CENTENARIAN Mary Going's lifelong wish for a concert came true yesterday as she celebrated her 100th birthday with an entertainment extravaganza.
About 350 family and friends showed up at Forum North in Whangarei to celebrate with the longest-living member of the famous rugby family from Maromaku.
Among the items during the humorous, two-hour celebration were a tennis match, a song by her rugby-playing sons Sid, Brian and Ken, and a DVD selection of her best moments.
Sitting on a settee on the stage and surrounded by gifts, she thanked her guests and urged everyone to follow the example set by Jesus Christ.
She said she had enjoyed a wonderful life with her husband of 52 years, Cyril, with whom she had six children.
"I've been pestering for ages to have a concert for me, but it took them (family) 100 years to have one," said Mary, drawing wide applause from the crowd.
A non-drinker and non-smoker, she attributed her longevity to good, clean living.
The crowd was treated to lunch after the programme.
Along with six of her own children, Mary is the stepmother of seven children and has 53 grandchildren.
She also has 130 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren.
An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, she and Cyril served two missions in the early years.
In 1999, at the age of 91, she received the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for their services to the community.
Mary's wish has taken 100 years
By Imran Ali
5:59 PM Wednesday Jan 9, 2008