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Selwyn Foundation To Give Up To $100 Million To Vulnerable Seniors Following Agreement With Metlifecare

Selwyn Foundation to give up to $100 million to vulnerable seniors following sale and purchase agreement with Metlifecare

The Selwyn Foundation plans to increase its charitable giving to a target of $100 million over the next 10 years, following the proposed transfer of half of its retirement village capacity to Metlifecare. The proceeds of this sale will be ethically invested by the Foundation to provide an endowment to lift its ongoing charitable mission.

The sale agreement includes villages at Selwyn Park, Selwyn Heights, Selwyn Oaks, Selwyn Wilson Carlile, Selwyn St Andrew’s and Selwyn Sprott in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge and Wellington. Metlifecare has also agreed to acquire Selwyn’s commercial laundry. It will take over the running of these operations in the first quarter of 2022, assuming the conditions of the acquisition are met.

This move follows a Strategic Review initiated last year by The Selwyn Foundation Board. In the context of increasing hardship experienced by vulnerable older people*, the Board has focused on the best way to deliver on the Foundation’s Constitution and charitable Mission: to maximise its social and community impact among seniors in need.

Garry Smith, Chief Executive Officer at The Selwyn Foundation, said: “At the heart of this proposed transformation is a desire to better deliver against our charitable Mission to support as many vulnerable older people as possible. To date, our primary focus has been within our villages, but the greatest need exists in the wider community. This pathway means that we’ll be able to do even more to support vulnerable older people and to help create brighter futures for those who are most disadvantaged.”

Earl Gasparich, Chief Executive Officer at Metlifecare, said: “We’re delighted to have reached this milestone with The Selwyn Foundation. The proposed acquisition of these six Selwyn sites is an excellent opportunity for Metlifecare to take a big step forward towards the strategic objectives of our Full Potential Plan, increasing our provision of aged care, providing good geographical diversity within our portfolio and significant further development potential. We look forward to working closely with The Selwyn Foundation to ensure minimal disruption to staff and residents as we transition to Metlifecare ownership.”

Under the sale agreement, The Selwyn Foundation will retain ownership of its historic Selwyn Village in Point Chevalier, Auckland which opened in 1954 as one of the first retirement villages in New Zealand and the related Hansen Close site in Birkenhead, which encompasses its innovative ‘Selwyn House’ community living residence that provides affordable housing for single older people. These villages comprise half the Foundation’s current village capacity.

The Foundation intends to significantly increase its charitable giving, expanding its reach to more vulnerable senior citizens in local communities with the aim of achieving real outcomes that have a positive impact on people’s lives. It will focus on the areas of loneliness and social isolation, hardship support, affordable housing and spirituality, while upholding Tikanga Māori, Tikanga Pasifika and Tikanga Pakeha principles.

“We see an increasing need amongst groups of older people, who are facing financial hardship and loneliness, with a quarter living alone. More are now entering retirement with little or no savings. It’s a ‘perfect storm’ which is having a negative effect on the wellbeing and quality of life for a growing number of older people who are more vulnerable as a result,” said David Cunliffe, Chair at The Selwyn Foundation.

In its new form, the Foundation will continue to fund charitable initiatives and provide support to enable older people to have access to housing, social supports and care options. It will also establish and fund new partnerships to work in communities with higher risk and need, including Māori and Pasifika, and will work with others in aged care to deliver evidence-based thought-leadership, influence policy decisions and champion issues of importance for older people.

“We understand the significance of this news for our staff, residents and families and we’ll be working very closely with the Metlifecare team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of all the care and services that Selwyn residents currently enjoy,” said David.

“Selwyn’s core values were a prime consideration when deciding who we might sell our villages to. Metlifecare was - by far - our first choice, not only because of the commercial terms but also their very good values’ fit for our staff and residents and their integrated approach to care and wellbeing.”

“The Foundation’s Mission will remain steadfast. We look forward to creating an enduring legacy that will provide further support to the growing numbers of vulnerable older people in Aotearoa New Zealand, now and in the decades to come,” said Garry.


Notes to editors:

1,300 residents in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Cambridge and Wellington. The Foundation operates 40 drop-in ‘Selwyn Centres’ which bring over 800 isolated older people of all religious, cultural and spiritual backgrounds from their own homes, to share companionship and social activities in a warm and friendly environment. Over the years, the Foundation has evolved and has built and managed its assets to provide as much help to vulnerable older people as possible. In 2016, it formed a partnership with Auckland Council to establish specialist community housing provider, Haumaru Housing, which provides affordable rental housing to more than 1,500 vulnerable seniors.

* Supporting facts

  • More than 715,000 people aged 65+ live in New Zealand. This is expected to grow to around 1.3m and 1.5m by 2046
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of older people live alone. New Zealand Superannuation assumes ‘couples’ reach retirement mortgage free yet increasingly, older people are reaching retirement with mortgages or still renting
  • Half of New Zealand's older population in the future will live in rentals by 2036, if policy doesn’t change substantially. Those over 65 who are renting are more likely to have lower incomes, fewer financial assets and poorer health compared with older homeowners
  • There are 9,000 65+ people with a net worth of less than $70K in the Auckland region
  • The current New Zealand Superannuation does not cover the weekly minimum cost for Healthy Living of a single person, who is 65+ and privately renting (there is a shortfall of $114/w $5,980pa).
  • 13% of people aged 75+ report feeling lonely. A lonely person is significantly more likely to suffer an early death by 30% to 60% and men aged 85+ have one of the highest suicide rates among all age groups in New Zealand.


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