Jean’s se­cret: three good meals a day


Jean Foster’s 100th birth­day was of­fi­cially on the week­end, but the Waipuku­rau cen­te­nar­ian was in hot de­mand all last week as she at­tended mul­ti­ple cel­e­bra­tions or­gan­ised by the or­gan­i­sa­tions and clubs she’s ded­i­cated many years of ser­vice to.

One of those was the Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay branch of the Red Cross who held a func­tion to cel­e­brate Jean’s mile­stone birth­day, but also to present her two spe­cial awards — a 75-year long ser­vice award and the Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Award.

Branch pres­i­dent Sher­rie Bird said Jean ini­tially joined the Omakere Red Cross when she and hus­band Alan moved to the area in 1952, and since that time had con­trib­uted in many ways to help with fundrais­ing.

“Though the branch re­tired her from bak­ing for our cake stall she still bakes her short­bread for us ev­ery year, and she at­tends monthly meet­ings,” Bird said.

Her Red Cross in­volve­ment fol­lowed years in nurs­ing, some of that over­seas dur­ing World War II, in­clud­ing nine months in New Cale­do­nia in the con­va­les­cent de­pot for men mainly suf­fer­ing from malaria.

Jean also spent 18 months sta­tioned at a hospi­tal in Bari, Italy, be­fore re­turn­ing to Ash­bur­ton where she nursed and then got mar­ried in 1948.

Af­ter mov­ing to a bal­lot farm in Hau­tope, Jean be­came in­volved in many other com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing the Waipawa Golf Club, about 50 mem­bers of which trav­elled from near and far for a sur­prise birth­day party at the clu­b­rooms last week.

Jean joined the club in the late 1950s, prov­ing her­self a handy player, get­ting down to a hand­i­cap of 15 at one point. As was com­mon in her gen­er­a­tion, Jean made her own clothes, as well as for her two chil­dren, John and Wendy, aided by her train­ing as a seam­stress be­fore the war, said daugh­ter Wendy Fryer.

A keen gar­dener, she was renowned for her roses, of which she had more than 100 planted at the fam­ily farm.

Hav­ing since moved into Waipuku­rau she had down­sized the gar­den, but still grew veg­eta­bles and did all her own cook­ing.

Asked what were the big­gest changes she had seen over the years, she said it was prob­a­bly the ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy and cars went a lot faster. And her se­crets to a long life? “Eat­ing a good diet — three good meals a day.” Now a grand­mother to six and great-grand­mother to 12, Jean marked her 100th birth­day on Satur­day with a gath­er­ing of friends and fam­ily at Oru­awharo Homestead.

‘A keen gar­dener, Jean was renowned for her roses, of which she had more than 100 planted at farm.’ the fam­ily


Jean Foster (cen­tre), flanked by daugh­ter-in-law San­dra Foster (left) and daugh­ter Wendy Fryer, with fel­low Waipawa Ladies Golf Club mem­bers at a cel­e­bra­tion they held for her 100th birth­day last Wed­nes­day.

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