Blessing of the ground for new Kandahar villas. Left to right: Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa representative Henare Manaea, Enliven chaplin Merv Jones, Kandahar home manager Peter Newman, cultural adviser Jim Berry and Presbyterian Support chief executive Pat Waite. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

KAREN COLTMAN
karen.coltman@age.co.nz

Construction of up to 52 retirement villas on 10 acres at the back of Kandahar retirement village in Masterton has started.

The first 12 two-bedroom villas are expected to be ready in October.

Enliven, Presbyterian Support Central has consent for up to 52 villas on Totara Street, Lansdowne. These villas will meet up with the main Kandahar Home on Roberts Road.

Iwi representatives, residents and staff held a blessing on the land on Sunday with Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa representative Henare Manaea and Enliven chaplain Merv Jones officiating. Contractors started clearing the site on Monday.

Conceptual image of the new villas being built on Totara Street, Lansdowne.

Chief executive Pat Waite said the villas are to be like the ones at Kowhainui Home in Whanganui. They are expected to be marketed at around $450,000.

“For Enliven this is much more than just building a few houses,” Waite said.

“We have a strong emphasis on creating a caring, supportive and stylish community for Wairarapa retirees,” Waite said.

“Wairarapa has experienced significant growth and development in the last few years, we’re excited to be offering retirees another lifestyle option.”

The development would include a village community centre which will be available for use by village residents and the wider Wairarapa community.

Enliven is part of the not-for-profit organisation Presbyterian Support Central, which is not financially connected with the Presbyterian church operations. It has owned the land at Kandahar Home for around 60 years.

A spokesperson for the organisation said the discussions about the development have been ongoing for about a year and during that time inquiries about the vacant land greatly increased.

“It just felt like the right time to do this,” she said.

This development adds to the 50 to 55 villas being built by Arvida to expand Lansdowne Park. The cost of the Lansdowne development is estimated at $19 million.

There is a waiting list of 30 for those villas.