Meet Kevin Mara: Over 10 years living at the Y hostel in Lower Hutt

In this article you will meet one of our tenants from the Y hostel in Lower Hutt. Kevin Mara has been living in our hostel for over a decade and he has absolutely loved every minute of it. Our hostel location works perfectly for his lifestyle, Kev is in his 70’s, he swims every day and joins in regularly with our Y activities. Kevin is inspiring our next generation by sharing a little bit of his day to day life with us.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a happy 74 year old retiree. I look forward to progressing to my positive potential based upon my positive past.
The words which came to me when I was quite young were: I wish to develop myself physically, mentally and emotionally to the full and in a balanced
way. I have endeavored to do just that via exercise-yoga, swimming, walking, studies-school, university, polytechnic, cultural-music, literature, art, workplace-various jobs.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Lower Hutt/Wellington. I spent a lot of my time over the years at the following places:
1. School-St Bernard’s college is where I went to school.
2. I got my degree at Victoria University: BA in Economics, BA Bachelor of Arts and Mathematics.
3. I love spending time at the Library-Hutt Valley Memorial.
4. I get my exercise at Huia swimming pool, where I still swim almost every day
5. Hutt valley polytechnic- where I worked both as a student and as a tutor.
6. I worked at the following public service departments before and after graduation: treasury/customs/trade + industry/inland revenue dept.
7. I’m a former member of the Hutt Valley tramping club-I have tramped throughout New Zealand.

What did you do for your job?

I retired at the end of 2017, for the previous 10.5 years I worked at the inland revenue department. Prior to that I spent a number of years in Masterton working on an orchard and as assistant manager in the empire lodge in Masterton/in the JNL timber mill. Prior to living in Masterton I was overseas.

What’s something interesting about you that people may not necessarily know?

I believe I am very much an open book. I believe everything is a lot better that way. If people know what you are interested in they are more likely to contribute to one’s knowledge. However if I have to mention a few things: At the end of my last year of school two school friends and I cycled from Lower Hutt to Auckland. We started out early Sunday morning and got to Auckland 4pm on Friday. We stayed at the Avondale motor camp and got the train back on Sunday. I have also tramped in NZ from Stewart island to Great barrier island.

*I love the sea swimming. I have won three medals in the capital classic sea swimming competitions.

“The words which came to me when I was quite young were: I wish to develop myself physically, mentally and emotionally to the full and in a balanced way.” 

Tell us when you moved into the YMCA hostel in Lower Hutt and what made you
choose our hostel as place to live long term?

I came to the YMCA hostel in Easter 2007. I had heard that it was a clean, comfortable place. The hostel has certainly proven itself.

What is your favorite activity at the YMCA and how does it impact to your life?

My favorite activity is the stretching activity on Thursday morning. It impacts on my life as it gives me ideas for my own exercise program.
Also I enjoy the company of others, all exercising together.

What do you think about our hostel location and facilities?

The hostel location is ideal as it is central to transport/shopping/cultural sporting places. The hostel facilities are ideal, for instance the drying racks in the laundry are great because I can easily dry my swimwear and towel everyday.

What things do you do to keep yourself fit and healthy?

1. Exercise-my own program + the YMCA’s on Thursday morning (Yoga + Taiichi).
2. Swim-huia swimming pool and oriental bay + aqua aerobics on Sunday afternoon.
3. Walking-along Hutt river bank and oriental bay parade, Wellington wharf, botanical
gardens, Eastbourne.

What are your favourite places in Lower Hutt?

1. Library
2. Huia swim pool
3. Petone lighthouse film theater
4. Hutt river
5. Eastbourne
6. Te Whiti park
7. Petone working mens club
8. Hutt Valley Irish society

Do you have any words of wisdom for our younger generation?

The timeless imperative:
Know thyself and to thine own self be true.
And the various formations:
Know thy strengths and to thine own strengths be true.
And the ultimate, the holy grail:
Know thy spirit and to thine own spirit be true.

What do you look forward to now?

Realizing my positive potential, based upon my positive past.


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