Cantabria Home and Hospital has sold with 36 of the 193 staff not being offered an ongoing role.

Heritage Lifecare Limited has bought the company and the rest home will become Cantabria Lifecare and Village from January 31.

Heritage Lifecare Limited executive chairman David Renwick said staff levels and ancillary services had been reviewed and ongoing roles had been offered to a majority of existing staff.

Other jobs would be advertised locally.

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Mr Renwick said the review of the staffing levels had been undertaken with the Ministry of Health recommended guidelines for safe staffing levels for the aged care industry.

Cantabria has 176 rooms including 60 doubles and currently provides care to 155 residents.

He said Heritage had a growing national presence and the acquisition of Cantabria coupled with existing homes in Tauranga and Te Puke gave Heritage a good presence in the Bay of Plenty.

"Primarily, the administration and office area is most affected as we will relocate these functions to our centralised operation. Some frontline staff will be affected as well with occupancy at current levels.

"Heritage wishes to continue the same high standard of care that Cantabria residents now receive."

Mr Renwick said there were opportunities for the facility in the future.

"Heritage Lifecare is a national provider and has extensive experience in developing opportunities in the aged care sector.

"As an indicator a new call bell system and the implementation of a new resident management system and clinical care tool will be introduced early in the new ownership."

Cantabria was started by Jamie and Ron Main in 1981 when it was then just a two-bedroom house.

A letter from Cantabria to residents and their families, obtained by the Rotorua Daily Post, said it was now time for "Jamie to take a step back and enjoy life with her children, grandchildren and wider whanau".

Their son, Bradley Main, who runs Cantabria, told the Rotorua Daily Post he wasn't in a position to comment about the sale or the job losses.

Shirley Flay has worked for the company for 25 years and says she "feels numb" about the way her time with Cantabria was ending.

"I was horrified by staff cuts. Just before Christmas we were told the company was being sold, then we got a letter on January 10 saying we'd have to leave by January 31.

"There was a lot of tears and shock, from staff and residents - a lot of these people are comforted by familiar people so they are quite upset.

"I didn't realise there would be so many staff cuts."

A man, who didn't want to be named, whose family member was a resident at Cantabria, said he was sad for the staff losing their jobs.

He said many of the residents were comforted by familiar faces and voices and they had built a relationship with those staff members over the years.

"These ladies are special people and you get to know them."

- Additional reporting by Stephanie Arthur-Worsop