KYLA HURLEY shares with INsite why she loves her job as village manager of Chatswood Retirement Village – and where she can be found when she’s not at work!

Born and bred in Taranaki, I followed my passion for caring by becoming a volunteer at the long-stay geriatric Barrett Street Hospital in New Plymouth when I was 15. Once I had finished school I got my first job as a caregiver in Kauri Lodge Rest Home before moving to Hawera Hospital and completing my Enrolled Nurse training.

I then returned to New Plymouth, where I worked at Highlands Park Rest Home and Hospital. After some time I moved to Palmerston North and worked in the geriatric rehabilitation ward until an opportunity arose for me to move to Tauranga. I worked there as a nurse, supporting people with physical and intellectual disabilities. While living there I met and married my husband and we had a beautiful daughter, Maysha. Unfortunately, the marriage ended when Maysha was two and she and I moved back to New Plymouth to be near our family.

When Maysha started kindy I worked in Taurima Rest Home as team leader. A position at the hospice became available and as palliative care is one of my passions, alongside working with the elderly, I commenced work for Te Rangimarie Hospice and was employed there when we moved into a beautiful, brand-new, purpose-built hospice facility. During this time I also worked as a casual enrolled nurse at Taranaki Base Hospital.

I met my now husband Philip during this time and with his encouragement and support I applied for, and was successful in securing, my first management position at Carrington Rest Home in New Plymouth. I had found my niche! I thoroughly enjoyed working as a manager in aged care and built a strong and supportive team of staff around me. As it was an older facility it was sometimes difficult to fill the beds but we built a good reputation all the same. I was in need of a maintenance man and so Philip joined our team.

During my fifth year at Carrington Rest Home, Philip and I took a trip on our motorbikes to the South Island for three weeks. I fell in love with the scenery and the places we visited. On our return to
New Plymouth we actively made plans to sell our house and find jobs in the South Island.
I secured a job as unit coordinator for Bupa at Parkwood. I loaded up my trike and moved on down to Christchurch. Several weeks later when the house had sold Philip and Maysha joined me. Again I was in a facility where a maintenance man was needed and so Philip joined me again.

I longed to be back in a management position and so was delighted when I was successful with my application at Holmwood in Rangiora, an Oceania facility where we had both hospital and rest home levels of care. Philip joined me again as maintenance man and we bought a house in Rangiora while also enrolling Maysha in school there. When we got our new puppy Macey, she also became a part of Holmwood, accompanying me to work every day, much to the delight of the residents and visitors!

After five years I was looking to move to a position where I could develop my skills further. When the position came up for a village manager at Chatswood Retirement Village, a privately owned establishment in Opawa, I sent my application off immediately. I am delighted to say that I was successful in the role and have now been proudly working for Brent Ennor and Rhonda Sherriff, both owners of Chatswood, for the past 13 months. I have a fantastic team of staff and we are very well supported by both Brent and Rhonda. With Rhonda also being our operations manager, we have a great relationship and she is a huge support and wealth of knowledge.

Our village is beautiful with an older-style, great character rest home and a hospital, apartments and studios that are only 18 months old. We have developed a very strong reputation in our community and in Christchurch and are proud of our high occupancy with regular enquiries and people wanting beds.

When the position of maintenance man became available it made sense for Philip to again join me and Macey also comes to work every day and is a hit with everyone!

I can honestly say that having my job at Chatswood has been the best decision in my career. I absolutely love my job and look forward to getting to work every day. I have a vast culture of staff of whom I cannot speak more highly and owners who both support and appreciate everything I do. It is evident in the work that the staff do that they love their jobs, feel appreciated and are there because they want to be; it is an awesome feeling to work in such an environment. In 2010 I moved my father from Carrington in New Plymouth to Holmwood and he is now a resident in our hospital at Chatswood. I speak very highly of the care that my dad is receiving there.

Recently we were able to sell our house in Rangiora and purchase a near-new house in Opawa, so we no longer have to brave the traffic coming into the city. It also means that we have been able to see more of the city and places that we haven’t seen before since moving to the South Island six years ago.

Most Sundays you will see Philip and me out riding – both on Harleys but he’s on two wheels and I’m on my trike. Between us we have four children and six grandchildren, with Maysha living in Christchurch with the youngest of the six, Ariana, who is 10 months old and who we see most days. The residents at Chatswood also love it when they visit.

To all of you in aged care, keep up the fantastic work that you do and if you are still loving it, then I hope you are where you want to be. I am!

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