Life for Piri (Phillip) and Bev Bedingfield of Matamau since their marriage 60 years ago has been all go and the couple aren't about to slow down anytime soon.

The couple were married on a Monday because they'd both been busy with other weddings on the Saturday - Piri was best man at the wedding of Rex and Leone Sisson and Bev was bridesmaid at another friend's wedding.

"So we got married on Monday, October 8, 1956 in Dannevirke's Presbyterian Church, with our reception at Quick Service," Bev said.

But a church wedding wasn't what Piri had in mind.


"We were engaged and I was all for getting married quietly in a registry office, because I don't like big swags of people," he said. "But my mother-in-law hammered me to get married in a church instead."

For Piri, his marriage didn't mean a move too far.

"I've only moved 200 yards in my life. I was born in a house in the paddock behind our current house," he said.

The Bedingfields built their home from macrocarpa trees milled on the property which has been a happy home to the couple, their three children and numerous guests who've made the most of the generous hospitality the couple are known for.

"We're lucky our three children, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren all live very handy to us," Bev said.

"But we've also had some pretty special guests. In 1965 Peter Snell, Arthur Lydiard, Bert Sutcliffe and Ron Clarke spent a night here. They'd been booked into the Mangatera Hotel in Dannevirke, but they wanted a bit of peace and quiet, so the proprietor suggested they come out here."

And it was a great night, Piri said.

Keen country and western fans, the Bedingfields have also hosted Patsy Riggir, Maria Dallas and Helen Riley.

"I always encourage visitors then I don't have to change to go out," Bev said.

The secret to staying together for 60 years is love and laughter, Bev said.
And for Piri?

"I just got on and worked on the tractor and hay press. One year we pressed more than 100,000 conventional bales," he said.

Even after a hip replacement and a warning from his doctor to take it easy, Piri was out on the tractor.

"I ran over one of my crutches with the thing, but I wasn't even supposed to be on the tractor."

But despite insisting they prefer to stay at home, the couple have ventured out of Matamau, including making a three-day trip in Piri's old Vauxhall to Auckland where they met up with the friends who were married on the Saturday before they were.

"We all headed off on honeymoon together at Ninety Mile Beach," Bev said.

In 1970 Piri and Bev left the children in the care of a Karitane nurse and went to the expo in Japan.

"We spent two weeks in Japan and travelled on the bullet train. She could go," Piri said. "Power poles were going past like fence posts."

After visiting Singapore, Thailand and Bangkok and Hong Kong, the couple returned home. They've also visited Norfolk Island, nine times, the last was for Bev's 70th birthday 12 years ago.

The Bedingfields have also decamped to look after the Ormondville, Makokutu and Mangatera hotels while the owners have been away, but their most precious family holidays have been spent at Bay View where they owned a bach for 40 years.

"Life's been pretty full on," Bev said. Piri agreed. "It's been a good life."