By Judith Lacy
Inez Pearce partly attributes her good health at 99 years of age to drinking plenty of water.
But this isn't a story about reaching such a milestone, it's about Inez volunteering each week at Trade Aid in Palmerston North.
Each Wednesday afternoon she does a four-hour shift without resorting to a chair "except when we have afternoon tea".
Inez recalls visiting Trade Aid as a customer and thinking it was a nice place. One day she was there and a friend already volunteering asked "why don't you volunteer".
The shop had an old-fashioned cash register with a pull handle and all sales were recorded in a big book.
"I've been a volunteer here for 35 years, I'm part of the furniture."
Inez was also the Palmerston North secretary for about 15 years and in her younger days had more than one customer service shift a week.
"It's a very friendly shop to work for, they are all very nice people."
Trade Aid is a social enterprise creating fairness in trade with shops around the country as well as an online store.
Inez says Trade Aid suppliers live in developing countries as diverse as Vietnam, Palestine, Timor Leste, Uganda, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.
"The more goods we sell the more money they get," she says. "It enables them to get an education and help with living costs."
As well as improvements in retail technology, Inez has noticed changes in the stock. "The quality of the goods today is far superior to what they were years ago."
Asked what she puts her good health down to, Inez replied: "I come from a line of long livers I suppose, I drink plenty of water."
She also attributes her long life to belonging to clubs and having interests, such as antiques, china painting and outdoor bowls.
Born in England, Inez came to New Zealand with her family when she was 4. She grew up in Whanganui and Lower Hutt.
"My mother couldn't settle so we went back [to England] three times as children, six weeks on a boat."
In 1961 she came to Manawatū with her dairy farming husband, Victor. They lived at Makerua, near Tokomaru, then Rangiotu.