Ray’s passion for model railroads started around 30 years ago when he lived in Howick. He had a dedicated room in his house where he spent hours assembling train tracks and decorating landscapes. Back then his grandchildren acted as rigorous product testers, making sure that the railroad was fully-functioning, and the locomotives were strong and reliable.
Fast-forward 30 years, Ray is currently working on his third model railroad at Pakuranga Park. Moving to a retirement village was not going to put a stop to his devotion. Ray installed a folding table in the garage of his villa where he built a new railroad from scratch. Thanks to the lockdown, he had much more time than he expected to create the scenery around the train tracks, that includes real coal, miniature plants and even a fast-food shop.
“The railroad doesn’t get a lot of running nowadays. The bit I enjoy the most is the making of things. I like pottering around and building things, also repairing them.” Ray is always ready to help his neighbours at the village if they need assistance fixing small appliances or if their car battery suddenly dies. Him and his wife moved to Pakuranga Park three years ago and they couldn’t be happier with their decision. “This is the only village that has streets that you can find in a New Zealand road map!”, he says excitedly. He enjoys the social side of a retirement village and one of his favourite activities is croquet. “Your neighbours are there if you need them, but they’re not in your pocket.”
Ray and his wife are the best example that retirement doesn’t have to be boring. They have a batch and a campervan, and before Covid they used to travel to Scotland every year to spend a few weeks with their son and his family. Of course, when they’re at Pakuranga Park, Ray keeps himself very busy working on his railroad and sometimes showing it to his neighbours (when not in lockdown). “They line up to see it!” he says with a proud smile. Seeing the locomotives efficiently circling the railroad is worth a visit, as well as witnessing Ray’s inspirational passion.