Se­cret to long life is hard work and good food

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - RE­BECCA MOORE

Hard work and good food is Is­abelle Matthews’ se­cret to liv­ing to 102 years.

The Southland wo­man, known as Isa, grew up on a farm in Spar Bush, help­ing her dad work and eat­ing lots of good food, in­clud­ing home-grown veg­eta­bles.

Grow­ing up she liked oys­ters, blue cod, onions, pota­toes, car­rots and toma­toes, and she had an or­chard with peaches and ap­ple trees and dif­fer­ent types of berries.

Bring­ing in lots of fresh pro­duce made her very pop­u­lar at school, she said.

‘‘I al­ways had plenty of veg­eta­bles. I loved them and I still do.’’

To­day she will cel­e­brate her 102nd birth­day with fam­ily and friends at an af­ter­noon tea at Vick­ery Court Home and Hos­pi­tal, where she has lived for the past three or four years.

Back when the home was much smaller, she used to work as a nurse.

How­ever, she was a ‘‘real farm girl’’ by heart.

‘‘You can’t beat be­ing a farm girl.’’

She grew up with younger twin sib­lings, a brother and sis­ter, and an­other younger sis­ter, but they were all ‘‘in­side chil­dren’’.

Isa was al­ways outdoors with her dad, sit­ting on the trac­tor, work­ing in the gar­den or help­ing milk their cows.

‘‘I was out with dad al­ways. I had big mus­cles but not any­more.

‘‘I had lots of things that I used to do.’’

She had since moved around the re­gion, liv­ing in River­ton, Win­ton and In­ver­cargill.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had gar­dens wher­ever I went.’’

She was mar­ried twice through­out her life, and said ev­ery re­la­tion­ship was dif­fer­ent. Her ad­vice was to be un­der­stand­ing of that.

Her favourite mem­o­ries were with her chil­dren Miles, Colin, Dorothy and Ian-David.

Miles and Colin had since died. She had lost count of how many grand­chil­dren and great grand­chil­dren she had, but she does en­joy vis­its from them.

Isa still keeps ac­tive at Vick­ery Court by walk­ing to and from meals and go­ing out for day trips.

‘‘I’m quite in­de­pen­dent,’’ she said.

A lot had changed in the world since she was young, but her main piece of ad­vice to peo­ple was to make sure they ate their veg­eta­bles.

She rec­om­mended ev­ery­one had their own veg­etable gar­den, like she did grow­ing up.

RE­BECCA MOORE/STUFF

Is­abelle Matthews turns 102 years to­day.

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