Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt celebrates turning "70 years young"

Kavinda Herath / Fairfax NZ

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolts 70 th birthday celebration in SIT O'week

He's been arrested 33 times, jailed twice and in periodic detention for five years but Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt says he has no regrets about his wild life.

Shadbolt will turn 70 on Sunday but said his life had been "an exciting adventure".

His offending was all related to civil disobedience,  "never serious", he said.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt's 70th birthday celebration at SIT O Week.
Kavinda Herath

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt's 70th birthday celebration at SIT O Week.

"I've always been open and honest about it," he said.

Shadbolt was surprised with a special party and birthday cake at SIT O Week celebrations on Friday.

The veteran activist, who is now New Zealand's longest-serving mayor, said he was "very honoured", to serve his community.

"I've been incredibly lucky, it's been an exciting adventure."

New Zealand was unlike any other country because politicians and leaders were known to get among the community.

"Our political leaders are prepared to freely mix among the people in a tight-knit community," he said.

But he is not letting his age slow him down.

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People had told him he was getting old and asked if he thought about retiring, he said.

Since he was staying on as mayor they wanted to know what "edgy" or "dangerous" thing he would do this year.

He has already made plans, much to his fellow councillors' surprise, to kayak to Stewart Island this year.

Turning 70 would not stop him from doing the things he wanted to do, he said.

His role as mayor had brought him his highest held achievements.

Growing Invercargill into a multicultural city, expanding the Southern Institute of Technology and hosting events such as the Bluff Oyster Festival and Burt Munro Challenge were his proudest moments, he said.

SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds said they organised the day to celebrate with students.

Celebrating with young people would make Shadbolt "70 years young", she said.

 - Stuff

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