An Auckland man has celebrated his 105th birthday surrounded by his family and friends - on video call, of course.
Laurence Reynolds today turned 105 at his rest home in Auckland, with loved ones joining in on a Zoom call.
"People from all over the world have been part of the Zoom party, which has been really special," said daughter Alison Dyson.
During the party, other loved ones who lived locally gathered at the gates of the Elizabeth Knox Home and Hospital - at a safe distance from one another - and waved to Reynolds.
Dyson said people joined the video call from London, Paris, Jerusalem and Australia.
Reynolds celebrated his birthday with his wife of 74 years, Claire Reynolds, by his side. The pair had their wedding anniversary a few weeks ago.
Dyson said it was "very special" to have family "participating in what is a milestone for somebody who we just greatly love and respect".
She said the volunteers and staff at the rest home had a "generous spirit and appreciation of the residents" which helped make today's celebration a reality.
The couple only moved into the rest home when Reynolds was 104 - before that they lived in a private apartment with some home care provided.
Dyson described her father as a "caring and compassionate person" who lived through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and pandemics including the Spanish Flu.
He studied as a doctor at the University of Otago, and specialised in cardiology, going on to become a ship's doctor on a cargo vessel.
He was working in London when World War II broke out.
"Straight away he went to New Zealand House to offer his services but as they were not recruiting he joined the Royal Army Medical Corp and was in uniform by mid-October 1939," Dyson said.
"He rose to the rank of Major and held acting rank of Lieutenant-Colonel for a while."
Dyson said Reynolds established the first coronary care unit in New Zealand, where important medical trials were undertaken. He also set up the first cardiac rehabilitation unit.
He has four children with his wife, of which Dyson is the youngest.
She had fond memories of her father taking a full month of unpaid leave to spend time with them at a lakeside bach in the summers.
"We would go fishing and get up early in the morning - the fog would rise up off the lake and we would have quiet time ... in the evening he would be playing cards and having a whisky or two."
Dyson said her father had "enjoyed his life to the fullest" and had sustained a "very loving relationship with my mother".
"Look, life is never perfect and I think they are a great example to us all of how you just support each other and get through life's challenges and risks and keep going with a really positive attitude."
His long life, "perpetual optimism", and his pleasure in family, friends and his work were a reminder during the Covid-19 pandemic that "such challenges can be met with hope and belief in better times to come".