Blanche Kingdon wrote a book entitled I Did It My Way.
And indeed she did, say her daughter Gail Taylor-McCabe and granddaughter Jo-Anne Bird who paid tribute to Kingdon following her death last week.
She was 87.
"Looking back at all the things Nana did, I wonder when she ever had time to sleep," Bird said.
Born in Whangāmatā in 1931, Kingdon was the eldest of eight children. The family moved around a lot, following her father's forestry career.
In 1950 she spent her college years at Takapuna Grammar on a scholarship, while her family moved to Rotorua.