Life is a walk on the beach and jolly hockey sticks for Orewa empty nester Marion Ellis. Settling in Orewa is something Marion had in the back of her mind for many years, while bringing up her children in Takapuna.
Once the children left school, she made the big move to Orewa’s Kensington Park four-and-a-half years ago, and now it’s all about the easy beach lifestyle and ease of getting around to do the things she is passionate about like hockey umpire coaching, and time with friends and family.
In 2016, Marion was awarded Hockey NZ Umpire of the Year, an acknowledgement of her 40-year contribution to NZ hockey.
“That was wonderful to receive — hockey is my passion,” she says. “I still work with umpires and junior umpires. Living in Orewa means I can support young umpires a short drive from here in Warkworth.”
The Hibiscus Coast’s Orewa Beach is a friendly resort town 30 minutes north of Auckland and Marion’s neighbourhood, Kensington Park, is near to Orewa’s beautiful sands, shopping village and the collection of local bush walks.
Kensington Park’s location close to Orewa village means Marion enjoys the local shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. The small village life really appeals to her after the hustle and bustle of Takapuna life: “There is not much rush, it has a library, restaurants and all the medical help — as you get older it’s good to have the medical services close by.”
Marion and her dog, Fin, enjoy their terraced double-level, modern, warm sun-soaked home, in a neighbourhood that she says meets all her lifestyle needs and wants.
“I feel right at home here because of the fellowship and connection in this neighbourhood. We like to meet up for meals in Orewa. Sometimes, instead of heading to the village, a number of us enjoy semi-regular gatherings here at the park with wine and snacks. It is very social and friendly.”
The Kensington Park development has blossomed to more than 350 homes, attracing a population of more than 500 people. “I do love the place. It is a 500-metre walk to get to the beach and estuary, great places to walk with Fin, and there are always people to chat with.”
Depending on the weather, Marion enjoys connecting with friends and playing petanque, before taking an amble along Orewa Beach.
Marion is very quick to add that the park is “definitely not a retirement village”. All of the homes are freehold titles with no obligation back to the development when selling: “I can sell my place if I want to as my needs change.”
Walking around the neighbourhood, it is easy to see that there is a mix of older and younger people living there.
According to Marion, empty nesters love the neighbourhood for the slower pace, resort feel, and security. “Everything here, like the gardens, is taken care of. There’s nothing to worry about if you head away on holiday, and when you do get home the gardens are in good order. Also, there is only one entrance into the neighbourhood so the security is great.”
She says there’s always something to get in behind if you feel like it, like time in the swimming pool and gym, or supporting children at the local school with a reading programme, or taking part in book clubs and garden groups. But for her and Fin, the big attraction is the beach access.
“The beach is wild and you can go down there on some days and not see anyone. Other days, there a lots of people. I walk every day — I am down there every morning and it is like a dream.”
More homes are under construction on the park’s boundary with the large Alice Eaves bush reserve, boasting views out across and into the dense, bush-clad reserve.
1 Parkside Dr, Orewa
0800 576 7392