Hamilton has become the first place in New Zealand to be recognised as an age-friendly city.
It's the 600th city, or town, to receive the honour from the World Health Organisation, New York was the first.
Hamilton's age-friendly four-year plan covers nine themes; transport and mobility, housing, social participation, safety, open spaces and public buildings, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, community support and health services.
"An age friendly plan is not just looking at the issues, the problems that older people might have, It's more forward thinking and anticipating how to improve the environment but also the social environment as well," said the driving force behind the plan, Dame Peggy Koopman-Boyden.
Convenor of the Hamilton Age Friendly Plan steering committee, Dame Peggy Koopman-Boyden.
Dame Peggy is a noted academic who specialises in gerontology; the scientific study of old age, the process of ageing, and the particular problems of old people.
She said the trend towards an aging population is a world-wide phenomenon which cannot be ignored.
"This is something absolutely new, just like climate change. We actually don't know what to do, at worst, because we have never had it before, so we are trying to look at not just the cost of older people who may need more health security and housing security but also how they can contribute to society."
The plan was written after a steering committee, made up of people from community groups, got ideas from across the city.
Elizabeth Bowers from Grey Power said breaking down the barriers which often exclude older people, is a step in the right direction.
It is estimated that 12 percent of Hamilton's population is over 65 and this is predicted to grow to 17 percent, or to nearly 38,000 people in 20 years.
John McIntosh is the community liaison person for Life Unlimited, which offers health and disability services, advice and support.
He has lived in Hamilton for 50 years, is aged 70 and is disabled.
"If you make services or a city eligible for people with disabilities then it is eligible for everyone, whether it be aged people, whether it be mum's with prams, whatever it is."
Rangimahora Reddy, heads Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust in Kirikiriroa.
She said the age-friendly plan was exciting as it acknowledged older people, recognised what they have to offer, but also looked at the wider community.
"For us, aged-friendly means an age-inclusive environment so it is not only good for our older people, it is also good for our young mum's with their babies in their push chairs, it is good for our whānau with autistic tamariki. It's very empowering environments when you actually design in an age-friendly way."
Hamilton's Mayor, Andrew King, said he supported the age-friendly plan and having it driven by the community, and not the council, was a bonus.
"When you have an interest group which leads something it has heart and soul and I believe it will continue going forward because it is in their interests to drive it."
"Council should support things but not front-foot things like this," he said.
Dame Peggy Koopman-Boyden said to be successful the plan must involve all organisations in the city.
"We are pulling together the people who already provide facilities, services and policies for older people and saying to them, what could you do new and different or expand to do with the increasing numbers of older people."
Dame Peggy said New Zealand was lagging behind in the age-friendly movement, but with Hamilton now the first to be recognised, cities such as New Plymouth and Tauranga were not too far behind.
Hamilton, New Zealand (file picture).