Porirua’s Taiwung Yu Hoi, 107, NZ’S oldest man?
Most of us will never reach 107, let alone still be living at home and tucking into KFC with our own teeth like Porirua East man Taiwung Yu Hoi.
Mr Yu Hoi marked his 107th birthday surrounded by a handful of his 200 descendants in Porirua East last Friday.
Mr Yu Hoi was born in 1904 in Canton, southern China. He emigrated to Samoa in 1927 aged 24. There he grew cocoa plants, married a local woman and had 11 children. He moved to New Zealand in 1971 and made Porirua his home.
Mr Yu Hoi’s daughter-in-law Leonie Yu Hoi attributes his longevity to the Chinese herbs he grew and ate during his long career as a gardener.
He was always passionate about gardens and instilled a strong work ethic in his children, Mrs Yu Hoi says.
Another daughter-inlaw, Toto Yu Hoi, says his good health is down to a daily breakfast of hot water, porridge and toast. Granddaughter Jessica Yu Hoi discloses another possible elixir of youth: Mr Yu Hoi’s fondness for KFC.
Family is clearly at the centre of life in Mr Yu Hoi’s household, and dozens of family portraits hang on the lounge walls. About two dozen of Mr Yu Hoi’s estimated 200 children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren spent his birthday with him, eating two giant birthday cakes decorated with his photo, drinking bubbly and enjoying themselves.
Statistics New Zealand does not keep records of the oldest New Zealanders, but Mr Yu Hoi is possibly the oldest man in the country.
There is an 108-year-old woman in Invercargill and another one in Clyde. 109-yearold Auckland woman Lena Ray, believed to have been the oldest New Zealander, died in March.
Birthday party: Taiwung Yu Hoi spent his 107th birthday surrounded by his family, from left: great-grandson Xavier Yu Hoi, grandson Tom Yu Hoi, great-grandson Dakhin Yu Hoi, son George Yu Hoi, daughter-in-law Leonie Yu Hoi, daughter-in-law Toto Yu Hoi, daughter Towhina Yu Hoi, granddaughter Jessica Yu Hoi and granddaughter-in-law Ursula Tokuma-Yu Hoi.