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Ōtau Ridge, Metlifecare

Ōtau Ridge is the first retirement village in Aotearoa registered to Green Star Communities.
The trailblazing registration signposts a project poised to deliver big social and environmental outcomes.
Essentials

Name: Ōtau Ridge

What: low-density retirement village including 122 villas (38 villas in Stage one are targeting 7 Homestar ratings), a 41 bed care facility (rest home/ hospital level) targeting a 6 Green Star rating, clubhouse, pool pavilion, wellness centre, redeveloped historic cottage (c. 1870) for community integration

Occupancy: approximately 200 residents

Where: centre of Clevedon township; 20 hectare greenfield site; 30 mins drive from central Auckland

Big picture: Ōtau Ridge will be Metlifecare’s 37th operating village in Aotearoa when it opens later this year

Background of the name: gifted to Metlifecare by

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki; the name Ōtau translates to a safe crossing place on the adjacent awa Te Wairoa

Address: 17 Clevedon-Kawakawa Road, Clevedon Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

 

Project Snapshot

Owner: Metlifecare

Project GSAP: eCubed Building Workshop Ltd

Architect: Designgroup Stapleton Elliott (villas); Foley Group (club house/care facility)

Main contractor: GJ Gardener Homes (villas); Gibson O’Connor Construction (club house/care facility)

Building services: Mesh Consulting

Project status: earthworks October 2022; construction commenced July 2023; first stage villa residents expected late 2024, four further stages; village completion expected mid 2027

Project certification : targetting a 4 Star Green Star Communities rating (registration March 2024)

 OTR Village Gardens

Metlifecare says registering its Ōtau Ridge project to Green Star Communities is about leadership, boldness and striding forwards on its green journey.

The company is already a standout industry leader in the Green Star space with six of its new care facilities targeting 6 Green Stars and many of its new villas targeting 7 Homestar ratings.

Metlifecare senior development manager, Joe Bartley says its Ōtau Ridge Green Star Communities registration is a logical next move which will deliver green gains for people and the planet.

 

“To date we’ve concentrated on our sustainable building stock – for example our 6 Green Star care homes. However it’s people that bring the buildings to life and form a community. So this Green Star Communities registration is all about bringing together sustainable form and function.”

He says an overarching benefit of the registration includes the opportunity to engage with residents, employees, suppliers and the local Clevedon community where relevant, for valuable input and partnerships on decisions and activities that will drive innovative green outcomes for the village.

Those partnerships have already manifested in Metlifecare learning from local iwi about reintroducing native flora and fauna to foster the nearby native bird population - the entrance to Ōtau Ridge is framed with Kawaka trees which are endemic to the area - and supporting the ecological regeneration of adjacent wetlands and riparian planting along the awa Te Wairoa riverbank.

NZGBC senior manager buildings and communities, Brad Crowley says the Green Star Communities registration will ensure the project does what it says it’s going to do.

“It encourages international best practices and infrastructure. It eliminates green washing through third party verification and it ensures all sustainable commitments made by Metlifecare are not value engineered out of the project.”

He says experience in Australia and Aotearoa shows Green Star Communities can deliver dynamic social and environmental upshots for local communities and propel developers and investors to leave a positive legacy for the future.

Delivering those outcomes has shaped the design vocabulary of Ōtau Ridge.

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Metlifecare Group Design Manager, Gemma James says the composition of the village:

  • fosters a community offering a sense of belonging and security
  • seamlessly integrates with its local landscape
  • honours the land and its cultural sensitivities
  • recognises ongoing engagement with Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki is essential to achieving strong integration between the built and landscaped environment
  • references the architecture of the historic cottage on site
  • references the colours of the local context
  • features solar panels, an energy efficient infrastructure and targets reduced greenhouse gases (no reticulated gas on-site)

A range of design and delivery initiatives at Ōtau Ridge align with the five impact categories used to assess Green Star Communities, says Metlifecare.

 

These initiatives include implementation of the climate change adaption plan; waste reduction during construction; encouraging healthy living with a new pathway network, pocket parks and cycle facilities; undertaking Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs); light pollution reduction to improve the local ecosystem; residential recycling system to promote sustainable living.

 

Metlifecare says its Ōtau Ridge Green Star Communities registration showcases its dedication to being loud and proud about sustainability in the New Zealand retirement village sector.

It says Green Star Communities will pilot the delivery of a human-centric village embedded with sustainability across design, construction and infrastructure.

Within the village the rating tool will deliver an enhanced social environment where residents are inspired to lead their best green lives.

About Green Star Communities:

  • a single holistic rating tool for communties, precincts and neighbourhoods
  • delivers lower carbon, more human-centric, healtheir communities
  • assesses planning, design and construction
  • provides rigourous rating acrosss five key categories - Governance, Liveability, Environment, Economic Prosperity and Innovation
  • three years between registration and certification
  • aims to reduce a development’s ecological footprint; to recognise its commitment to sustainablity; to encourage productivity and prosperity
  • aligns with the globally agreed United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to support projects on the pathway to net zero

About Green Star Communities in Aotearoa:

  • eight projects are currently registered to Green Star Communities in Aotearoa
  • all brownfield and green field residential developments – from reconfigured city suburbs to new sustainable satellite towns
  • there are currently two certified Green Star Communities projects in Aotearoa; Opanuku Precinct in Henderson and Unlock Takapuna; both 5 Green Stars; both are by Eke Panuku Development Auckland
  • Ōtau Ridge is on track to achieve its Green Star Communities certification in 2028