A sense of humour and the ability to laugh at herself has kept 100-year-old Molly Whittaker young at heart.
Yesterday, the Atawhai Retirement Village resident was surrounded by flowers and cards, including an all-important delivery from the Queen.
"It's a nice photo of her," she said, eyeing the special message.
Her birthday on Sunday was spent with family, including a grandson and great-granddaughter, who had gathered for the centenary celebration. It was a big day, with cake and singing.
Born in Wellington in 1913, Molly, a trained nurse, moved to Hawke's Bay with her husband Ted in 1959 to be closer to family.
Ted set up a store in Mahora, before finding work at a Havelock North news agency, while Molly opened a women's clothing shop with her sister.
"I did all the sewing," she said. "I made nice ladies' dresses and skirts."
She also had two children - Lesley, who lives in Bay View and David, who is now based in Australia. After her husband died in 1980, Molly kept busy - playing lawn bowls and even serving a term as president of the Hastings Bowls Club.
Always independent, she lived alone until 2009, when she moved to Atawhai in Taradale.
"I have lived a long and happy life," she said.
Though she is now a little hard of hearing, her spirit still shines through, David's partner Barbara said.
"She likes a laugh, and she's always been active - I think that's part of why she's had such a long life.
"Just the other day we said, it's your 100th birthday soon and she replied, 'Oh, is it? That must be why I'm so tired'. We all laughed about that. She still has a great sense of humour."