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Building A New Future At OCE

Dennis Moller was one of the original builders who worked on Ōmokoroa Country Estate from the ground up – and now he and his wife, Pauline, are creating the next chapter of their life here.

The 79 year-old spent much of his career working as a builder around New Zealand and also different locations overseas, including remote areas such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Whilst building in Australia in 1989 he happened to cross paths with developer Fraser Sanderson. This meeting led him to be employed the following year to help build stages one, two and three of our village.

Part of this time he chose to live in a caravan on site to reduce traveling time to Waikino where he and Pauline were developing a lifestyle block. “A lot of my character has gone into these houses including the Rec Centre, the retaining walls and all the seating around the bowling green.”

He clearly remembers building his neighbour’s house in 1995. “I never dreamed that all these years later we’d be living directly behind them, in house number 95.”

The couple met in 1965 when Dennis was a gym instructor and competitive body builder. He had won a number of titles including Mr YMCA , Mr Auckland and Mr South Pacific. Of course, Pauline was very impressed!

They say opposites attract. Pauline is reserved and steady while Dennis is “often reminded I talk too much,” he says with a grin. Love blossomed and they married in 1967. They had a son in 1968 and twin daughters a year later. Now they have seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

From 1968 to 1975 Dennis worked as a prison officer and part-time gym instructor at the maximum security Paremoremo Prison. Dennis is also a talented woodturner and singer. He performed in Jesus Christ Superstar in 1979 as the high priest Caiaphas with the Tauranga Choral and Operatic Society. Since arriving at OCE, Dennis has joined the OCE Singers and is enjoying the chance to perform in public again.

Over the years, the Mollers have owned numerous lifestyle properties which always included a menagerie of animals and park-like gardens which have often been open to the public. Pauline’s donkeys were a special delight to their B&B guests and also to the children she cared for whilst working for IHC.

While they have both lived busy lives, the pair haven’t found the transition into a retirement village an easy one. They tragically lost one of their twin daughters a few years ago, and still heavily grieve her loss. A seat will soon be installed at nearby Precious Family Reserve in her memory.

Covid greeted their arrival at OCE in February 2022 followed by the flu which took a mental and physical toll. But almost one year on, they’re both feeling more settled.

A big plus for them is living amongst the beautiful established gardens and mature trees, and also being able to create their own back garden with plants of their choice, to attract the bird life. They also enjoy the variety of wildlife on their daily walk to the beach with their dog Lacey. The supermarket and health care facilities being just a short walk away is also a bonus. They are blessed by having a lot of visits from friends and family who live in the area.

“Everyone here is super friendly and we can’t speak highly enough of the staff,” Dennis says. “It’s only logical that we see our twilight years out in the village where I’ve spent so much of my working life.”

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