A Levin woman who turned 100 last week was surprised to open her letterbox to find a birthday card from the Queen and a letter from the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The cards took pride of place on the kitchen table next to a host of others from family and friends, some handmade by her grandchildren.

Dulcie Clark, nee Wilson, who was born in Christchurch in 1919, spent the day having lunch with family and friends, but admitted to wondering what all the fuss was about.

Levin woman Dulcie Clark celebrating her 100th birthday last week.
Levin woman Dulcie Clark celebrating her 100th birthday last week.

"It's no different to any other day," she said, although the throng of cards, flowers and messages suggested otherwise.

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"It was very nice, though. I've been very fortunate. I've had quite a few visitors."

When she was young the Wilson family moved from Christchurch to Mission Bay in Auckland, where they were just the second house built on what was now a heavily populated part of the city.

Keeping busy and active through her life has obviously contributed to her longevity, as well as good genes, and she has always eaten healthy food and had a glass of wine with dinner.

Mrs Clark was always an avid swimmer and won the cup for winning the ocean race from Kohimarama to Rangitoto Island, and was also heavily involved in lifesaving as a lifeguard for St Heliers Surf club, and played a lot of golf with her mother.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hand wrote a message to Levin woman Dulcie Clark on her birthday last week.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hand wrote a message to Levin woman Dulcie Clark on her birthday last week.

She trained as a nurse and took up a position at Auckland Hospital where she was charge nurse in the war, looking after mostly American soldiers.

It was there she met her future husband, an Englishman in the Merchant Navy,Nicholas Clark, who was admitted to hospital to have his tonsils removed.

They hit it off, and on his return visit to New Zealand six months later they began dating, and in 1943 they were married and had three children, Elizabeth, John and Diane.

After several moves including time at Waikato and Wellington Hospitals, she retired at 65, and eventually settled in Waikanae, later moving to Levin to be closer to family.

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Mrs Clark lives independently at Summerset Retirement Village, and said she was fortunate to have a family that kept in touch, including 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

"I like it here. I see more of my family," she said.

Family also pitched in and helped whenever she needed it. As she gave up driving at the age of 95, they did a grocery run as required.

"I'm very fortunate," she said.