David and Trish Thomas moved 500 metres when they relocated from their Omokoroa home to OCE a few months ago.
Their prior moves were much larger; from a back country station to a vineyard, from Gisborne to the Bay of Plenty. David Thomas is the son of a pioneer. His father was a Gallipoli veteran who, from 1919, broke in a remote station in the Waikura Valley, inland from Lottin Point on the East Cape. When David, and his wife, Trish, a doctor’s receptionist he fell for while on a South Island trip, moved onto Waitangihia Station there was still no electricity. Despite the hard work and hardship, it was a wonderful upbringing for their two boys, who, now in their 50s, are enjoying successful careers in Melbourne and Auckland.
In 1977 the family moved from their leasehold farm to Ormond outside Gisborne where they bought 30 acres. And in the very early days of New Zealand winemaking, established one of the region’s first vineyards! They grew gewurztraminer and chardonnay grapes, their 1997 Phoenix winning an award.
In 1998 they discovered Omokoroa and felt it would be the ideal place to live out their retirement, closer to Trish’s Waihi based parents. They threw themselves into life in Omokoroa. David had been a county councillor and, as a J.P., was keen to contribute. Lions Club, Garden Club, Community Patrol, Treasurer of the local hall…they did it all.
They’ve cut back a bit since the move to OCE, “It’s wonderful to relax and do nothing,” says Trish, loving the many choices for “nothing” that abound at OCE. David is finding more time to indulge in his passion for fly fishing with regular trips to Rotorua, Tarawera, Rotoiti and Turangi, and for “men’s day out” tennis. They still enjoy their garden, albeit a smaller one.
The Thomas’s came to Omokoroa attracted by its natural beauty and peace, some of which has been lost in the peninsula’s dramatic recent growth. In OCE they have found it again. “We love the serenity and tranquillity here,” says Trish. They both speak highly of the staff and the way the village and its residents are respected and cared about.