Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Married 82 years and still going strong

In a world where divorce is common, one Auckland couple is being praised for their efforts to stay together.

Jeram Ravji and his wife Ganga Jeram Ravji, originally from India, are this year celebrating 82 years of marriage - a year out from celebrating their 100th birthdays.

The Ravjis have today been awarded the Longest Married Couple in New Zealand accolade, sponsored by Family First NZ.

They're being recognised on Valentine's Day but the couple won't celebrate their 82 years until April.

The pair, born just a month apart, were betrothed in India at the tender age of 6 and were married at 19.

They had six children and the family - all based in Auckland - has grown to four generations.

It is thought the couple are one of the longest married couples in the world.

Family First NZ national director, Bob McCoskrie, said the award helped to recognise those who had stuck it out in marriage.

"This is an opportunity to promote marriage and honour couples who have done the hard yards.

"Marriage is a great institution, but it requires love and commitment, hard work and community support,'' he said.

"We want to celebrate with couples who are setting the example for younger married couples just starting out."

The Ravjis have previously shared an insight into their bond.

Ganga Ravji said their marriage had been filled with lots of sacrifices - something she was concerned "young ones'' could not tolerate.

She acknowledged that in every life, God gives the good and the bad. The challenge was to work through it.

Another key ingredient in their long marriage had been their willingness to listen to their parents' advice.

"[The advice] we would give to our children if they had difficulties with their marriage would be you have to work hard, you have to have tolerance - that's the most important part, tolerance," she told the Herald last year.

- NZ Herald

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