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More housing for seniors

Masterton’s senior housing waitlist has received some relief with four new units opening at Abbeyfield.

Abbeyfield Masterton has recently opened a new wing at its accommodation with four new resident studios. The shared lounge, dining room and kitchen facilities were also modernised in the new development.

The accommodation has 14 units in total, to house people aged over 65. The residents are selected on the basis of financial, housing, and social need.

House manager Jude Clark said the new wing was a long time coming, including relocating a historic vicarage to Greytown.

“I was very proud and excited to open the new wing.

“It’s taken eight years to get here, from the planning to the funding, then the building. Covid slowed things down, and then material prices went up.”

The accommodation, which is charity-run has a waitlist of 16 people.

“We’d love to build another,” Clark said.

“If someone has $4 million to donate, then we could house all of them.”

She said housing for the elderly was important.

“The average person in Masterton who sells their house can’t afford to move into a retirement village. The pension only gives a certain amount.

“If it weren’t for the older generations, then we wouldn’t be here. But here and now, we don’t give them the respect they deserve.”

Residents have their own studio room with an ensuite and live independently, and share meals prepared by a housekeeper/cook.

“This isn’t a retirement village, this is like flatting for older people. Loneliness is one nasty part of life. Old people are vulnerable to isolation.”

The house is managed by Abbeyfield Masterton, a registered charity run by local volunteers.

The new wing was named after the late Joanna Buxton of England. Her legacy funds made a significant contribution to the development. Thomas George Macarthy Trust and Trust House also contributed generous grants, and additional equity was invested by Abbeyfield Properties.

Community housing for seniors has been an ongoing issue for Wairarapa.

In December last year, there were 60 people in Masterton on the senior housing waiting list. Half of those were on the list for more than a year.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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