How does it feel to share your birthday with a holiday? Herald reporter Tess Nichol finds out in our Holiday Babies series.

Not only does Peter Tolich risk having his birthday overshadowed by Christmas every year, he also has to share it with two other people.

The first of a set of triplets born on December 24, 1950, Tolich didn't even have a cake of his own until his 40th birthday.

Read the rest of the Holiday Babies series:

Herald reporter Tess Nichol, born on Christmas Eve
Dylan Sofa, born on Christmas Day
Jake O'Driscoll, born on New Year's Day

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Not that he really minds.

"We don't know anything other than being triplets."

Peter, Mike and David Tolich were born six-and-a-half weeks premature at the former National Women's Hospital in Auckland, but despite a rough beginning all three survived - a rarity in those days.

The Tolich triplets in the New Zealand Herald the week after they were born on December 24 1950, held by the doctors who delivered them. Photo/ Supplied
The Tolich triplets in the New Zealand Herald the week after they were born on December 24 1950, held by the doctors who delivered them. Photo/ Supplied

As such, they were often featured in newspapers and glossy magazines as children.

They were featured in the Herald the week of their birth, each held by a doctor from the team who delivered them.

They were pictured again five years later starting school.

From left to right: Peter, Mike and David Tolich leave the house in February 1955. Photo/ NZ Herald archive
From left to right: Peter, Mike and David Tolich leave the house in February 1955. Photo/ NZ Herald archive

"There was a pattern that every year, especially when we were younger, we would be rounded up and have our photos taken," Tolich said.

David Tolich, the youngest ("third cab off the rank") was something of a surprise for the triplets' mother, who had been told she was having twins.

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"The doctors said 'my God, there's another pair of feet. That was me," David said.

He and Peter were born breached; Mike was the only one of the three born the right way around.

The trio were extremely close as boys, speaking to one another in a made-up language other people couldn't understand.

Despite that closeness, sharing their birthday so near to Christmas was sometimes a source of tension.

"It was terrible, it was terrible, because we were so close [to Christmas]," Mike lamented, before David cut him off.

"It was actually quite good because you had two days, one then the other, so if you didn't like what you got for your birthday you got something else for Christmas - you got two shots," David said.

Still though, the day would get lost as their mother and father worked hard to put together seasonal celebrations.

"Not that I'm saying we were deprived in any way," he added.

From left to right: Peter, Mike and David Tolich as newborns, held by their parents Valerie and Andy Tolich. Photo/ Supplied
From left to right: Peter, Mike and David Tolich as newborns, held by their parents Valerie and Andy Tolich. Photo/ Supplied

They'd get presents, have a party and there'd always be a cake - albeit a shared one, Peter said.

"We never actually had a cake of our own, and when we had our 40th birthday up here in Auckland we had a big do and our wives made us a cake each.

"So we each had a separate cake for the first time, basically."

Sometimes the triplets wanted their own day, but because they were always together it mainly didn't occur to them that was an option, Peter said.

A special celebration put on at their aunt and uncle's farm in Kaikohe sticks out for Peter and Mike as a childhood highlight.

"There was this big party organised and this birthday cake my grandmother Maggie had put together.

"I thought that was quite a significant thing -that we were away from home but we still managed to celebrate our birthday."

For David, the last Christmas spent with their father's military friends was his best.

"Everyone used to get the same gift, but the last year we were there, we each got a model aeroplane, like a big plane you could make up."

The gifts were very superior to the Christmas presents the other army children received.

"All these other kids got whatever. That was our last Christmas with the battalion. It was quite special."