Is Linda the oldest person in Taranaki?

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014
linda wiggins
LAIRD HARPER/Fairfax NZ

OLD ENOUGH: Linda Wiggins, right, can tentatively claim to be the oldest person in Taranaki at the age of 105. While daughter Lynette Harrison is just proud of her mum.

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Move over Gladys Bird, Linda Wiggins has you beat.

Less than 24 hours after the Taranaki Daily News announced the 104-year-old Mrs Bird was believed to be the oldest Taranaki resident, we were proven wrong.

And it's not the first time Mrs Wiggins, who has proudly reached 105 years old, has held someone to account over her age.

While celebrating her 100th birthday in 2008 she was dismayed to find New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had not sent her a card.

An acknowledgment from the Queen was all good and well, but being snubbed by her favourite silver-haired fox was a no-no.

It was a mistake Mr Peters had not repeated, daughter Lynette Harrison said.

"He was told. She gets a card every year now."

A fan since she lived at Mt Maunganui, Mrs Wiggins still lights up when she hears his name.

And moving to Stratford seven years ago hasn't watered down her support.

The oldest of nine, Mrs Wiggins now has five children, 19 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and 23 great great grandchildren.

Thankfully the Daily News was also quickly forgiven for the error but is now expected to attend her birthday in September.

"Don't you forget it again," Mrs Harrison said.

However, finding out exactly who is the oldest person in Taranaki can be a bit of a guessing game.

A Statistics New Zealand spokeswoman said they don't track individuals and the only reliable method was to estimate the number of older people and work backwards from death registrations.

"There are likely to be 20-40 people aged 105 years and over currently living in New Zealand," she said. "Of these, 20 to 30 are likely to be female, and 0 to 10 are likely to be male."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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