Adrienne and Nigel Donne

“We didn't want the stress and hassle of trying to sell our property and move in our 70s and 80s because you have less resiliency as you get older. We didn’t want our kids to have to make that decision for us, or to care for us as we got frailer because we've done that with our own parents. So a lot of thinking and talking within our family went into making this move, and there have been no regrets.”

We hadn’t long turned 65 when we moved in here but we immediately became part of the community and it just felt right from the beginning. We didn’t want the stress and hassle of trying to sell our property and move in our 70s and 80s because you have less resiliency as you get older. We didn’t want our kids to have to make that decision for us, or to care for us as we got frailer because we’ve done that with our own parents. So a lot of thinking and talking within our family went into making this move. But there’s been no regrets and we’ve found a fabulous community to live in.

These villas are just so easy to live in. They’re warm, they’re double glazed and well insulated. We just think it’s a delightful place to live as we age. We feel very happy with the size of the villa we’ve chosen and the layout of it. It’s just under 200m² which is perfect for us because it’s got the space we need and we’re not living in a great big mansion that needs lots of cleaning. I’ve got a sewing area in the garage and we’ve got all the space that we need to store things like electric bikes.

We were given a choice of colours for things like carpet and curtains and tiles. After we moved in, we sought permission to put a louver-type conservatory off to the side of the house which has made it quite unique for us. It’s really important to have flexibility and input because this is our forever home. I asked for the washing machine and the dryer to be lifted because front loaders are better if you don’t have to bend right down to the ground. And so we were able to work with the kitchen design people to get that done.

The villas are high spec. They’re architecturally designed, the ceilings are high, and the doorframes go almost to the roof so there’s a real feeling of spaciousness. The wet areas are also well designed. The bathrooms have good quality fittings and tapware. The finishing throughout the home is really good and the high-end carpet is lovely to walk on.

In terms of the facilities, they’re developing as we go but already the clubhouse has been built to a high spec and the movie theatre, library and health spa are fantastic. The furnishings and chairs are all comfortable and nice to look at, and there’s plenty of cushions. All that attention to detail has been done really well.

The residents have developed a very good relationship with the manager, Frances, and the operator, Nathan. They listen and they talk to us. They’re very receptive. Nathan is putting in new facilities as they expand the village. For instance, they’re putting in a new arts and crafts centre and Nathan’s very keen to listen to residents to get their input. I can’t imagine you would have that sort of thing if you went into one of the big corporate-owned villages elsewhere.

Management have also recognised the importance of allowing residents to own pets like a dog or a cat. A lot of villages don’t do that or are very restrictive, but Sanderson Group sees that as an important part of village life.

Not all villages have resident-led activities, they’re often led by the organisation. But Nathan’s been particularly supportive right from the beginning about ‘if people want to do it, we’ll support it’. That’s important because otherwise people can move into villages and be quite lonely. But there’s no need to be. We’ve got all sorts of games, hobbies and activities going on here that residents lead and organise themselves.

Adrienne and Nigel Donne are residents of Matamata Country Club’s sister village Tamahere Country Club which features the same homes and options.