A stress-free lifestyle with plenty of vegetables, vitamins and exercise are said to be the key to longevity.
But Jessie Maylene Swinburne says there's no secret. And she would know.
The Howick local has passed more milestones than most having recently celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends.
Mrs Swinburne was born in Auckland on December 24, 1912, the second daughter to proud parents Alice and Edward Martin.
She married Reg Swinburne who passed away some years ago.
The couple lived for 55 years on Pigeon Mountain Rd in a house Mr Swinburne built.
Although the couple had no children of their own they took great interest in Mrs Swinburne's sister's three children.
Niece Daphne Stone now lives in Australia but joined her aunt to celebrate her milestone birthday.
Mrs Stone describes her aunt as a lady with a great sense of humour and someone who always has something to say.
"There were over 50-odd guests at her birthday afternoon tea and she greeted them all by name.
"She might not remember it now but she enjoyed every minute of it," she says.
The Queen, prime minister and minister of social welfare were among several people to congratulate Mrs Swinburne.
Until two years ago she lived in her own home. Following a fall Mrs Swinburne now resides in the Metlifecare Hospital, Highland Park.
Nurse manager Isabel Jacobs says Mrs Swinburne is a "sweet" lady. She was a keen bowls player and member of both the Bucklands Beach and East Tamaki Clubs.
During Mrs Swinburne's bowling days she met Ella Harford. Mrs Harford's daughter Joyce Fraser has been caring for her for 15 years doing "all the things a daughter would do".
"She was a very independent lady and now she's dependent she doesn't cope very well," Mrs Fraser says.
"She may be 100 but there's nothing wrong with her brain."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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