Renowned Kiwi jockey and advocate for women’s rights Linda Jones MBE officially opened the Hamilton retirement village named in her honour in late June. She flew in from Queensland to open the village alongside Ryman Healthcare’s Group Chief Executive Richard Umbers.
The June 30 opening also celebrated the anniversary of Linda’s historical 1977 win against the New Zealand Racing Conference (NZRC) allowing her to compete against men.
Linda says she’s incredibly proud to have a village named in her honour and even knows some of the new residents.
“I’m very proud of it — I still can’t quite believe it. It’s a beautiful complex and it turns out I know some of the residents — and I know how much people enjoy living here and what the staff do for them,” says Linda.
Richard Umbers says Ryman is “incredibly proud” to name a village after Linda and everything she’s done for women’s sport.
“Linda stands out as a trailblazer for women, a brave and fierce competitor in a tough sport. She’s a New Zealand icon whose career was forged in this region and we’re incredibly proud to have her name on this village,” says Richard.
When Linda first started competing in the 1970s, women were only able to compete in female-only races. Linda campaigned for three years to get equal status for women and was successful after the passing of the Human Rights Commission Act in 1977. She achieved her first win in 1978 and went on to enjoy many more wins and historic firsts for women. She was the first woman to win a Group Race, the first woman to win at Ellerslie, and the first woman in the world to win a derby.
Linda’s career began in the Waikato, making her the perfect namesake for this lovely village on the banks of the Waikato River. More than 330 residents have moved into the Linda Jones village, which is home to a variety of sleek and stylish homes including townhouses, apartments, and serviced apartments. There’s also an indoor swimming pool, café, library, billiards room, and movie theatre, as well as an onsite care home.
Ryman has been in Waikato since 2002 and is currently developing a new village west of Cambridge, set across 8.6 hectares of land. Ryman owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,200 residents.