No secret to long and happy life
You don’t often get a letter from the Queen and the prime minister in the same day.
Unless you’re turning 100.
Hazel Coward marked her centenary with a morning tea with family and friends on April 14.
She was Hazel Campton when she left Grey Lynn Primary school at the age of 13 – one of six siblings who grew up on Wilton St.
Her mother died a year after she was born and so she was raised by her grandmother.
She got a job as a bookbinder after leaving school and later worked in administration at The New Zealand Herald.
One of her many passions was ballroom dancing and it was at a dance that she met future husband Arthur Coward.
They married on April 15, 1939, and a year later moved into a new state house on Rarangi Rd in St Heliers where they raised their son Mervyn.
Her husband died in 1997 but Mrs Coward remained in their home until 2012.
The Cowards developed a mutual love of golf during their life together.
Mrs Coward’s prized possession is the hole-inone trophy she got in 1980 on the ninth hole of the Whitford Country Club, a course that she and her husband helped set up.
Perhaps the golf and dancing kept her fit and healthy but she insists there is no secret to longevity.
‘‘You just get old, everyone knows it when it creeps up on them,’’ she says. ‘‘My life has always been the same. I just made the best of it and have been happy all the way through.’’
She has one son, three grandsons, seven greatgrandchildren and one greatgreat-granddaughter.
Mrs Coward shows no sign of slowing down and looks back on her life with no regrets.
‘‘I’ve done all sorts, I played golf, I’ve danced. I have done all the good things.’’
‘‘There is nothing I’ve done that I wouldn’t do again.’’