Bruce and Judy Lewer moved to Ōmokoroa Country Estate eight years ago – but you’ll rarely find them at home.
Most days they’re out cycling, walking or swimming laps in the pool. Or they will have taken their motorhome away to a golf tournament somewhere around the North Island.
“I’m not very good at sitting still,” Judy chuckles. “We’ve been overseas a number of times – biking in Croatia and France, a bit of tramping in Italy. I know we’re really lucky because we’re both fit and healthy and that makes all the difference.”
The pair met while living in the Manawatu in the late 1980s and decided to blend together their family of nine children. They eventually married on a beach in Rarotonga in 2006 and now have a tribe of grandchildren and great grandchildren living all over New Zealand.
“We spend quite a bit of time visiting family in our motorhome,” Bruce says. “We just park up on their lawn. This is the third motorhome we’ve owned in the last 14 years.”
“Our life is our motorhome really,” Judy adds. “I could live in it. I hate dragging a suitcase around. Everything has its own place in the motorhome and it’s really good. That was one of the pluses of coming here to OCE, that there was free motorhome parking.”
Bruce is a paper hanger and painter by trade, and Judy worked for many years as a financial controller for a kiwifruit packhouse. Prior to moving to OCE, they lived on Harbour View Road so have been members of the Ōmokoroa community for the past 26 years.
“We came here so we didn’t have to deal with hedges and gardens and pools and all the maintenance aspects of owing a home. It was very hard to ever go away,” Judy explains.
Living at OCE has given them the freedom to jump in their motorhome whenever they feel inclined. They often travel to golf tournaments and stay on-site for as little as $10 a night. Neither of them claim to be particularly good at golf, having taken the sport up “too late” in their mid-50s. But they enjoy competing in veteran golf tournaments and have several trophies in their lounge to prove they do more than just make up the numbers. They also each have a ‘hole in one’ trophy – Judy earned hers in Napier in 2011, while Bruce secured his on the Ōmokoroa Golf Course earlier this year.
“It’s a good social sport. It’s good for your brain and gets you out walking for four and a half hours,” Judy says. “Plus we end up taking a lot more shots than other players,” Bruce adds. “We like to get bang for our buck! There’s a whole programme of golf tournaments on throughout the year so you can go from one to the other. There’s probably up to 30 or 40 motorhomes at these tournaments. So we know most of those people now.”
The couple have previously been members of various tramping and cycling groups, and have been known to tackle 800km trips while staying at backpacker’s accommodation along the way. Bruce was in his mid-70s when he biked around Lake Taupo and this summer they’re planning on taking their e-bikes down to the South Island to cycle along the West Coast.
Bruce is now aged 82, and Judy is 78. They are a picture of health and in no mood to slow down or stay put. “Age doesn’t really matter,” Judy says. “We’re not as sociable as we should be at OCE but we jog along quite well together. It’s nice having the security of village life so there’s support there if something should happen to one of us.”
The couple particularly enjoy using the library at OCE and appreciate how close they are to Ōmokoroa’s local supermarket, pharmacy, GP practice, beach and walkways.
“One of the great things about the Estate for us is our access to the golf course. We just walk down a pathway and we are on the golf course, no packing clubs into the boot of the car. And when we return from our trips away, it’s always so nice to turn down the avenue with the lovely trees and gardens.”
Family and staying active is what’s most important to the Lewers and Judy sums up by saying, “life is not the destination, it’s the journey!”