with flying colours.
The sprightly Waiuku resident’s 100th birthday is on Monday, February 15, and the Post was able to catch up with Reece before he disembarked to Nelson last week to celebrate with family. Reece was born in 1916 in Christchurch and while he was born during the height of the First World War, he doesn’t believe it affected his family.
Describing his childhood as humble beginnings, Reece grew up with his two sisters in the country. They had no kitchen or bathroom, and had to light the copper if they wanted hot water. “It was a great advancement when we had taps installed,” he laughs.
Reece proceeded to stay in the Southland area for 73 years, raising his two sons with wife, Isabel, whom he met after opening a gate for her as she proceeded to ride her bike home for lunch. “I must have made a good impression, as I saw her at a dance and you could say the rest is history.”
Reece spent a wonderful 46 years with Isabel, and saw the happy couple move to Howick due to Isabel’s health. Unfortunately, Isabel passed away from heart complications shortly after.
The biggest changes that have stood out to Reece throughout his 100 years was technology and air travel. “When I was a boy, we heard this racket and went running out to see what it was. That was the first time that we saw a motor vehicle, and it was quite a sight. The steady rate that technology developed was quite miraculous to watch.” When asked how he adapted to the change, Reece’s reply was ‘it was the case of having
to, or to be left behind.’
Reece met second wife, Judith, and moved to Waiuku 11 years ago to the acre section he currently resides on today. Reece and Judith were married for 25 years before she passed away, and developed their piece of paradise from the original gorse and blackberry block. “I must be looking old, as I got asked if I planted the Pohutakawa tree that is in the backyard, which has been estimated to be over 300 years.”
Although he just renewed his licence, and passed with flying colours,
Reece does say that he gets in trouble with the family for giving the boy racers a run for their money. “She can be a little pocket rocket, so I do need to watch the accelerator every now and then.” While Reece attributes many things to his longevity of life, he says that the main reasons are plenty of sunshine, outdoor activities and hill climbing.
“Of course you need to keep breathing and have a good sense of humour. They do say that laughter is the best medicine of life, and a shot of whiskey before dinner is great too.”