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

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

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.

Photo: ABBY BROWN

HAPPY COU­PLE: Gor­don and Au­drey Lukies cel­e­brated their 60th wed­ding an­niver­sary re­cently.

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