Endless photos, sentimental artwork, and homemade pottery fill the rooms of Ian and Laura McGregor's Matua home - a testament to 70 happy years of marriage.

Their secret: Laura's way is always the right one.

Although Laura now suffers from dementia, her recollection of the couple's life together remains untouched.

It was the 1940s when the pair met at a Dunedin Town Hall dance.

Advertisement

Boys on one side and girls on the other, the band started and Ian had his eyes set on Laura across the room.

One dance later and the couple became inseparable.

A short while later, they were engaged and tied the knot on March 14 1949 - 70 years ago today.

Five children later, Laura was a "fantastic" stay-at-home mum and Ian a budding railway engineer.

Ian's job took the family around the country and the world.

The pair were married on the 14th of March 1949. Photo / Caroline Fleming
The pair were married on the 14th of March 1949. Photo / Caroline Fleming

A long stint in London saw the family holidays consisting of campervan trips around Europe, where Laura was a "top organiser", preparing six weeks of food for the seven-person strong family.

At the end of Ian's career, he was the deputy general manager of the railway network in England, with a whopping 21,000 staff underneath him.

His dedication and expertise earned him a Member of the British Empire (MBE) award, directly from the Queen.

Advertisement

The pair moved back to New Zealand in the 1980s, choosing to retire in Tauranga.

Seventeen grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren later, the couple's daughter Sue Comeskey described them as the foundation of the large family.

Ian has quite the knack for pottery. Photo / Caroline Fleming
Ian has quite the knack for pottery. Photo / Caroline Fleming

The couple picked up special hobbies with all their extra time- Ian becoming an excellent potter and Laura, a spinner.

With a small lifestyle block, Laura would spin the wool shorn of their half-a-dozen sheep.

They have lasted as long as they have by simply "respecting and loving each other" and not even knowing the meaning of the word argue, said Laura.

Dating nowadays would really be very difficult, a different world completely to what it was, said Ian.

One thing is for certain, said Laura: "We've had such a great life."

Laura has a book of photographs of her large family that she spends the day flipping through. Photo / Caroline Fleming
Laura has a book of photographs of her large family that she spends the day flipping through. Photo / Caroline Fleming

NZ in 1949

-The estimated NZ population was 1,892,100
-The status of New Zealand Citizen came into existence
-New Zealand general election was won by Sidney Holland's National party, ousting Peter Fraser's Labour government.
-Tokelau (Union) Islands declared part of New Zealand