Parkwood Retirement Village, in Waikanae, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The village has various events planned to mark the milestone starting with a catered luncheon for residents on Sunday followed by the grand opening of a sculpture garden.
Taking pride of place in the garden is a 3m high stainless steel tree with 50 leaves. The leaves move as water runs through it. Designer Ben Hoyle created the garden and tree.
Other events, to be spread through the year, includes a history walk around a lagoon where seven signs will detail the progress of the village from its humble beginnings until the current day.
And 21 prominent trees in the village will be named, which will lead to three separate walks.
"We've Nga Manu [nature reserve] out the back here," general manager Mark Rouse said.
"There's six acres of that forest in the village. It's just outstanding.
"We've got pukatea that are hundreds of year old and kahikatea that are 500 years old. The birdlife is stunning."
The village started when Lloyd Parker established a committee in 1969 before the first two houses were built in 1971.
"They actually got money donated from the community to start it on a bit of farmland in Sylvan Ave."
Lloyd, who had run a building company in the Hutt Valley, retired at 56, moved to Waikanae, and started Parkwood, which would become his main focus.
He was heavily involved in the gardens, designing roads, giving advice to builders, for more than 30 years, all without getting paid or tapping into his building company which had been handed down to his sons.
"An amazing man. When you think about it, 1971, retirement villages hadn't even been thought of, even worldwide.
"His wife Joan was a driving force behind him too. He came to Waikanae and saw a lot of lonely people and thought 'we can do something about this'."
The village, which is set 25 hectares of grounds, was an immediate attraction.
"Parklands [on one side of the village — the other side is Woodlands] was sold out in five years — 67 houses — on a piece of bare land.
Lloyd's final project was the opening of the fitness centre at the Lloyd Parker Plateau Centre. He died on April 18, 2004, aged 89.
"He was a visionary with a lot of physical energy," said daughter Jan Jobson who lives in the village.
"And he had a lot of knowledge of plants and how they grew and matured. Mum was extremely supportive and played a vital role."
Jan has lived in the village for 16 years.
"It's a great place to live."
Nowadays Parkwood, a charitable trust, comprises a retirement village of 209 villas, 54 apartment rest home apartments, 25 hospital studios, more than 350 residents and 150 staff.
"You become a reasonable size small town but we've always been accessible to the wider community," Mark said.
He has worked at the village for 27 years.
When asked about what he enjoys about working there, the answer was simple.
"It's the people. The original board set up the way the village was going to be run.
"It was a charity so everything was about the residents and being a community. That has continued and grown.
"We've got a number of staff who have been here for well over 30 years too. And the residents really enjoy their lives here."
The variety of work also appealed.
"No one day is the same — it's not boring that's for sure."