Shirley and Laurie met while studying to become physical education teachers at Otago Uni. They were friends for quite some time, explains Shirley, before it blossomed into anything serious? Laurie a runner and rugby player, Shirley a talented discus thrower, basketballer and shot- putter, the pair had plenty in common, and found ample opportunity to socialise through a series of cinema outings and dances with friends. They hit it off somewhere along the way, and exchanged vows in 1954.

A fine day, with a bit of wind. There were 100 guests. They’re never been so nervous in my life,recalls Laurie. Shirley seconds his statement: They took his hand when I got to the altar, she says. It was like a wet fish? Shirley made her own wedding gown - something she did for each of her daughters? weddings too. As well as their four girls, the pair are now grandparents to seven, and great grandparents to one.

They cite their part in extending the family tree as one of the biggest highlights of their marriage, along with camping trips, weddings, beach visits, fish and chip dinners (and others foraged from their lush veggie gardens), and memories that came as a result of their growing clan. Sport has always been a major player in their relationship - they’re played first-class golf and coached sport throughout their years together, and now have a keen involvement on the croquet greens. 

They’ve been lucky, they say, and on this note, I take the opportunity to turn my question around: what are you most thankful for in each other? Is he the the best cook in the world? It is honesty.

He loves sport and the outdoors. The fact I can always rely on him.


Wedding Dresses at Mialondon.