Helotes is a small town - some say suburb - in Bexar Country, Texas.

The soil is fertile, and they love a good local festival.

And their music - Willie Nelson occasionally plays at a local "honky tonk" - a dance hall by the name of the John T. Floore Country Store.

What does this have to do with Hawke's Bay?


Well, as you can see, Helotes has a little in common with our region, which is perhaps why Americans Phil Krueger and Judy Newman, from Helotes, spend January and February each year in Napier.

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And enjoy it so much that the couple have decided to express their affection for the Hawke's Bay town through a kind financial gesture, which now means Napier residents aged 65 plus who are SuperGold cardholders have to pay only $1 entry to the Napier Aquatic Centre.

That's a big discount - it used to cost $3.70 a time. But now, $3.70 will buy you three visits and send you well on your way to a fourth.

Phil and Judy were married at Bluff Hill, in 2008 and have visited Hawke's Bay annually since 1999.

They are both keen swimmers - Phil has competed in Masters Games. So they both know the benefits of an active lifestyle.

And as they are both in their Golden Years, they know how living on a fixed income can be challenging, so they chose to invest some of their own money in the subsidy, adding to money they have invested locally in saving kiwi, restoring the old Napier Cemetery, on Napier Hill, and the upkeep of Napier's Botanical Gardens.

All because they believe they can attribute much of their own personal happiness, to the time they have spent here.

Phil and Judy's kind act is a reminder of the esteem this region is held in by people from all over the world.

It seems apt that those members of our community experiencing their Golden Age only need a gold coin now for some quality recreation and social time.

And Phil and Judy met and found love through swimming - maybe some local Golden Agers will too.