De­ter­mined duo cel­e­brates a cen­tury

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Reach­ing 100 years takes some de­ter­mi­na­tion.

And two cen­te­nar­i­ans at a Pon­sonby rest home have that qual­ity.

Sis­ter Carmel Mary and Norma Kem­ble reached the mile­stone within days of each other at St Cather­ine’s Rest Home.

Part of the se­cret to longevity lies in a per­son’s strong will, man­ager San­dra Hunt says.

“They are both very de­ter­mined women. You know what they say – sur­vival of the fittest – well it’s true. These two al­ways know what they want.”

Ms Hunt says it is very un­usual to have two res­i­dents cel­e­brat­ing such a mile­stone to­gether.

Miss Kem­ble was born in Grey Lynn on Au­gust 30, 1912 and was a teacher for most of her life and still knows how to keep peo­ple in line, Ms Hunt says.

‘‘She’s al­ways very much in con­trol. She uses her school­teacher voice and gives you the look if she doesn’t want you to do some­thing – then we all know to be­have.’’

Miss Kem­ble says the se­cret to liv­ing a long life is to al­ways calmly take your time and avoid rush­ing.

Know­ing how to look af­ter your­self is also im­por­tant, she says.

Miss Kem­ble was the only sixth form stu­dent at St Mary’s Col­lege in 1929 and went on to grad­u­ate from Auck­land Univer­sity in 1936 with a mas­ter of ed­u­ca­tion. The univer­sity had just 1000 students com­pared with more than 40,000 to­day.

Auck­land Univer­sity vicechan­cel­lor Stu­art McCutcheon said Miss Kem­ble would be one of the univer­sity’s most se­nior grad­u­ates in a let­ter of con­grat­u­la­tions sent to her on her birthday.

Fel­low cen­te­nar­ian Sis­ter Mary, a for­mer nurse from County Gal­way, Ire­land, was born on Septem­ber 2, 1912 and en­tered the con­vent af­ter ac­com­pa­ny­ing the mother su­pe­rior of the Sis- ters of Mercy to New Zealand in 1954.

She has been a Sis­ter of Mercy for 58 years.

Friends of Sis­ter Mary say she has been a kind, gen­tle nurse who is ‘‘al­ways up for an ad­ven­ture and is a great gig­gler’’.

Ms Hunt says a fel­low Ir­ish cen­te­nar­ian at St Cath- er­ine’s was quick to re­mind Sis­ter Mary to ap­ply for her cen­te­nar­ian bounty of €2500 from the Ir­ish pres­i­dent.

Both women marked their birth­days last week with a joint cel­e­bra­tion at St Cather­ine’s with fam­ily and friends.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Dou­ble de­light: Sis­ter Carmel Mary, left, and Norma Kem­ble have both cel­e­brated their 100th birth­days at St Cather­ine’s Rest Home.

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