Wairarapa’s Mayors have welcomed their Districts’ inclusion in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Age-Friendly Cities and Communities programme.

Carterton, Masterton, and South Wairarapa Districts have joined like-minded cities and communities across the world committed to becoming more age-friendly, and to facilitate the exchange of information, resources, and best practices.

In New Zealand, Gore and New Plymouth District Councils and Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton City Councils are already part of the global network.

Joining the programme signals our Districts’ intent to continue its journey towards becoming age-friendly through the work of Te Hōkai Nuku Wairarapa Region Positive Ageing Strategy 2019.

The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities was established in 2010 to connect cities, communities and organisations who shared the common vision of making their community a great place to grow old in.

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell said he wholeheartedly welcomed the news.

“I welcome our membership of the Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities for Wairarapa and I believe we seek to live this in what we do as a Council with our Positive Ageing Strategy”

“Our kuia, kaumātua and older residents make a huge investment in our community, economically and in their strong support of community events, both in terms of organisation and participation, and their equally strong involvement in the local government election process.”

“I have spent the second half of my life in Masterton and Wairarapa and I think this community has always valued and cherished its older people, and sought to hear their voices.”

“I have seen our town grow and part of that growth has been welcoming people back to the region as they grow older, or move into retirement. Furthermore, I am now at the stage in life where I not only fit the older person description but benefit from the kaupapa developed from the Positive Ageing Strategy and Age-Friendly Cities and Communities work.”

“And I am in the fortunate position of connecting regularly with our older residents and enjoy hearing from them.  Masterton is working with and aspiring to be an age-friendly community and I know the entire Wairarapa shares these principles.”

Mayor Martin Connelly of South Wairarapa said the Councils are doing all they can to ensure Wairarapa is age friendly.

“Being part of the network, sharing and implementing its vision will benefit people of all ages. Age-friendly communities do not only benefit older people.  Accessibility to services is advantageous to all and enhances solidarity.”

Hon. Ron Mark, Carterton Mayor, said older people are integral to our social and cultural fabric.

“I have grown up and old with many of Wairarapa’s older people. They serve this community all their lives and continue to do so today. Whether they are reasonably new to Carterton and Wairarapa or they are born and bred here, we cherish the experience, knowledge, and kindness they bring.

“The Wairarapa Positive Ageing Strategy is important to our work in Council to ensure access for everyone is considered across all our mahi. From branding guidelines to building guidance, our older people are one of the groups we consider first. We will continue to incorporate the Strategy in our work and weave in the strands of the Age-Friendly City and Communities programme.”

Lisa Matthews, Wairarapa Region Positive Aging Strategy co-ordinator, said joining the network would help Wairarapa councils with their age-friendly journey through greater access to information, resources and research.

“Drawing on a world of knowledge and experience through both national and international networks will be beneficial to the work of the Strategy. It also sends a strong message to our communities that we are committed to creating an age-friendly Wairarapa.”

“We want people to spend their lives here in Wairarapa, and making the Districts liveable for all will benefit all of us.”


About the Age-Friendly Communities Network

The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities was established in 2010 to connect cities, communities, and organizations worldwide with the common vision of making their community a great place to grow old in. As a response to global population ageing and rapid urbanisation, it focuses on action at the local level that fosters the full participation of older people in community life and promotes healthy and active ageing.

The mission of the Network is to stimulate and enable cities and communities around the world to become increasingly age-friendly. The Network seeks to do this by:

  • inspiring change by showing what can be done and how it can be done;
  • connecting cities and communities worldwide to facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and experience; and
  • supporting cities and communities to find appropriate innovative and evidence-based solutions.