Card error congratulates centenarian for 100 years of marriage

By Claire Trevett, Sophie Huber

Mavis Lawson displays her card from the Prime Minister, complete with incorrect celebration. Photos / Martin Sykes
Mavis Lawson displays her card from the Prime Minister, complete with incorrect celebration. Photos / Martin Sykes

When Papatoetoe resident Mavis Lawson turned 100 on Tuesday she got the standard birthday card from the Queen but, rather puzzlingly, she also received a card from Prime Minister John Key congratulating her on her "100th wedding anniversary".

The card, which had a picture of Mr Key on the front, had a typed message inside wishing her well on her 100th wedding anniversary. Under this was what appeared to be a hand-written note from Mr Key, saying: "I hope you had a happy time celebrating this very special day."

Michael Rodger, manager of Kenderdine Park rest home, where Mrs Lawson lives, said he laughed when he saw the card. "I can't believe anyone would make that mistake, someone had to type it on there."

A spokesperson for Mr Key said last night the error was regretted "and Mr Key would like to wish Mavis all the best for her 100th birthday".

It is unclear how the slip-up happened - but the cards do not cross Mr Key's desk at all. They are automatically generated after a friend or relative applies with the Department of Internal Affairs for a congratulatory message.

The seemingly "handwritten" message and signature of Mr Key is printed on from a scanned version on a computer.

The slip-up wasn't noticed by Mrs Lawson's family and as Mrs Lawson slept through her birthday she was first told about it when the Herald visited yesterday.

Dressed in lilac from head to toe and with red balloons marked "I'm 100" on her walker, Mrs Lawson wasn't sure who the smiling man on the front of her card was.

When she heard it was the Prime Minister wishing her well on her 100th wedding anniversary, she looked a little perplexed.

"Well I didn't have a wedding on my hundredth birthday. Someone must have told him wrongly, my husband's been playing with the angels for some years."

Mrs Lawson said she grew up in Papatoetoe and while she couldn't remember how long she had been married she said knew her husband had left her early.

Her nephew Mervyn Mayo calculated she must have been married for about 45 years. He had contacted Internal Affairs to notify them of his aunt's birthday and said he thought the resulting card was "a real faux pas". "There wouldn't be many people around who have had a 100th wedding anniversary."

Mr Mayo said about 25 family members would gather at the rest home on Saturday to celebrate Mrs Lawson's 100th birthday.

And the secret to her longevity?

She wasn't sure: "It just happens. And I look after myself."

- NZ Herald

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