A couple who have just celebrated 71 years of marriage and continue to live in their own home say the secret to their success is being able to ''compromise''.

John, 92, and Joyce, 93, Barnard were joined by friends and neighbours on Thursday night at Harbourside Restaurant to mark the momentous occasion.

The pair met at St Hilda's Anglican Church, in Wellington - the same church where they would tie the knot on August 6, 1949.

John says Joyce was friends with one of his female cousins.

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Their life together has been spent in many different locations in New Zealand and overseas.

These have included Invercargill, Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth, Holland and Brunei on the island of Borneo.

John recalled how it was 1955 when they went to Holland, and Europe was still recovering from World War II.

"It was interesting to see it from that perspective, and Brunei in 1956-1961 was fairly primitive."

John worked for Shell International and Joyce was a teacher of porcelain art.

The pair have a daughter who lives in America and a son who lives in Australia.

Although they were not able to be together to celebrate the special anniversary, their children had been in touch and kept in touch regularly.

They have enjoyed life in their Tauranga home for 34 years now, still living there together.

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Joyce said they enjoyed living in Tauranga, and came here to live because it was warm and was where a lot of their friends had been moving too at the time.

"We sort of all joined up together and then met other friends."

They said the area had changed enormously over the years, and continued to change.

"The area is moving ahead all the time, but we like being close to town."

When asked what the secret was to a long and happy marriage, Joyce said trying to see from each other's point of view was important, and John had one main word to say - compromise (along with love and kindness).

John and Joyce Barnard at the the dinner celebrating their anniversary on Thursday. Photo / Alexandra Faulkner
John and Joyce Barnard at the the dinner celebrating their anniversary on Thursday. Photo / Alexandra Faulkner

Neighbours Russell and Morag Faulkner also paid tribute to the Barnard's who were iconic stalwarts of the street.

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Russell says it was special to be able to celebrate their milestone with them, and ''this along with still living on their own was a pretty great effort''.