Christchurch husband and wife duo to blokart at for Masters Games in February
Louise Meltzer says the key to a happy marriage is making sure you share interests.
Louise, 73, and husband Rudolph, 75, have been doing just that since before they emigrated to Christchurch from the Netherlands in 1968. Now, their mutual interest in sailing sports will see them compete at the New Zealand Masters Games in Whanganui in February.
Their chosen sport is one relatively new and quickly growing, and which each of them has only been doing for about five years – blokarting.
The sport consists of racing karts fitted with sails around a track.
Rudolph had been sailing since he was 7 years old, and still does, but the sport had become "too cold and too wet" for Louise, so the pair got into blokarting together.
"We have been doing, our whole lives, things together," Louise said.
"He didn't feel like going sailing himself on the water so this was actually an ideal alternative."
The Meltzers will take part in separate events – production and performance – at the Masters Games, "keeping our interests good" and to avoid any "quarrelling", Louise said.
For Rudolph, taking part in the slightly faster performance section, the motivation was a little different.
"We don't want to compete against each other," he said.
"She might beat me."
Reaching speeds of up to 70kmh in a small kart may be unexpected of the older generation, but thrillseeker Rudolph is only the third-oldest at the Canterbury Blokart Club, which boasts 77-year old and 86-year-old members.
Blokarting was developed from the design of Kiwi Paul Beckett at the turn of the century in Papamoa, and has since attracted about 10,000 sailors worldwide.
Rudolph said he had taken part in blokarting at the Masters Games previously, placing fourth in his division, but the games – much like the Meltzers' membership at the club – was more about socialising.
"There are lots of people from all over New Zealand coming and we've met before so it's good to see them all again, compare notes and, of course, try to beat them.
"The older you get the less competition you have."
The New Zealand Masters Games is the country's biggest multi-sport event, held from February 3 to 12. Close to 6000 competitors are expected to compete across 55 sports.
Rudolph said there had been about 40 competing in his class last time, but next year's could have between 60 and 80.
It would be the first time Louise, a spectator at the previous Masters Games, competed in the event.
"I think it is the key to a good marriage, doing things together," she said.