It's been a long and often rocky road but finally Kawerau will be getting its new retirement home.

And the district council will be breathing a sigh of relief that the development is finally registered and under way.

"We've got one other retirement village in the town," said project manager Peter Christophers. "They have a waiting list of around 20 - probably closer to 30.

"There are people who've probably got to the stage in their lives where they're residing in three-bedroom houses, maybe even bigger houses, and there's only two of them."

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More than 64 units will be made available for the town of three thousand, and 54 people have already registered interest.

Trying to get the units over the finish line was an uphill battle, a fight which landed in the hands of mayor Malcolm Campbell.

"Whether you agree with it or disagree with it - and I certainly disagree with it - I think it's been made cumbersome with the legislation," said Campbell.

"I've found it really, really frustrating trying to progress at a speed other than glacial speed which local authorities are pretty famous for.

"This should have been up and going 12 months ago I believe. We took a 38 tonne rock out of the system, that's quite a bit of rock we didn't even know was under here!"

The units will provide much-needed accommodation for Kawerau's older population, a situation exacerbated by the housing crisis facing many rural towns.

"A lot of the people out here that are buying out here now are ex-town people, or people who wanted to move into a gated community.

"I know of three who want to go in these now, they're all local people and their houses have been sold as we speak - so that's going to free it up for much needed housing in our town," said Campbell.

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Alongside the retirement home, two other developments are in the works on Bowen St and Te Ariki Place.

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