The Retirement Villages Association’s annual conference heads across the ditch to Sydney in June 2017. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘evolution’ and delegates will be hard-pushed to select a favourite fixture on the programme – golf tournament and gala dinner aside, naturally.

The Thursday “morning after” sessions arguably present the best line-up, with keynote speaker Rob Fyfe, of Air New Zealand and Icebreaker fame, giving attendees plenty to ponder. Hot on Rob’s heels are “100 years’ combined wisdom”, otherwise known as a panel discussion consisting of RV rockstars Cliff Cook, Norah Barlow and John Ryder, interviewed by RVA executive president Graham Wilkinson.

Ryman Healthcare’s chief executive, Simon Challies is another big industry name to take the stand, opening the conference with a discussion on how to retain the ‘personal touch’ in the face of a growing business, a subject in which Simon will be well-versed following Ryman’s recent and rapid expansion into Australia.

Being in Sydney, the conference provides the perfect opportunity to pick a few Aussie brains on how their industry is faring. Among the Australian experts to take the podium is Ben Myers of Australia’s Retirement Living Council and leading Australian operator Patrick Smith, who turned Henley on Broadwater into a lifestyle resort that offers full care support.  Delegates will also be treated to a talk from rugby union legend Peter FitzSimons, one of Australia’s most prominent and successful media and publishing identities.

Beyond Australasia, Andrew Joyce of St Andrews RV and Martin Oettli of Real Living Group have many lessons to share with New Zealand operators following their study tour of retirement villages and aged residential care facilities in the UK and Europe last year.

Returning the focus to New Zealand, Garry Smith and Jason More of the Selwyn Foundation will discuss Selwyn’s agreement with the Auckland Council to manage the Council’s Housing for Older People comprising 1,452 units across 63 sites, looking at outcomes and the potential for scalability.

Researchers Kay Saville-Smith and Stephen Mills will also offer some food for thought in their back-to-back presentations discussing recent social research outcomes in the face of an upcoming election and changing demographics.

Banking, investment, demographic and social media trends also feature in this jam-packed agenda. In fact, if social media is your thing – or perhaps more fittingly, if it is not – the social media master class promises to be well worth the extra day in NSW.

It all happens the week of Monday 12th June at the Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park Hotel.

RVA Conference 2017, Sheraton on the Park, Sydney, 13-16 June 2017. For more information, visit


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