Why Summerset

Our History

From small beginnings to a nationwide provider.

Laughing ladies playing croquet 4Summerset’s business was started by Wellington-based property developer John O'Sullivan in the Kapiti and Horowhenua regions. John had the idea to create a retirement village community his grandmother would happily call home.

He called the business Summerset, and the first village, Summerset in the River City, was built in Wanganui three years later. Not only did it have villas where people could live independently, but a rest home and hospital facility. This model, called integrated care, is repeated in most Summerset retirement villages. Soon this first village was joined by others in Palmerston North and Kapiti, Wellington and Hawke’s Bay. Today, Summerset operates 21 retirement villages throughout New Zealand, from Warkworth to Dunedin.  

It was John’s initial vision that has guided Summerset throughout the growth of our business. We have a fundamental belief in respect for the everyday New Zealander, the life he or she has led. We love the life our residents bring to our villages.

A simple way of thinking underlies much of the vision John imparted in the beginning - “If I wouldn’t have it for my grandmother, I can’t have it at Summerset”.

We currently have 1,000 staff supporting more than 4,200 residents who call Summerset home, and we look forward to welcoming more residents in the years to come.

Find out more about our people.