Working together key to success
Most people would warn against working with family or friends, but not Gordon and Audrey Lukies, who recently celebrated their 60th anniversary. They say it’s the key to their successful marriage. Abby Brown caught up with the couple after their celebrati
Gordon Lukies doesn’t think he could have been married to a housewife. He says he was fortunate he and his wife Audrey were both business-minded.
‘‘We always had shared aims, that’s why we stayed together,’’ he said.
They started a cleaning company in Auckland which became the second largest in the country.
They serviced and catered for most major buildings, like hospitals, in New Zealand, Australia and even Antarctica after merging with an Australian company.
The cleaning company was bought out by Americans.
The couple also ran a security company before getting involved with a carpet company for 30 years.
Both Gordon and Audrey have dual citizenship and still have a love for Australia. Their phone rang while speaking with the Matamata Chronicle and Waltzing Matilda could be heard as the ring tone, but they grew up in Auckland’s Devonport.
They both went to Devonport Primary School and Takapuna Grammar. Gordon and Audrey started dating at age 16, were engaged at 19 and married by 20.
Audrey said it was normal to be engaged for two years to get a glory box (a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in preparation for married life) together in those days but unusual these days to be married so young; now it’s normally in your 30s.
Being goal-orientated and business-minded were not the only things that attracted the couple to each other.
‘‘I was the last of my family and Gordon was an only child so I think loneliness gelled us,’’ Audrey said.
Gordon agreed. ‘‘We found each other and planned a life together,’’ he said.
They were always forward planning in blocks of five years.
‘‘We would think about what we wanted to become. If you think positive you become positive, if you think negative you become negative,’’ he said.
Gordon said they have had setbacks but they have worked through them together.
‘‘We’ve always been there for one another.’’
They have enjoyed each other’s company and visited America, Europe and the Orient together, although they disagreed over China.
‘‘I liked it; she didn’t,’’ Gordon said.
Throughout their marriage they have enjoyed good family relationships including supportive inlaws on either side.
‘‘We’ve got good family, they keep in touch. I’ve got a cupboard full of photo albums and my grandchildren say ‘people don’t do that any more’ and I said ‘it’s there for you when we walk on’,’’ Audrey said.
They have loved living in Matamata for the last three years where the shop owners are friendly.
They are still involved in the community; Gordon is part of Rotary and a group of people from Parkside go to the RSA weekly.
‘‘They call us the village people,’’ they said.
The couple love Parkside Lifestyle Village where there were plenty of activities on site. Audrey was going off to play bridge after the interview, ‘‘I’m not very good at it but I enjoy it,’’ she said.
They said people help each other out at the village and look out for each other.
‘‘There is a chap who is 92. He has to pull the blind in his kitchen up everyday so people know he is OK,’’ Audrey said.
The couple appreciate all of Matamata’s assets, especially Pohlen Hospital and its shuttle and doctors who visit Parkside annually to give advice on how to keep healthy.
They are also enamoured with mayor Jan Barnes who visited them and wrote to them to celebrate their 60th anniversary.
‘‘Jan is a plus,’’ Gordon said.
Barnes has made sure she knows everyone at the village, they said.
‘‘We are not being pushed aside,’’ the couple said.
Apart from the beautiful countryside that Matamata boasts, the Lukies were also lured back across the ditch due to 23 of their close relatives living here.
They have three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
‘‘They got sick of having to come over to Australia every time we coughed.’’
The Lukies celebrated their 60th anniversary with friends from Parkside, as well as some old school friends, in Matamata on September 6, although they were married on September 4. They will also be celebrating it again in Northland with 25 of their extended family.
Their children are happy their parents have retired to a beautiful part of the country, they said.
‘‘Our son could not believe such a place could exist,’’ Gordon said.
The sprightly couple know they have a perfect place to enjoy themselves.
‘‘We are going out with terrific enjoyment,’’ he said.
HAPPY COUPLE: Gordon and Audrey Lukies celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary recently.