Living independently can be difficult at any age, but for Palmerston North woman Aileen Kar it was something she did until just a day before her 100th birthday.
Mrs Kar celebrated that remarkable milestone yesterday with more than 40 friends and family members at an Olive Tree Retirement Village event she organised herself.
She moved into the retirement village on Wednesday.
With 21 of her family members flying from Australia to celebrate with her, Mrs Kar said she felt special.
"[I have a] very happy family," she said.
"Must be a good life to live to 100."
With two children (one who is still living), three grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, Mrs Kar said she could never not feel surrounded by love.
"Russell, my son, is next to me and I couldn't be happier.
"He had three lovely daughters who all have good jobs."
Born in Tokomaru in 1913, Mrs Kar grew up on her family farm.
She then married her high school sweetheart, before moving to another farm.
"So I really have done nothing but farm all my life."
Mrs Kar was the second of five siblings, and is now the only one alive..
Her younger brother died in June at the age of 97.
"All my family have lived into their 90s."
When asked what her secret to long life was, Mrs Kar was coy on the subject.
However, her son Russell Kar said his mum's diet helped her reach the pinnacle age.
"Good healthy eating," he said.
"She loves her salads and eats everything slowly."
Mrs Kar said she was an avid reader of the Manawatu Standard.
She said she first had a Standard article written about her when she was younger.
"I used to walk down this long metal road [to get the paper] and they called me a human horse. I still get the paper, and I still like it."
She said she felt "quite special" to receive birthday cards from the Queen, Prime Minister John Key and Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae on her birthday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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