course, a 4-minute drive to Millbrook and a 2-minute drive to the Arrowtown Golf Club – although the clubhouse, as the crow flies, is only 300m away!
David Johns is a very keen golfer, typically playing 3-4 times a week. He didn’t have to think for long before buying a home in Stage 1 of the village’s development. “I was living in Queenstown in an apartment at The Rees Hotel – a stunning place to live, but a fair way from a golf course!”
Not that he’s afraid of long drives. David has spent much of his life on the road, working in sales for a number of different apparel companies, finishing up with 20 years in the golfing wholesale business. “I was very lucky to be able to combine my passion with my work.”
So why move to a retirement village? “When I read about the Arrowtown Village and saw its location – the proximity to the golf courses was obviously the first thing I thought of. The other attraction was the companionship of living in a community of like-minded people. Living in an apartment was a little isolating if I’m honest. I have really enjoyed the social part of living here – meeting lots of different people and finding out about their lives. The Lodge is a great place to meet and share a drink and a story.”
Pioneer residents of new retirement villages are a special group of people – brave enough to buy off plans, with optimism for the future village that will grow around them. It’s not surprising that Mary May is one of those pioneers – recently moving in as the 4thresident at the Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village. “I already feel so at home, the staff here are amazing and my villa is beautiful and easy to live in. All the stress has been taken out of my life – I don’t have to worry about looking after a big home or gardens any more.”
Mary has strong ties to Arrowtown and its surrounds – growing up in the Cardrona Valley, before farming with her Cromwell-born husband Alan in the Cardrona Valley, Lake Hawea and finally Gibbston’s Wentworth Station – where they raised their family of 6. That’s where she first met the Monk family, part-owners of the Arrowtown Village, when she and Alan sold them Wentworth Station in 1993. It was then that Arrowtown became their permanent home, and with it a huge involvement in the wider community.
Mary is one of life’s busy people – always there to lend a hand wherever she can to make things happen. Whether that’s through the nearby Arrowtown Golf Club (where she was the first Woman’s President and still plays), the Cancer Society (a special cause for her having lost Alan to cancer), the Catholic Church, Community Support or fitting in time for mah-jong along the way. “One of the great things about living in this village is the sense of community – many people I’ve met through these organisations live here too. I’m looking forward to their companionship over the coming years.” With the golf course right across the road, and many of those organisations still occupying her time – Mary’s life is likely to still be as busy as ever. “Though I’m also enjoying everything in our new Lodge which is only a three-minute walk from my front door!”
Moving to a retirement village was always something that Mary knew she would consider. “Mum lived at Brooklands Village in Mosgiel and had the best time. I’m very grateful that Roger and his family helped to bring this village to life in Arrowton, I know it will be an important part of many people’s lives.” For those that move here, it’s pioneers like Mary who will welcome them with open arms.
Pioneer resident, Yvonne Key, shares her recent experience living in her new home at Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village during the COVID-19 “lock down” period.
The world has changed so quickly in the last few months that sometimes it’s hard to believe the scale of the crisis. Having a home in the village has made the change so much easier to deal with.
We are never lonely here. There is always someone to wave to or chat with over the fence. When I take Tookie for a walk around the village, I’m sure to see someone and stop for a chat – though Tookie is missing the extra pats she normally gets!
My family haven’t had to worry about me, knowing that the staff are making sure everything is safe. Our village newsletters keep us up to date on official information which help us to make informed decisions. We have had our flu injections organised, groceries delivered, and hand sanitiser provided. It has also been a bonus to have our community vegetable garden where I can collect some fresh produce.
While I miss getting out to my dance and mah-jong groups, we haven’t been bored at home. Our Village Manager has been very clever organising some projects that are safe and fun. We have had a letterbox-top craft competition, created an Autumn Festival walking float for Facebook, developed an ANZAC Day memories booklet and had a dawn service. I also enjoyed entering the photography competition with all the autumn colours at this time of year.
I’ve certainly found lockdown here a lot easier than it would have been if I had stayed in Gisborne on my own. Arrowtown is a friendly and lovely place to be confined to.