Leonard and Gloria Ivey have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at their home in Kerikeri.

The couple were married on May 10, 1958, at St John's Methodist church in Ponsonby, Auckland on 10th May 1958.

Leonard was born in Taihape in 1931, while Gloria (nee Prouting) was born in Ōue, Hokianga, in 1939. They met in 1957, when Gloria was working as a nurse aide at the Cornwall Geriatric Hospital in Greenlane, Auckland, and was living in the Cornwall nurses' home.

Leonard and Gloria Ivey celebrate their wedding day in Auckland on May 10, 1958.
Leonard and Gloria Ivey celebrate their wedding day in Auckland on May 10, 1958.

Leonard was working in the cable station — the international telegraphs office — on the top floor of the Chief Post office in Auckland, and was living in the Mechanic's Bay Hostel.

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Daughter Leonie Main said her parents met at a party held by some Post Office Hostel boys at Papakura. Leonard and his mates would play their piano accordions at parties, and on this occasion Gloria had gone along with some friends from the nurses' home.

After their first meeting Len and his mates would call around to the nurses' home to pick up their girlfriends.

"Mum remembers how the nurses were only allowed out on certain nights and hours," she said.

"If they returned home late she and her friends would tap on the windows around the back of the home and their friends would help pull them up and in through the windows."

Gloria also remembered Len driving her home late one night early in their relationship.

There were roadworks on the motorway and some of the road cones confused him a little.

He turned the wrong way, and, with traffic heading towards them, they soon realised that they were on the wrong side of the motorway.

Len was able to make a U-turn and all was well.

In those days Gloria used a moped to get around Auckland. She even rode it home to the Hokianga once, the trip taking all day, and it was never repeated. Len also bought himself a moped, but Gloria didn't think it suited him.

When they married they went by train to stay with Len's parents in Raetihi for their honeymoon. Their first home together was in Greenhithe, on Auckland's North Shore. That was before the harbour bridge, and they soon moved to Birkenhead. Their first child, son Douglas, was born there.

Gloria decided that she wanted to be closer to her family in Ōue, so Leonard got a job as senior telegraphist at the Kaikohe Post Office. They arrived in November 1959, initially renting a house then building one of their own. Three more children, daughters Leonie, Lynette and Raewyn, were born in Kaikohe.

As the children grew older Gloria got a job in a small café in Kaikohe, then later worked as a cook at Kaikohe Hospital. Len worked up to higher positions at the Post Office, and retiring in 1988, devoting time to his vegetable gardens, pottering around in his shed and fixing cars.

He also developed an interest in photography, and was a member of the Kaikohe Rambling and Tramping Club. Gloria kept flower gardens, and enjoyed having her family around her.

Leonie said her parents had become elderly, and she was travelling to their farm at Marua, Hikurangi, regularly to help them out. Eventually, in 1996, she and Len moved in there, selling their home in Kaikohe.

A jack of all trades, Len enjoyed the many tasks to be done on the farm, but they later moved to Whangārei, and eventually to their present home in Kerikeri.

Both have fond memories of overseas travel. Len went to England and Japan and Gloria to Canada, taking a road trip from there to Disneyland. They also travelled to Australia together.

They have flown to Christchurch several times to visit Douglas and his family, most recently at Christmas, just after Gloria was diagnosed with a serious illness. She has since undergone major surgery.

Len is also dealing with some health issues, but still enjoys his daily walks into town to see what the happenings are. He also likes to surf the internet, and keeps Gloria informed about what the family are up to through Facebook.

Their three daughters live nearby, at Pakaraka, Ōkaihau and Kerikeri. They also have 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.