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"Music brought us together."

Pakuranga Park marked Anzac Day this year with their timeless and respectful ceremony, joining the nation to commemorate the service and sacrifice of all New Zealand servicemen and servicewomen. At the end of the ceremony, the village enjoyed the performance of The Eno Sisters, a lovely trio bringing back favourite songs of the wartime era. 

Julia Banks, one of the newest residents at Pakuranga Park, is one of the singers in the group: “I wish for Anzac Day to be both solemn and uplifting, through our songs. The soldiers who went to war wouldn't want it otherwise; they were individuals plucked from their ordinary lives. Yes, they were trained to hunt and kill, but they also engaged in life's ordinary activities - singing, chatting, and smoking cigarettes. I think they deserve a ceremony that respects their sacrifices but also celebrates their humanity."

Julia and her husband Trevor moved to Pakuranga Park in April 2023. They were Howick locals, with their last house being in Cockle Bay, so they were delighted to find a retirement village they liked so much in their own area. “We love our villa; it’s beautifully situated really close to the Lounge and the Community Centre where we meet with our friends. We have met lots of lovely people in Pakuranga Park.”

Trevor has had a very fulfilling career starting as a land surveyor. After that, he owned a large antiques business, a building company, a pie franchise, and finally, a video shop. “When I got into the video shop business, it was the time when DVDs were on the rise, so we had to replace 30,000 VHS with DVDs. It was a wonderful business, and I loved going to work. We sold the business when we saw everything was turning digital.”

If Trevor has led a remarkably dynamic career, Julia appears to match his versatility with her own array of professions and enthusiasm. Julia’s diverse endeavours have seen her as a teacher, singer, senior writer for Newstalk ZB, a performer, and also a playwright, with more than twenty shows written, some of them produced internationally. On top of that, she’s the inventor of the game SQUABBLES, where players work independently to create interlocking words. Her game has been marketed internationally by Holdson Games.


"SQUABBLES is different from Scrabble in that there is no board and everyone plays simultaneously rather than taking turns. This requires quick thinking," Julia explains. "Additionally, you earn more points for longer and more challenging words." Julia and Trevor have initiated a SQUABBLES club at Pakuranga Park, and really enjoy teaching new members how to play: "We love seeing them getting carried away with excitement as they strive to win."

Julia and Trevor have been avid travellers all their lives and have completed eleven world trips. They have also been singing together for thirty years with the City of Auckland Singers, participating in wonderful competitions around the world, including Sydney, Italy, and Wales.

Despite their retirement life being a bit slower than their previous adventures, Julia and Trevor are far from idle. Engaging actively in various activities within the village, they continue to relish life to the fullest. Whether it's participating in community events, nurturing friendships, or indulging in their shared passions, Julia and Trevor epitomize the spirit of active retirement and joyous living.

If you would like to know more about Pakuranga Park why don’t you call Sylvie on 027 314 5767
or email sylvie.borrett@realliving.co.nz

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