Dulcie Armitage is not sure what her secret is, but she has packed a lot of living into 100 years.
The Alexandra woman celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday.
The second-oldest of seven children, Mrs Armitage (nee Powell) is the last one living, but not the first in her family to make it to 100 also lived to see triple digits.
While her eyesight and hearing are fading, Mrs Armitage’s sense of humour is still sharp, along with her recall of memories decades ago.
The years have been full of family, her strong Christian faith and fun, she said.
“Where the years have gone, I don’t know very, busy.”
“I’ve done a lot of things and there’s nothing I would change,” she said.
She grew up on a farm at Waitati, milking cows before and after school.
When war broke out, she served with the New Zealand Women’s Land Service, working the land while the men were at war.
Her first posting was to Clyde Hospital, milking the cow and gardening.
That was “too boring” so she transferred to Charlie Weaver’s orchard at Earnscleugh.
Four land service girls worked there and on Fridays they would pack their lunches and ride their horses to the dam for the day.
Their evenings were spent with send offs and welcome homes for the soldiers, and many dances at the Earnscleugh Hall.
She met the love of her life, Henry Armitage, in Ranfurly, and friendship followed before they married in 1943.
Their love story spanned 69 years, with Henry dying just months shy of their 70th anniversary.
The early years of marriage were spent in the North Island mechanic in the Air Force stationed at Te Rapa near Hamilton.
The couple moved to Ranfurly with their young son, and a daughter and another son soon followed.
Life was busy Armitage started Plunket, a gardening club and Women’s Institute.
In 1957 the family moved to Gore engineering at Gore High School and Mrs Armitage had an orchid house.
A garden was created wherever she found herself, and life revolved around family and her strong Christian faith.
Mrs Armitage became involved with St John and started both Girl Guides and Rangers.
“They are all fond memories,” she said.
The couple moved to Alexandra in 1985.
More recent years have been filled with family grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren love of gardening continues.
Ranui Court Retirement Village in Alexandra has now been home for more than a decade.
She said the staff were great but having to rely on others after being capable for so long had been a challenge.
To celebrate her big milestone, Mrs Armitage had a special afternoon tea with her daughter and family at Ranui were unable to attend.