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New lifestyle village in Whitianga

The heart of Whitianga is a tranquil harbour surrounded by hills and bush on one side and flat land on the other.
 |  Lynette Gee  | 

The Moorings Lifestyle Village opened February 2024.

The harbour feeds a maze of waterways meandering through the flat land to the west.

The town started out as a small seaside town of holiday baches. A holiday and fishing mecca for the summer months.

Now, large holiday homes have risen from where baches once sat and high-end homes edge the canal frontages.

The Waterways is a Hopper Developments project, which started in 2001. For the Hoppers the objective for the Waterway’s development is for a multi-faceted community.

The vision included canal housing, a dockside development, including a commercial zone to add to the gateway zone which houses businesses like the Warehouse, PlaceMakers, supermarkets and more, edging Joan Gaskell Drive as you enter the Whitianga township. A medical centre, a retirement village, a hotel, and a marine precinct were all in the plan.

In February, The Moorings Village, a retirement village for those aged 60 and above, was officially opened. It sits in the centre of the Waterways, on a nine-hectare block of landwrapped on three sides by water.

The Moorings Village is the fourth retirement village to be built by Hopper Living.

The Hopper Living website describes The Moorings Village as ‘resort-style retirement living, that is thoughtfully planned with your needs in mind’.

“This project has been a long time in the making. The vision for The Moorings started before 2000,” said Leigh Hopper, a Director at Hopper Developments.

The Moorings fits comfortably with the Hopper brand. Hopper Living owns Maygrove Retirement Village in Orewa, The Anchorage at Marsden point, Country Club Huapai, and now The Moorings at Whitianga.

“Like all Hopper projects we work to add as much lifestyle value as possible to the places we build,” said Leigh.

The Moorings is a ‘licence to occupy’ model. “This means we can set standards, maintain standards, and deliver exceptional lifestyle and services,” said Leigh.

Stage one is underway, and sales have started. The first residents will move in from around the middle of the year.The long-term plan will see 220 dwellings, ranging from duplexes to high end canal-facing villas. There is also consent for apartments up to four stories high.

“We control the layout and can optimise things, in a unique social environment,” said Leigh.

He himself plans to move into the village in the future. “Here there will be comfort, camaraderie, and a unique environment to live in,” he said.

Leigh pointed out their challenge is to provide all the services. Currently a medical centre, subsidised by Hopper’s, sits next to The Moorings Village. Stage two of the medical centre will incorporate more health services. It will physically connect the Village with health age care, dementia care, and a range of medical facilities.

One of the drivers that takes people away from towns like Whitianga in older age, is proximity to a hospital.

Ruth Scandrett, General Manager of Hopper Living commented, “The opening of the Moorings Village marks a significant milestone for both Hoppers and the Mercury Bay area. While the primary focus is on units for independent living, the longer plan is to offer a variety of living arrangements, including integrated hospital care facilities”.

Whitianga is a natural place. It’s coastal environment and bush setting nurtures a lifestyle that is relaxed. Beaches and outdoor pursuits are on the doorstep.

There is a good range of cafes, bars and eateries, there are retail outlets aplenty, and there is an airport. Everything you need is there.

Consent has been given for a marine precinct facility that will take larger vessels, including super yachts. There will be hard stands, and boat servicing facilities. This will lead to job opportunities.

“Customers come to Whitianga, and they discover likemindedpeople enjoying life here, friendly people. This is a growing town. We’re in the magic triangle, with proximity to Auckland. More people want what we’ve got,” said Leigh.