Given she was an intelligence decoder, ate a sheep's eye with Kuwait's future leader and mastered the Arabic language, it's ironic that Tauranga centenarian Margaret Lambourn's advice to achieve longevity is "moderation".

"Don't do anything to the extreme - always live in moderation," she tells the Bay of Plenty Times, a lamp decorated with Egyptian letters and artwork sitting on the table beside her armchair.

The once-intrepid adventurer has experienced her fair share of adventure and will quietly celebrate her 104th birthday today with her son, Michael.

The youngest of nine children, she was born near Leeds in West