Northland's oldest person has died just a few months short of her 109th birthday.
Edith Olive Oldfield, known as Olive, passed away peacefully at Radius Baycare in Haruru Falls on Monday.
She attributed her longevity to "decent living", her love of gardening and, above all, dancing.
Olive was unable to walk unaided in recent years and her short-term memory was hazy, but her humour never dimmed and she could clearly recall childhood events 100 years ago.
Born in Auckland in 1906, Olive and her seven siblings grew up on Great Barrier Island where her father worked at a timber mill.
Her oldest memories were of swimming and high-diving off the wharf as an 8-year-old. She also recalled learning to sew her own dresses at 12.
Later she went to live with her grandparents in Mangere - their home was later to become the residence of Prime Minister David Lange - and left school at 14 to become a nanny and then a seamstress.
Olive married in 1927, had two children, and drove trucks for the Red Cross during World War II.
The family moved to Northland in 1940 to manage the Ngawha Spa Hotel, later buying a farm where Ngawha Prison stands today.
In 1948, they moved back to Auckland where Olive pursued her lifelong passion for music and dancing, the foxtrot especially, by starting two social clubs. One is still running.
She was nearing her 80s when she fell in love with and bought a property on Lookout Hill, on State Highway 1 just south of Whangarei.
At the age of 89, she returned to Northland, lived in a caravan while her house was built, gardened obsessively and looked after her cattle and two donkeys until she had to move into a rest home at the age of 98.
When interviewed by the Advocate on her 108th birthday, her advice for a long life was simple: don't drink, smoke or go wild, but try to do plenty of dancing, preferably ballroom dancing.
"I've lived a decent life. I've tried to live a respectful life, and I've kept good company. That's important, too. I've had a pretty good life, one way or another," she said.
Her advice to younger Northlanders - everyone, in other words - was this: "Just make the most of your life."
Olive is survived by daughter Rosemary Puddle of Paihia, four grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
She would have turned 109 on December 4.