Couple look back on the fun that followed their flooded Kaeo wedding 60 years ago, says Mikaela Collins

As Trevor Reed waited inside the Kaeo Methodist Church for his soon-to-be-wife Val to walk down the aisle, she was outside walking the plank.

In true Kaeo fashion there was a flood that day nearly 60 years ago, and a plank was the only way Mrs Reed could get to the church.

On Thursday, August 4, it will be the couple's 60th wedding anniversary and while they laugh about their wedding day now, Mrs Reed said it was scary at the time.

"She had to walk the plank," said Mr Reed.


"It was in Kaeo, and you know how Kaeo floods - they had to put a plank down so that I could get over it in my long white dress and long white train, so it wouldn't get into the flood water, and you were over there waiting in the church thinking, 'Oh, where's Val got to, is she going to be coming or not?'

"My mother was holding a brolly and it's raining like anything and my veil was blowing everywhere but we managed to get to the church and down the aisle," said Mrs Reed.

Rewind to Christmas Eve 1955 - the day the pair met at their friend's engagement party. "He was on one side of the room and I was across the other, I don't know, just eye contact. We thought well, must be something there, don't they say love at first sight? I thought he was a bit of okay."

The pair were engaged at Easter the following year. Mr Reed lived in Whangarei and would travel up to Kaeo, where Mrs Reed lived. After the pair married on August 4, 1956, Mrs Reed moved to Whangarei. On June 6, 1957, the couple had their first child. "People were doing the calculations and I said no, no, it is a honeymoon baby, we got there," she laughed.

Together the couple have seven children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They have had to endure some heartache in their lifetime, as in 1979 they lost their 16-year-old son Billy in a road accident. "It was very hard to come to terms with that," Mrs Reed said.

But the two have also had a lot of fun in their life - they have been to various places overseas and both enjoy their bowls.

"We took on the bowls, which is a very, very cheap sport, had good wins and bad wins, and if you have a win it's a bonus and if you don't, well, it is still a good game.

"We've had a pretty full life. If you sat home, life would be boring," said Mrs Reed.

The couple will be having a get-together at the Kamo Club today with their New Zealand family to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary before they head to Australia, where their daughter is hosting a party for them.

And their secret to a long and happy marriage? "I think it is doing things together, we've had our ups and our downs but we've come through them all."