Waikane may have one of the largest populations of over-65-year-olds in the country and a mobility scooter seemingly on every street, but the town’s promoters say they are sick to death of the town being tagged “God’s waiting room.” Former Kapiti mayor Brett Ambler coined the phrase more than 10 years ago and it stuck – perhaps a sign of its accuracy.

But Keep Waikanae Beautiful and Destination Waikanae are fed up with the phrase and the description “pensioner paradise.”

Norma McCallum, 79, has run Keep Waikanae Beautiful for 20 years and says the term ‘God’s waiting room’ should be dropped. …

Destination Waikanae member Sue Lusk, 61, said not just elderly people lived in the town.

“About 25 per cent of the population is over 65 but 75 per cent of everybody else includes a lot of young families and a terrific number of very well people. It is a bit heart-breaking when the myth is constantly reinforced.


It’s an impression that is easy to get and you’ll see more electric quad scooters whizzing along the streets than just about anywhere else.

In our first year in Waikanae in 2006 we asked a Statistics Department household survey worker how many people in the town were retired and the response was “about half.”

Despite the statistics claimed by Sue Lusk of Destination Waikanae quoted above from this stuff article, the four Waikanae area units have 37% of residents at the 2013 census aged over 65. This compares to 14% nationally. And the median age in Waikanae West and Waikanae Park is 64 and 61. This compares to 38 nationally.  More at stats.govt.nz