No one seems to have told Gordon Adams that he should be slowing down.

He turned 90 on July 2, and, not uncharacteristically, played an active part in preparing for the celebration.

"He's well known for being fitter and more energetic than people half his age, and true to form he turned up early to his own party to help chop vegetables, and insisted on serving birthday cake to his friends," granddaughter Yvonne Adams said.

Gordon and his wife Joan, 86, both in good health, have their home on what used to be the family farm south of Mangonui, where Gordon has lived for the last 81 years, and where he and Joan made their living for many years as dairy farmers before converting to beef.

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He continues to instruct at the local gun club, tends his orchard and vegetable garden, drives his tractor, makes his own hay every summer, goes fishing with his mates most weeks, remains a keen duck shooter, and runs a few head of dry stock.

"He loves life," daughter Barbara Hoult said, "and he has always been very active."