He's one of the country's longest-serving mayors and now Tim Shadbolt could well be one of the nation's oldest dads.

The Invercargill mayor, 65, became a father for the fourth time with the arrival 10 days ago of a boy to his partner of 19 years, Asha Dutt.

Dutt, understood to be in her mid-30s, and Shadbolt are not keen to talk about the baby's arrival but the Herald on Sunday understands he is yet to be named.

Other well-known older dads are welcoming the birth and say that Shadbolt is better placed than ever to enjoy a little one.


Former Fair Go presenter Kevin Milne, a father for the fourth time 10 years ago at the age of 52, said Shadbolt should "give up the mayoralty, stop travelling and become a full-time dad. Enjoy the ride."

"I feel I've been a better dad at my older age than I was when I was young. More patient, more relaxed, less work," Milne said.

"Besides [daughter] Tommie has the advantage of parents who have 'done the course'. Both her parents from day one were Bachelors of Parenthood."

The man who almost certainly holds the title as the country's oldest dad, Herald on Sunday cartoonist Peter Bromhead, said there was one downside to later parenthood. "I'll have school fees to pay until I am 96," the 79-year-old said. He became a father for the sixth time last year.

"The advantages are immense. It's been wondrous having these boys. When you are in your 30s you are too busy making money, so I don't think you put the time into children like I do now."

He had got used to people assuming he was his 7-month-old son Felix's grandfather. He was proud to tell people his boy was conceived naturally and that there was a 53-year gap between him and oldest daughter Esme.

Maintaining a sense of humour would be essential for Shadbolt. "I have known Tim from his concreting days and I think he will find it a lot of fun."

But Dutt wasn't having fun when we called, simply saying, "we're not talking to the media".


This month she wrote to the editor of the Southland Times complaining that it had run a three-sentence story on her having been spotted shopping for a bassinet.

"I question why you see fit to print alleged aspects of my private retail purchases and also how you consider this information to be in the public interest," she wrote. "I feel strongly that my privacy has been invaded."

However, news of the birth is a big talking point down south. One Invercargill City Council insider, who did not want to be named, said Shadbolt had told him that he had had a vasectomy, and he had to assume it had been reversed.