Former Tauranga mayor and mayoress Noel and Ena Pope are today celebrating 60 years of marriage.

The couple married at St Peter's Presbyterian Church in front of about 100 people on this day in 1953 after meeting at a blind date set up by mutual friends of their parents.

Mrs Pope said she had just moved to Tauranga from the Far North when she met Mr Pope. The couple soon moved to Greerton, which in those days was a semi-rural community, had three children and became involved with the local sports clubs.

"I used to play netball and he used to play rugby but he spent more time injured than anything else. We lived next to the swimming pool so had no option but to get involved with that as well," Mrs Pope said.


Together, they started Pope Electrical, a company they ran from home for 48 years before handing the reins to their son.

Mr Pope also spent 27 years on the Tauranga City Council and was mayor for 12 years.

Mr Pope said as a councillor and mayor, his life revolved around what was happening in the city.

"Unfortunately, that's what happens. I was overseas a lot and always going to conferences and things. Everyone thinks it's an easy job, but it's hard work.

"I think the kids suffered at school a bit, the kids would hear their parents talking and have a go at our children. All the controversial things happened when I was in the top job."

After retiring, Mr Pope said he and his wife had made a strong decision to "get out of it and stay out of it".

Mr Pope said he and his wife were happy living a much quieter life in rural Welcome Bay for the past decade out of the public eye.

"He keeps himself busy mowing the lawns," Mrs Pope said.

When asked what the secret was to a happy marriage, Mr Pope joked being partially deaf was a great help, but said he and Mrs Pope were compatible in many ways. "We have the same interests really and we complement each other quite well. You've just got to be tolerant, there's no magic bullet - it either works or it doesn't. And you've got to be friends."

Mrs Pope said they had a great family and now had five children and "six and three-quarters" great-grandchildren.