June 25, 2010

NEW ZEALAND: No key to longevity, birthday girl says

AUCKLAND, New Zealand / North Shore Times / June 25, 2010

Felicity Reid - North Shore Times

INDEPENDENT: Marjory Allison of Browns Bay celebrates her 100th birthday this month. Ben Watson

Music is in the blood for centenarian Marjory Allison. The Browns Bay singer and pianist was a founding member of two local singing groups and it was only last year that she decided to give her vocal chords a bit of a rest.

"Any music thing going I would be a member of," she says.

The daughter of a flautist and pianist, Mrs Allison is one of seven children.

Her introduction to choir singing came when her father conducted a children's Christmas choir.

The 100-year-old is sure of her favourite music.

"Nostalgic with a bit of classical mixed in – not pop."

She says there is no key to her longevity. "It is the luck of the game".

However, those around her suggest her healthy diet, regular eating patterns and the occasional glass of whisky play a part.

She still lives independently and cooks most of her own meals, and even does some home baking for guests.

Mrs Allison says the biggest changes over the past 100 years have been in transport and communications.

She ran a couple of North Shore businesses with her sister so she got her driver's licence at age 27 in 1937, which was unusual at the time.

Mrs Allison drove a big V8 Ford to do deliveries for their wedding catering business. Before that she worked at a factory in downtown Auckland and caught the double-decker ferry to work each day for 10 years.

Mrs Allison, who married for the first time when she was 73, marked her 90th birthday when she chronicled her life in a book titled The Adkins Family Settle in New Zealand.

Family and friends helped celebrate her latest milestone with a gathering last week.

© 2010 Fairfax New Zealand Limited