No se­cret to long and happy life

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By BEN ROGERS

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.’’

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