Dannevirke's Rose Hulena is loyal. She began subscribing to a Hawke's Bay newspaper on April 23, 1957.

"I can remember the date easily because it was my second daughter's third birthday," she said. "My husband and I had just shifted to a farm job at Takapau from Taihape and I wanted to find out more about the Hawke's Bay, so the paper was the way to do it."

Mrs Hulena moved from Takapau to Dannevirke 18 years ago and remains a fan of her daily newspaper: Hawke's Bay Today.

"I read it from front to back," she said. "Sometimes you hear something on the radio or see it on television, but you get so much more in the paper and can catch up with all the details."


Mrs Hulena said she enjoyed the new, compact version of the paper but sometimes had difficulty reading the small print. "But then I've got cataracts in both eyes," she said.

A keen netballer in Takapau, Mrs Hulena said it was often the sports pages she'd turn to first.

"I used to be very much into sport and even played netball in the same team as my daughters in Takapau," she said. "I can remember playing in the Rosalie Anderson tournament held in memory of a local school girl who contracted pneumonia and died when she was 16. Her mum donated the trophy for the tournament and I was told the Takapau netball team was the oldest in New Zealand.

"I enjoy living in Dannevirke, it's a nice, friendly place. People say it's cold, but they want to go and live in Taihape. That's cold."

Mrs Hulena said she recently returned to Taihape for a look around and was delighted to find an old haunt, the Crystal Bar still there.

"Tommy May used to own it and make his own icecreams. They were delicious," she said. "Unfortunately, the cafe on the premises now doesn't have icecream."