Investigation of a fire sparks the birth of New Zealand's biggest retirement village company.

Back in 1983, Kevin Hickman was a former policeman turned private detective. He was asked to investigate a resthome fire in Christchurch – and he did not like what he saw.

"The fire was in an old villa and there were four people to a room, all with shared toilets,'' Kevin recalls. "To me it was crazy, the standards were so poor. But that's how resthomes were in those days.''

Kevin would never dream of putting his Mum into a place like that if she needed to go into care.

"I thought, what would I want for Mum?" "I'd want a single room, with an attached ensuite. Not a shared ensuite, because that creates enormous problems.''


Kevin teamed up with business partner John Ryder to create a company dedicated to building beautiful independent retirement homes and apartments, and care centres to provide the best of care when residents needed it.

That care, in Kevin's words, had to be ''good enough for Mum.''

Adrienne Sincock knows what it is like to provide this level of care. She's clinical manager at Diana Isaac Retirement Village in Christchurch, where her Mum, Rae Blackmore is a resident.

Adrienne says it is a great relief to know her Mum is in safe, warm and caring hands.

"It's a relief that she can just enjoy the lovely environment and it makes her happy to be involved in activities, listen to the choir and go on trips."

Adrienne says it is easy to visit her Mum in the village and, when she leaves, she has peace of mind knowing that someone is always around for her.

"Mum has formed friendships with other residents, her meals are provided and there is no garden to worry about."

Ryman's villages include a range of retirement living options, from independent living apartments and townhouses through to assisted living in serviced apartments, as well as resthome, hospital and dementia level care.

Sharon Richardson and her family chose Ryman's Evelyn Page Retirement Village in Orewa for her mum Gladys because the village environment felt like one big family.

"Mum's really special to everyone, and we wanted to find somewhere special for her to live. She is well looked after and cared for, she couldn't be happier," Sharon says.

Brenda Hunter says she has noticed a massive change in her Mum Myra since she has been living in Ryman's Evelyn Page village.

"She knows everyone, has become really social and tries new things like table tennis. She is in a lovely place, is healthy, fit and enjoying life."

Ryman villages include resort-style facilities such as indoor swimming pools, movie theatres, cafés, bowling greens and hair and beauty salons.

Picture / Supplied
Picture / Supplied

However, it is the warmth of the village communities and the friendships and caring between residents and staff alike that makes the real difference.

You can experience this first-hand when you see residents sitting down together to enjoy their Delicious home-cooked midday meals, or laughing together during one of Ryman's complimentary Triple A exercise classes.

Since Kevin and John established Ryman Healthcare more than 30 years ago, the company has grown to become the largest retirement village operator in New Zealand and a trusted operator in Victoria, Australia.

The size of the villages and the facilities offered may have changed, but Ryman's core philosophy remains the same.

Care is at the heart of what Ryman do. And it's got to be good enough for Mum, or Dad!

Read more about Ryman Healthcare's story and its Good enough for Mum philosophy here: #goodenoughformum