When you first meet Ann and Marie, it’s hard to believe the pair only met each other a few short months ago, when they moved into neighbouring Kāinga Ora homes in Mosgiel last year.

The pair quickly realised they have a lot in common and became great friends. Ever since, Ann and Marie make sure to see each other every single day, catching up each morning at 10am for a cup of tea and natter.

With Marie moving from Wakari and Ann from another part of Mosgiel, the pair bonded over adjusting to living in their new modern and more compact homes.

“It’s a neat little community and we all look out for each other. When you go out to your back gate, there’s usually someone around who will wave hello. She’s not so bad as a neighbour either,” Ann says with a cheeky grin at Marie.

A shared love of gardening planted the seed for Ann and Marie’s friendship and the pair now regularly venture out together to get things for their gardens.

Ann loves seeing her little garden flowering and abundant with fresh vegetables.

“I’ve got enough strawberries to feed an army – just bring your own cream!’’ she quips.

Marie (left) and Ann (right) enjoying one of their daily catch-ups over a cuppa

For 67 year old Ann downsizing to a two-bedroom home means she no longer has to worry about stairs and maintaining a large section, which were becoming more challenging as she got older.

“I love it here. It’s no longer a struggle to move round my home, I’m closer to the grandkids’ school and I’ve been able to free-up a larger home for a family,” she says.

Marie is also loving life in her new home – especially the warmth.

“I used to live in a big, cold house, but it’s lovely and warm here. Everything is so close as well.

“I had to bus everywhere, but now I can just walk around the corner into town. I drag Ann out for walks with me as well – I always say, ’if you don’t use it, you lose it’,” 75 year old Marie says.

But the thing that has really made Ann and Marie feel most at home in their new space is each other.

“If either of us needs something, the other is always there to help. It’s made such a difference having great neighbours nearby – we have a real sense of community here,” says Ann.

Even Marie and Ann’s cats, Missy and Charlie, have bonded, moving between the two homes as frequently as their owners.

“We just clicked – so did the cats,’’ laughs Marie. “We see each other every day. She comes over for a cup of tea in the morning, and if she’s bored in the afternoon she comes for another cup.

“We hit it off like nothing else. She’s a cheeky wee thing, I do get her laughing.” 

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Page updated: 11 July 2023