Turning 100 has interrupted the busy life of Alf Rendell whose aerial photos of old Tauranga formed the basis of a successful publishing venture two years ago.
His driver's licence had just been renewed for another two years and he is still a regular helper at the Te Puna Quarry Park.
The firm handshake by the centenarian who welcomed the Bay of Plenty Times news crew to his spacious Harbour Drive home was a pointer to his obvious zest for life.
Mr Rendell did not offer any magical theory for why he had lived so long. "I put my longevity down to simple luck. It is just the way the penny dropped."
He was 8 months old when his parents shifted from Whakatane to the small village of Tauranga in 1918.
Apart from three and-a-half years serving in the Pacific during World War II, he has lived his whole life in Tauranga - a fascinated observer of its meteoric growth to become New Zealand's fifth largest city.
And at an age when most people lucky enough to live that long had well and truly slowed down, Mr Rendell was busy collaborating with Tauranga Heritage Collections curator Fiona Kean to publish a book called Rendell's Tauranga - Historic Tauranga From Above.
The book featured the best of hundreds of aerial photos he took from the cockpit of an aero club Tiger Moth from 1946 to 1958.
A couple of his friends were learning to fly, so he struck up an agreement to pay their fees in exchange for going along for rides.
The book became a publishing success when it hit Tauranga bookstores around Christmas 2015, quickly selling its first 2000-copy print run, and with just a few copies left from its second 2100 printing.
Mr Rendell took pride in the fact that the book spent six weeks second on Books A Plenty's best seller list, only pipped by All Black Dan Carter's book.
"The book changed my life because, before that, things had quietened down a bit. I made a lot of new friends. I was quite amazed. Fiona did the work and I got the kudos."
Another amazing fact revealed by Mr Rendell was that a mate who he started primary school with in 1923, Peter Densem, was still alive and living at Althorp Village.
There were no jobs when Mr Rendell ended his schooling in the Great Depression, so his father hired him as an assistant in the family's photo studio business on the corner of what was now Red Square and Devonport Rd.
He was called in 1941 and spent the first few months of his war in Fiji and Tonga, before shipping out to New Caledonia, closer to where the fighting was taking place. At that point, he said he had his rifle taken off him and was issued with a camera.
Mr Rendell found himself transferred to the army's public relations unit and spent the rest of his war in and out of darkrooms developing film. He was demobbed in 1944 without firing a shot in anger.
He returned to reopen the shop below his father's photo studio, with his son Graham taking over Rendell's Camera House when he retired in 1975.
Mr Rendell lost his wife to cancer but all four of their children will be enjoying the birthday bash at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club that he joined in 1933.
He has been a volunteer at the quarry park since 2002, still helping out with less arduous tasks and enjoying weekly get-togethers. This was where his driver's licence was vital to his quality of life.
"I wouldn't be going out to the quarry if I couldn't drive."
He began driving around 1939 after taking two lessons from the office girl in the garage where he bought his first car. The borough council inspector then issued him a licence after a quick spin around the block. "That's all there was to it."'
Alf Rendell's favourite cars
- 1937 Hillman
- 1947 Austin
- 1956 Mk II Zephyr
- Mazda Sports Wagon