Threads lead to a QSM
Gretl Bass believes the secret to a happy life is to give willingly and not expect anything in return.
And her strategy has been rewarded.
The Mellons Bay resident was awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to the community in the New Year honours.
More than 20 years ago the 79-year-old saw a newspaper article calling for clothes for newborn children.
That spurred her into action and led to the formation of the Highland Park Sewing Group.
Mrs Bass says she simply loves sewing and is not looking for anything in return so was humbled and embarrassed by the award.
"I feel blessed and thankful that I still can do what I am doing at this age. When you see the ladies who come, they all find companionship - it's inspiring. I have made a number of friends over the years."
Today more than 45 members gather weekly and sew garments for various organisations in Auckland.
In 2011 alone they produced more than 5000 garments.
The group supports Kidz First at Middlemore Hospital by producing sewn and knitted items such as quilts, pyjamas, sleeping bags and clothes which are donated in parcels to mothers with new babies.
Group members also produce teddy bears for St John Ambulance, clothes and slippers for Dingwall Trust and clothes for underprivileged children at the Pakuranga Health Camp.
Mrs Bass moved to New Zealand more than 40 years ago after being born in Austria and living in Canada for many years.
She says moving to New Zealand has provided her family with a great life.
"It's just amazing how many opportunities there are in this country if you work hard and concentrate not only on making money but on being there for other people. If you give and give willingly and don't expect anything back you will have a very full life."
When Mrs Bass was seven months old her mother died. She was raised by her grandparents and as a result says she knows first-hand the positive impact people can have on others' lives.
That's why her desire to help others is so strong, she says.