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27 May 2016

The Selwyn Foundation celebrates 62 years of service

On 22 May 2016, The Selwyn Foundation celebrated 62 years of providing services to older people at its annual Founders’ Day event.

Founders’ Day is a tribute to the visionaries of the original Selwyn Village (at Point Chevalier, Auckland), which first opened on 22 May 1954 and to all those who have since contributed to the achievements of the Foundation and its ongoing mission to offer care, accommodation and support for ageing people.

When it opened, Selwyn Village was one of the first retirement villages in the world. It was a brilliant new concept devised by Anglican Auckland City Missioner, Canon Douglas Caswell, who had witnessed first hand the plight of elderly Aucklanders living in squalid housing in inner city slums. The Foundation has since gone from strength-to-strength, expanding beyond its original village site to other villages in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton and Cambridge. Its charitable mission today is focused on three key areas – the problem of social isolation and loneliness of older people, the effects of financial hardship on healthy living and the lack of social housing for elders.

To mark the anniversary, a special service of thanksgiving was held in Selwyn Village’s Chapel of Christ the King, with the sermon given by Anglican priest and Selwyn Board member, Vicki Sykes. During the service, two new Companions of the Foundation were honoured: Dame Diane Robertson – in recognition of her 22 years of outstanding leadership as Auckland’s City Missioner and her close association with The Selwyn Foundation during that time – and Russell Florence, who recently retired from The Selwyn Foundation Trust Board after eight years as Chair of the Finance Committee and, more recently, as Deputy Chair of the Board. 

The category of ‘Companion’ recognises those who have been generous to the Foundation in their spiritual guidance or leadership, or in their gift of time, expertise or significant donation.  

Pictured are Selwyn Board Chair, Dr Kay Hawk (left), with Russell Florence, Dame Diane Robertson and CEO Garry Smith at The Selwyn Foundations 2016 Founders Day event.

Dame Diane and Russell were each presented with a commemorative medal which was specially commissioned for the occasion. Hewn in bronze, the medal depicts the images of Bishop and Sarah Selwyn and the inscription: ‘For service of Heart, Hand and Mind’, a sentiment often used by Bishop Selwyn in his sermons and speeches.

Founders’ Day forms part of a broader programme to establish long-lasting traditions that will preserve The Selwyn Foundation’s history and commemorate those who have shaped and enriched it through the ages, so they may be remembered long into the future.