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Idyllic Cambridge captures Aucklanders' hearts

Idyllic Cambridge captures Aucklanders' hearts

As John and Frances Casey approached retirement age they knew they wanted to get out of Auckland and build a solid home that would last throughout their senior years in a small Waikato town close to some good fishing spots.

Initially they thought Cambridge, because of its centrality and great reputation for all things lifestyle, would be too expensive for their carefully-considered budget. But after an extensive region-wide search, some input from Generation Homes and some careful number crunching, they found their perfect spot in the Cambridge Park subdivision.

We caught up with the ex-pat English couple who are proud to have been kiwis for the past 35 years, and found out their move was so successful that their best friends from Auckland have also joined them in Cambridge, and also partnered with Generation Homes.

Quote from John Casey
The whole plan was based on Generation Homes’ performance and ability to deliver on very tight deadlines and stringent dates – there was basically zero room for mistakes or delays.

John Casey

GH Can you tell us about your journey of moving to Cambridge, and what spurred your partnership with Generation Homes?
JOHN Well, 20 months ago I was winding up my business and we were both preparing for retirement. Obviously the Auckland property market is on a constant upward spiral and we were in a good position to take advantage of that, having bought a house in Glen Eden when we first arrived from the UK 35 years ago.

We knew we wanted to leave Auckland and spent a good chunk of time researching and visiting small Waikato towns, including Te Aroha, Matamata and Te Kauwhata. We couldn’t find a place that felt 100 percent right. We didn’t think we could actually afford to buy in Cambridge, but one weekend we ended up there and decided we would really have a go at making it work.
FRANCES We initially looked at existing houses then looked at sections on-line because we didn’t think we could afford to build new then we came across Cambridge Park, and the Generation Homes showhome. After talking with staff and getting a few figures we decided we could do it.
JOHN We didn’t want to move twice, so renting for a period before buying was not an option, and this was where Generation Homes’ guaranteed build time became crucial, logistically speaking.

We were able to buy the Cambridge section, borrow from the bank to build, and auction our Glen Eden home to coincide with the move in date of our new Cambridge home. That whole plan was based on Generation Homes’ performance and ability to deliver on very tight deadlines and stringent dates – there was basically zero room for mistakes or delays. Obviously we’re here and we’re smiling, so it all worked out perfectly.
GH Great, we’re always pleased to be able to confidently offer trust, and ensure that trust is well-placed. Can you walk us through the guaranteed build period?
FRANCES Because of the research we’d done before committing, we knew how the whole process would unfold. There was trust already there from our pre-build dealings, and we only went on-site four times. Once was for a walk-through with the electrician to ensure the services went in exactly where we wanted, and the other times were just to have a look at progress.
JOHN Our sales consultant Michaela Churstain, who works out of the Cambridge Park showhome was great throughout the build. She never failed to send fresh photos and detailed reports every week. I don’t think we could praise her highly enough, and we actually call her St. Michaela.
GH Future-proofing for your retirement years was important to you. How did you go about this?
FRANCES As well as never having to move house again, we wanted something that would work for us even if we live to be 120 year olds, so we went with the Generation For Life option, giving us wider doorways and hallways, and walk-in showers in both bathrooms. That means we’re well equipped for any mobility issues we might have if we do get to be that old.


JOHN We chose the Montana plan, which works well for our 850 sqm section and has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a three car garage. I’m a keen wood-worker, so have set up a workshop in the extra garage space.
GH So 20 months later and everyone’s happy?
FRANCES Definitely and there’s some other satisfied Generation Homes customers that have joined us in Cambridge too.
JOHN Our very dear friends Geoff and Sue Mears were so impressed with everything about our move to Cambridge that they’ve got out of Auckland and now live just around the corner in a lovely house built by Generation Homes too.
FRANCES They first visited a little while after we moved in, and were very impressed with the house, and with Cambridge. A few months later they informed us that they’d bought a section and would be building with Generation Homes. It was great news as they were the first people we made friends with when we initially arrived in New Zealand all those years ago, and our kids have all grown up together.
JOHN Geoff is very clued up – he’s a civil engineer who ran the Auckland City Council and Rodney District Council Environmental Services department for many years, so he wouldn’t invest in anything other than a solid, well-built house, which says a lot for Generation Homes.
GH Now that you’re fully into retirement mode, give us a rundown of a typical day.
JOHN Well I’m in the garage workshop most days doing a lot of timberwork for laying out our quite large garden, plus a bit of carving too. We’re very close to the Waikato River as well, so I’ve been doing a bit of exploring and found that there a quite a few good spots for English river fishing like I used to do as a boy, casting for perch and those types of fish.
FRANCES We’ve been doing a lot to get the gardens established, and I love spending a lot of my spare time in my craft and sewing room.
JOHN Yep, retired life is pretty good.  

Frances gets underway on her next project in her dedicated craft and sewing room.