Tamahere Country Club resident Mike Blake writes from across “the great divide” – the leap between work and retirement – about making the choice to move into Tamahere’s newest retirement village while it’s being built around him.
Retirement – a 10-letter word that most people take no notice of until their careers are slowly, or even quickly, coming to a close.
As a bloke who has been with the same long-suffering partner for more than 50 years it was a bit like preparing to slide down a long deep tunnel and when we reached the bottom, we would shake ourselves off and walk hand-in-hand into a new life.
Planning for the inevitable arrival into this new world was paramount.
We both shuddered as it was made abundantly clear that “Retirement village” was to be our ‘final’ destination.
Retirement village is not to be confused with ‘old folks’ home’ by the way!
Having visited some of our friends who had crossed the great divide into retirement living, we had an idea of what was available, what it looked like and how much it would cost to join them in that style of living.
We dragged our feet.
Until one day a (much younger) former business colleague called saying she was selling apartments for a village on River Road, Hamilton North.
We had a look, asked lots of questions, but didn’t think it was our cup of tea (or even bottle of sauvignon blanc) so we went quiet.
Then out of the blue our super salesperson (Sandy, by the way) called and said she had moved companies and was selling a red hot, upmarket retirement village … Tamahere Country Club.
Just the name itself could tempt you to give it the once over.
My wife Eileen and I met Sandy on site, wearing our solid, closed in shoes, as instructed. We donned the hi-viz vests Sandy passed around and boarded the extended golf cart for a comfortable tour of the site.
But before that Sandy offered to take us across the Kaimai Ranges to view two village projects which had been completed under the umbrella of the Sanderson Group.
Our first call was the show home at Bethlehem Shores. I was immediately impressed with the immaculate gardens and exterior of the villas. But better was to come … the interior finish throughout the show home.
It had a wow factor about it and I think we both thought ‘we could live here.’
Once back over the Kaimais we spent some hours poring over plans for the different villa styles intended for Tamahere Country Club.
We preferred one of the smaller offerings and Sandy drove us straight to one that had the base poured and framing was almost complete.
Looked okay…BUT…and there is always a BUT, isn’t there?
When we went back to the plans we asked, ‘where’s the second bathroom?’
“There isn’t one,” said Sandy.
“Well we want one and here’s how we can have it with a slight adjustment to the interior floor layout.”
It took just a couple of pencil strokes and Sandy took the revised plan to the Sanderson Group designers.
Within just a few hours they came back with a ‘yes’ and we were about to become the first couple to move into a pretty villa on what was essentially an 11 hectare construction site.
We sold our home and moved in February shortly before the Covid-19 lockdown.
Tamahere Country Club is a development instigated by the Sanderson family from Tauranga.
And what a family they are to deal with.
Son, Nathan, has Tamahere Country Club as his project.
Nathan has a very strong support team from management to sales and to site managers.
The Country Club manager, Brendon Russo, has had previous experience with other retirement companies. He is a shining star to the ‘original’ residents.
Through lockdown there were three couples and our dear Anne on site.
We named ourselves “The Magnificent Seven” and managed our way through the absolute quiet as well as sticking to the rules regarding social distancing at Friday happy hours on the street, to which we brought our own chairs, bottle and glasses.
Manager Brendon supermarket shopped for us twice a week and was always on hand to assist with little niggles that cropped up.
The site went from eerie quiet to all hell breaking loose when Lockdown went to Unlocked. Houses began springing up like mushrooms.
Our Friday happy hour has been growing by about a couple a week and The Magnificent Seven has become “Unlucky for some 13”.
But that will change next week.
Just the other day more than 100 people attended the first big event on site … the roof shout for the Clubhouse.
When completed it will be spectacular, offering movie theatre, billiards room, commercial kitchen with restaurant to seat 190 to name just a few.
The teams of builders, tiling specialists, gardeners and roading contractors are always ready with a ‘Good Morning’, ‘Gidday Mate’ or ‘Howzit Goin?’
It makes life seem a little smoother when you are surrounded by the sounds of hammers, saws, lawn mowers, digging machines and heavy earthmoving equipment. Not to mention delivery vans, painters’ and plumbers’ vans and trucks going about their business. Which is to be expected on a site such as this.
That simple acknowledgement of the ‘old fella’ on his walk does wonders for the soul.
Tamahere Country Club … it is a special place.