Balloons and party poppers, confetti and glitter adorned the lounge at Jane Mander Retirement Village in Whangārei.

It was a party fit for a queen, and Audrey Parkinson certainly deserved to be treated like a queen. Yesterday was Parkinson's 100th birthday.

She sat at the head table wearing a crown, flanked by two of the village's other three centenarians.

The whole village was invited to the party, which was not just a birthday party for Parkinson, but also celebrated the other centenarians. More than 100 residents turned up for the morning tea.

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Audrey Parkinson celebrated her 100th birthday at Jane Mander Retirement Village. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Audrey Parkinson celebrated her 100th birthday at Jane Mander Retirement Village. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Parkinson's sense of humour is a hallmark of her personality.

Asked if she ever thought she'd live to 100 she quips: "I didn't want too, but I've made it."

So what's her secret for living so long? "I don't know, I've got no idea. I don't think the fact I haven't smoked or haven't drunk made any difference."

Four members of her family lived to 95 and she said when she got to 95 she thought "that's it". But evidently not.

Jane Mander activities co-ordinator Jazz Phillips said it was special to have so many residents aged 100 and older.

"Other villages might have one or two but to have four is amazing. They're still full of life."

Ella Bayes is 104, Mabel Redwood is 101 and Dorothy West who was away and couldn't make the party, is also 101.

One lives independently in the village, one in the serviced apartments and the other two in the resthome.

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Jane Mander Retirement Village's centenarians Dorothy West, 101, Ella Bayes, 104, Audrey Parkinson, 100, and Mabel Redwood, 101. Photo/Supplied
Jane Mander Retirement Village's centenarians Dorothy West, 101, Ella Bayes, 104, Audrey Parkinson, 100, and Mabel Redwood, 101. Photo/Supplied

Parkinson was born on March 29, 1919 in Whangārei. She moved to Auckland to work when she was around 19, where she got married and stayed.

Her husband died in 1971 when he was 50 and she has been a widow since. She said she became very independent.

She never had any children.

"Sorriest thing of my life, I was going to have 12." She chuckled and added "I might have stopped after two."

Parkinson loved babies and looked after everyone else's instead.

"I'm aunty Audrey to a lot of people."

She worked all her life. "I was a postie in the war." After that she worked in various post offices around Auckland.

Twelve years ago she moved back to Whangārei.

Parkinson said she is still in good health.

"I can still hear, I can still see and I've still got some marbles left and I still do crosswords."

The exclusive Northern Advocate front page marks Audrey Parkinson's 100th birthday. Photo/Michael Cunningham
The exclusive Northern Advocate front page marks Audrey Parkinson's 100th birthday. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Parkinson's niece Judith Grant had made up an exclusive special crossword edition Northern Advocate front page to celebrate the occasion.

She said her aunt had so many cards she thought she would "do something a bit different".

Grant thought Parkinson's secret to a long life was that she was always positive, happy and laughing.

"She has us in fits she really does, some of things she comes out with."

Parkinson will celebrate with around 35 family and friends today.