Former Prime Minister Helen Clark's father George is reminiscing on his extensive life as he celebrates his 99th birthday among family and friends at his Waihi Beach home.
George Clark told the Herald he cannot believe he will reach the milestone on Monday.
"You get to this age and you have to have 20 per cent genetics, 30 per cent luck and the rest is how you live yourself ... the fact that I've never smoked a cigarette and have always eaten good food."
Clark said one of the highlights of his life is having four "wonderful" daughters.
The family grew up on a farm in Te Pahu, in Waikato, where George was a farmer and his wife Margaret was a school teacher. Margaret died in Tauranga Hospital in 2011, aged 87.
The pair had moved to Waihi Beach in 1987. George Clark and his wife received a letter from the Queen marking their 60th wedding anniversary.
Clark explained he started out with humble beginnings.
"When I grew up in a little country house, we had no power until 1939. We had a longdrop outside, we had candles to sleep at night.
"I've got so many memories ... I just say I've been lucky. But in life you have to make your own luck of course."
Waihi Beach is in its final day of alert level 2, where gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted. It will move to alert level 1 tomorrow.
Family from across the country have gathered at the Clark household, but not everybody could make it because of the Covid-19 restrictions.
"Dad's aim has always been to reach 100 and get a letter from the Queen," said Helen Clark, who was at her father's house.
"So we say this is a trial run for that."
Helen Clark was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2008. She was the first female to lead the UN Development Programme, the third most senior role in the United Nations. In 2019, she became the patron of The Helen Clark Foundation.
Last year, she led an independent inquiry reviewing the global handling of the coronavirus pandemic.