For hundreds of Hawke's Bay people a traffic officer by the name of Maurie Gibson got them started on their motoring journeys by issuing them with a driver's licence.

He spent about 20 years working for the Napier City Council's traffic department during the 1950s and '60s and, while he is no longer working on driving-related paperwork, he is more than happy to get a few sheets of paper out from time to time - for a sing-song.

Mr Gibson has just turned 103 and on Sunday enjoyed the occasion with his family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for a very special day.

"A luncheon with a good old-fashioned sing-a-long," was how a member of the family put it.


"He still has a cheeky sense of humour and a passion for music."

Mr Gibson lived in Napier with his wife and family for about 50 years before eventually moving to Auckland in 1996 to be closer to family, and for the past few years has resided at the Lady Allum retirement village on the North Shore.

He was a popular and well-known traffic officer who was fair and straight up with everyone he dealt with, and once said he had no problem letting people off, but only after letting them know exactly what they had done wrong and if they did it again then the ticket book would come out.

"Oh they were good years," he said during an interview 13 years ago when he turned 90 - and made the news by deciding to take a parachute jump to celebrate his birthday.

Which he did and said he enjoyed the experience so much he'd "do it all again tomorrow".

It wasn't quite tomorrow but when he turned 95 he did take part in another tandem parachute jump to raise money for child cancer.

Asked how it felt to hurtle through the air he said it was a lot faster than having to chase an errant driver back in the '60s when he rode a Triumph motorcycle.

"I loved it."


He was part of a well-known local traffic department crew back then along with officers like Jack Green, Alan Smith and Jack Reagan, and started out on the roads in 1956 before retiring from the job in 1976.