A family of centenarians
Sat, 11 Aug 2012 6:22p.m.
By Susie Nordqvist
A gathering in the small Waikato town of Te Kauwhata held special meaning for one family today.
Three of the six siblings are older than 100 years old.
So what's the secret to a long and happy life?
When it comes to longevity, it's hard to beat Ivor Syme and his five sisters.
Ivor is 100; Queenie is 104; Hazel is 103; Audrey is 96; Ona is 94 and Vivienne is 84.
They've lived through two World Wars and the first man landing on the moon, and are arguably New Zealand’s oldest family. So what's their secret?
“Queenie and I have taken kruschen salts for 40 years and we are both very partial to onions,” says centenarian Hazel Bryce.
“Oh yes, I like eating raw onions,” says Queenie.
“I tell everybody, drink a lot of grog and naughty women,” says Ivor Syme. “It keeps you alive.”
Whatever the reason for their longevity, it's clear the family is a tight-knit bunch.
“We have always been a very, very united, loving family, and when we get together, the noise volume goes up to the ceiling,” says Vivienne Nelson.
Today is a special day for the siblings. Their family has travelled from far and wide to help Hazel celebrate her 103rd birthday in the family's home town of Te Kauwhata in the Waikato.
Of course there's plenty of reminiscing to do.
“We had plenty of kids to play with,” says Hazel Bryce. “We were all happy together. I might have got a punch or two, but I can't remember that part.”
So what was it like for Ivor, being the only boy in the family?
“I was a poor little unfortunate boy being bossed around by [eight] sisters,” he says. “But we got along very well. We had a lovely life together.”
As they sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Hazel, it's clear these centenarians have a lot of living to do yet.
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15/08/2012 9:19:29 p.m.
Sarah Jane wrote:
These amazing people are my family. Vivienne is my Grandmother. After talking to her about their big day, she asked me if I would find out if they are actually the oldest living family in NZ. I haven't the slightest idea how to find out, but thought this might be a good place to start. Any ideas?U are right Deanna, they were generous to a fault, threw nothing out and what they couldn't eat from their own gardens they gave away. Aunty Hazel coouldn't see but she was still crotcheting blankets to give away, only a couple of years ago.
12/08/2012 5:19:51 p.m.
Karl, You are probably right that Kruschen salts is not the miracle longevity "drug", however it certainly hasn't done them any harm! Furthermore alot of research has identified that after genes, ATTITUDE is the secret, not lifestyle. Things like having a positive attitude to life, dealing with grief and moving on, having some passion or focus in life. The "belief" that Krushen salts has a positive impact on their lives I have no doubt is as beneficial as the salts themselves. This family has a love of life and each other. May their remaining years continue to be fulfilling, happy and loving.
12/08/2012 12:47:24 a.m.
For those thinking 'Kruschen salts' will giver you longevity - they won't. Kruschen salts are basically highly overpriced and marked up Epsom salts.
Since it is in the family, it is highly likely genes are a factor, so is a healthy lifestyle (learnt base don the family environment they were raised and lived their life in).
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