The Far North's biggest retirement village to date has been launched in Kerikeri with local hapū Ngāti Rēhia and mayor John Carter opening the first stage of the $170 million development.
The new complex, at the end of Hall Rd, was also formally named Te Puna Waiora during the March 31 ceremony.
The name translates as 'The Source of Wellbeing'.
Once complete the complex will house about 340 people in 200 villas and townhouses with up to 80 more in care.
It will also have a residents' clubhouse and a wellness centre incorporating a cafe, gym, swimming pool and activity spaces.
The company has 33 retirement villages around the country with more than 4850 residents but Te Puna Waiora is just its second greenfields development.
Stage one involves 16 two and three-bedroom independent living villas, the first of which are now open as show homes.
Residents will be able to move in from September.
Arvida chief executive Bill McDonald said Te Puna Waiora would be ''inclusive, not exclusive'' and integrated into the Kerikeri community.
It would contribute significantly to Northland's economy with a project value of more than $170m and more than 100 jobs in the construction phase. It was expected to create about 60 fulltime jobs once complete.
Carter described the launch as ''a seriously important day'' while the scale of the development reflected the increasing life spans of baby boomers plus Northland's attractiveness to Auckland retirees.
The Far North, unlike many districts around the country, does not charge developers for the council infrastructure required, but Carter said Arvida had agreed to fund an upgrade of Hall Rd plus construction of footpaths.
The company would also pay for walkways on esplanade reserves and an upgrade to the Hall Rd/Kerikeri Rd intersection.
He said the development would bring employment opportunities to a district where they were badly needed, noting that at present 27 per cent of Far North households earned less than $30,000 a year compared to 8 per cent nationally.
Hall Rd resident Lindis Capper-Starr said, however, the upgrade to Hall Rd was a requirement set by commissioners who approved the resource consent, and wouldn't be triggered until the first 150 units were occupied.
The commissioners also instructed Arvida to build footpaths 18 months ago, work that had only recently started.
Residents were wary of delays because people on Rainbow Falls Rd, where another retirement complex had been built, had so far waited seven years for an upgrade of their narrow road despite a dramatic increase in traffic.
While Carter said the new village was an economic boon for the Far North, Capper-Starr feared it would be a drain due to extra public infrastructure needed.
Kerikeri's new sewage plant, which the village would connect to, was already close to capacity.
As a result ratepayers around the district, including low-income areas such as Moerewa and Rawene, would effectively end up subsiding the Arvida development, she said.