After being born in Northland and spending much of her life here, it was fitting that Eunice celebrated her 100th birthday in the region with family and friends.

Strong in will and body, and in all those years losing only her sense of smell and a little of her sight, the Northland woman celebrated with a gold leaf-covered chocolate and red velvet cake made by local chocolatier Tatiana Byvaltseva at her home, Maungaturoto Residential care, and again days later, at a garden party with family and friends at her daughter Pat George's home in Matakohe.

Adelaide Eunice Timperley (Ngāti Manu, Ngāpuhi) was born on January 30, 1918, in Kawakawa, the eldest of three daughters for Lance and Ada (nee Moewaka) Timperley. She and her brothers Lance, Bert, Joe, Charlie and Jack and sisters Carrie and Betty, all grew up on and near the family farm at Ruapekapeka.

The granddaughter of Hira (Kepa) and Hemi Neri II, she has fond memories of her grandfather (Johnny Blue Eyes) riding his horse over from the family marae at Karetu on Sundays to have dinner with the family. As a child she would ride with her mother, on the front of her mother's horse to take food and supplies to her father, who worked beside the bullock trains that hauled kauri trees out of the bush.


She met her husband, Murray Priebe, in the late 1930s, together raising children Paul, Patricia (Pat) and Michael (Mike). They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on September 28, 2012, and enjoyed another three years together before Murray died in 2016, at the age of 96.

Mrs Priebe was a very savvy businesswoman from the start of her working career. She and sister Carrie had a boutique in Kawakawa for many years, before she moved to Auckland to train as a hairdresser. She then returned to Kawakawa, where she and her husband took over Harry Priebe's (Murray's father) Unisex barber shop, the first of its kind in the North and rather progressive for those days.

The couple left Kawakawa for Warkworth in the late 1940s to open a milk bar and fruit shop and to build their first home. It wasn't long before they were back in the North, in Hikurangi, where Eunice opened a hair salon and Murray a panel beating shop.

When youngest child Mike was just starting school the family moved to the Bay of Plenty, where they spent the next 50 years (Eunice operating three hair salons and two children's clothing shops) before finally returning to Maungaturoto, to be near daughter Pat.

Eunice loved to travel, and in 1971, when she applied for her first passport, she was shocked to discover upon acquiring a copy of her birth certificate that she had been celebrating her birthday two days early all her life. She has seen many changes in 100 years, from the advent of the telephone to Skyping with her granddaughter Sarah-Jane in the USA.

Her three children have given her nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.