Sunday, June 23, 2024

Village community shines through Cyclone Gabrielle


For many Hawkes Bay residents, Cyclone Gabrielle required them to re-evaluate their needs, and shone a spotlight on just how important safety and community really is. Being unable to reach loved ones and cut off from basic amenities for an unknown amount of time, made people feel isolated and vulnerable. This wasn’t the case at Summerset Palms, in Te Awa.

Our village team jumped into action, supporting village residents through an unsettling time. Many of the staff had been personally impacted by the cyclone and left families at home, while they dedicated their time and energy to ensuring residents were the top priority. We lost power for a short time, but our generators were soon up and running, the kitchen staff prepared food and deliveries, and our incredible Head Office team sent out daily communications to families to ensure everyone was well informed of the safety and well-being of residents.

“We have been so impressed with the way Summerset stepped up. The village and construction staff, and head office, it was an incredible team effort. The efforts they went to get generators, food and water to us – in almost impossible circumstances – has been phenomenal. We live in a villa, so we are independent, but we had such support from Summerset. We wouldn’t have had anywhere near that where we lived before, we are so thankful”. – Tony Casey, Chair of the Summerset Residents’ Association at Summerset Palms in Te Awa

It was a comfort to our residents and their families, that the village community of friends, neighbours and staff supported each other through this challenging event. Where supplies were short, others shared what they had. When someone needed a hug and kind words, there was someone close by who opened their arms and reassured them. No one was left to get through the cyclone alone.

Summerset Palms was one of the only areas in Te Awa that avoided being flooded while surrounding homes and land were impacted. The bulk earthworks on the site raised and reprofiled the land to meet Napier City Council’s Code of Practice. In short, the land on which the village is built, has been raised to a required height to reduce risk in an area known to be vulnerable to flooding.

For most of us, our home is our haven. At Summerset, residents not only enjoy warm, modern, and high-quality homes, they also love the huge range of extra benefits that come with village life. This includes safety, security, and the support of an active community of like-minded retirees.

In addition, each village has a strong sense of community, where people look out for each other. These days, knowing your neighbours is uncommon in many Kiwi suburbs. But in a Summerset village, the atmosphere is welcoming, and neighbours are often good friends.

That’s what community is all about. Living in a Summerset village is all about enjoyment, making connections, and taking the time to do what you love. You can be assured that at Summerset, we take care of safety and security, so you don’t have to.

To learn more about Summerset or find a village near you, visit

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