At 100 years old, fashion is still paramount for Marjorie Katherine Watson, who celebrated her special day with close family and friends in Napier yesterday.

Now living at Princess Alexandra Retirement Village, she was seated comfortably with pristine nails, a diamond tiara, floral dress and pink cardigan.

Her secret to a long life was plenty of walking - either in high heels or any other type of shoe.

Born and raised in Ruapuna, Canterbury, Watson moved to Napier to be closer to family in 1997.

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Close friend Steve Chalmers said despite her age, there was still a cheekiness and independence to Watson.

"A staff member wished her a Happy Birthday knowing it was her 100th and asked how old she was and she said 97," he laughed.

Her cousin Maureen Davidson said there were no barriers when it came to fashion.

"She used to walk to the Taradale shops in high heel shoes," she said.

A much loved Marjorie Watson celebrates her birthday in style in Napier. Photo / Paul Taylor
A much loved Marjorie Watson celebrates her birthday in style in Napier. Photo / Paul Taylor

"My mother always told a great story about Marjorie, she lived in the country when growing up and we always went to the A&P show and she was always beautifully dressed in high heels and an amazing hat.

"We were always had to park in the paddock and then you'd have to plough through the fields to get to the show.

"Her father said 'Marjorie if your hat was two sizes smaller and your shoes were two sizes bigger we would get there a lot quicker."

Her colourful life took off in 1942 after she completed Red Cross course in Ashburton as a dare among her two friends.

She was posted to New Caledonia where they worked in a convalescent hospital caring for members of the NZ Third Division.

On returning to New Zealand she worked at Wellington Hospital but was soon called to Senigallia in Italy, to nurse New Zealand third division troops.

She wasn't sent back home until February 1946 and her name was placed on the memorial gate at Ruapuna Park, to honour those who served and fell in World Wars I and II.

She married Earnest Watson and had a daughter, Marianne and a later a son, John.

The adventure didn't stop, as in 1953 she met and shook hands with Queen Elizabeth who was on her coronation visit to New Zealand.

It was clear that Watson was loved on her special day. Family members sat around her as she reminisced, holding her hand and sharing laughter.

She may be 100 years old, but she continues on with style, elegance and grace.