A famous son of Greytown, Sir Kim Workman [centre], held a blessing ceremony at the site of the planned Orchards retirement village with South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen [left] and developer Craig Percy [right]. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

Work on Greytown’s The Orchards retirement village will soon get under way after a blessing ceremony was held at the former Murphy’s Orchard site on Wednesday morning.

Late last year, developer Craig Percy told the Times-Age he hoped construction of the show villa and civil works would start in January with the main construction of stage one of the project to start in May or June.

He said it had been delayed while they worked through a few final consenting issues.

“Covid-19 also certainly played its part in the delay.”

Construction was now geared to kick off next month.

“It’s been two years since we purchased the land so it’s incredibly exciting.

“The first stage of construction is building our show room and initial community facilities.”

Holmes Construction had been contracted for this part of the build, but he was still working through the tender process for the civil works.

Before any construction work got under way, it was important to have the land blessed though and he was delighted to have this done by Sir Kim Workman, who is “held in such high regard”.

Sir Kim spoke of his childhood growing up in Greytown and his family’s history with the orchard – his grandfather used to pick apples for Papawai Marae, saying he was “just borrowing” them.

“It has a really special significance for our family,” he said.

There had been interest from all over the country, but primarily from Wairarapa and Wellington residents.

Sir Kim also said he would be happy to call the retirement village home one day.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said it was a fantastic development and opportunity for Greytown.

“It’s a massive asset. We are looking forward to seeing it under way.”