As far as tricky journalism assignments go, trying to sum up Les Winslade's long and very busy life - 100 years in 800 or so words - is right up there.
Les has accomplished so much in his life that even just listing all his community involvements would take up an entire page of the Taupō & Turangi Weekender.
But, looking at his life, and with the help of cards, letters, certificates and awards and Les's own life story, what really stands out is that this is a man who has always put other people and his community before himself and can't help but get involved with a worthy cause.
From overseeing the Waiwhetu Meeting House Appeal, which resulted in the magnificent carved wharenui Aroha ki te Tangata in Lower Hutt, to organising a working bee at the home of a sick colleague or auctioning off his car to raise money for the Cancer Society's Lions Lodge, Les has always found a way to do good for others.
He has notched up long service in the Scouting movement, with service clubs Jaycees and Lions, managed rugby clubs, overseen massive building projects and been involved with a diverse range of local projects, from the East Taupō Arterial highway to the Taupō Hospital and Health Society.
He has been awarded one of Lions International's top honours, the Melvin Jones Fellowship, awarded Rotary's highest community service award the Paul Harris Fellowship and to top it all off, was presented with the Queen's Service Medal by the Governor-General in 2009.
Born in Birkenhead on the River Mersey on September 28, 1920, Les, his older brother Norman and their parents came to New Zealand in 1926 as New Zealand-Government assisted immigrants.
It was the Depression and Les's father, a boilermaker and platelayer, had lost his job in the shipyards on the Mersey.
They settled in Lower Hutt and Les's community involvement started as a 12-year-old Scout, making soap to raise money for equipment for his Scout group.
He became a patrol leader and went on to lead the Third Lower Hutt Methodist Scout Troop as scoutmaster, eventually becoming assistant provincial commissioner.
While Les was growing up, the Depression spread to New Zealand and times were hard.
His father did relief work and his mother cleaned and made clothes for those who could afford it as well as sewing all the family's own garments.
Les says it is a tribute to their parents that he and Norman never felt any rigours of the times although the family lost their home because they could not longer afford the mortgage payment.
They were eventually able to get it back thanks to the intervention of the local MP, later Prime Minister, Walter Nash.
Les left school as soon as he turned 15 to begin work as a telegraph boy. He soon became a postman and was delivering mail on the day World War II broke out.
He was told to report directly to the Trentham Army Camp where he was almost immediately made a sergeant and put in charge of operating the camp's antiquated telephone exchange.
Les later joined the RNZAF but failed the colour blindness test and was reposted for training as a wireless operator. He served in the Solomons near Guadalcanal with the 6th Catalina Flying Boat Squadron.
After the war, Les returned to New Zealand where he and wife Helen had daughters Pat and Alison. He was working as a deputy registrar of motor vehicles at the post office when he saw an advertisement for young men with initiative, an apt description for Les if there ever was one.
He joined National Mutual, initially as a clerk but worked his way up to regional sales manager in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa and then transferred to Dunedin as Otago manager until retiring at 60.
Some of his huge achievements included the Waiwhetu marae wharenui project, leading a contingent of 300 teenage Scouts to Australia for Jamboree in 1960 and planning and overseeing the construction of multi-storey National Mutual buildings in Lower Hutt and Dunedin and rugby clubrooms in both cities.
While Les was successful in his career, it was the other things he did that people most remembered. His personal philosophies included helping customers manage their money so they could afford to buy a home, and fostering a healthy confident team of staff.
As part of that, he was always keen to help those with potential into their first job. On one occasion Les loaned a new employee the balance of the deposit he needed for his first home, an act of kindness that stood him in good stead when that man became his boss in later years.
Others stayed with him rent-free for months while saving to buy their first house. An employee awaiting a kidney transplant had moved his family into a new home and still needed to complete the lawns and garage.
Les organised a team of his National Mutual sales staff and it did the sick man's heart and health good to see 17 volunteers arrive and complete the outstanding work in the space of a few hours.
After moving to Dunedin, Les became a foundation member of the Dunedin Budget Advisory Service and specialised in helping people having problems with their mortgages, eventually helping hundreds of people sort out their tangled finances. It was through this that he met his second wife Barbara.
When Les retired, and after a round the world trip, the pair were campervanning in the North Island where they stopped for a day in Taupō. It was handily located between their children and grandchildren who were spread around the North Island and when Barbara asked Les if she would consider retiring there, he replied "I'd retire in Taupō like a shot!"
The couple arrived in Taupō in 1983 where Barbara became the local medical officer of health and Les embarked on a second working life, this time unpaid, where he set about using his talents to benefit his new district.
He joined Taupō Pakeke Lions Club and found himself driving the train on the Tongariro Domain. Among his many community activities, he set up Taupō Neighbourhood Watch, became secretary/treasurer and later patron of Taupō Hospital & Health Society, which has raised more than $2 million for medical improvements in the Taupō district over the years, and spearheaded community fundraising efforts for the Turangi Community Health Centre, which opened in 2008.
Some of his bright ideas have included coming up with a geothermal heating system for Taupō Hospital which replaced its old coal-fired boiler, and initiating a Pakeke Lions traffic survey for eight years to back the council's case to central government for the East Taupō Arterial bypass.
Barbara died in 2012, but Les spent last Saturday celebrating with family, which includes his four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and also had a birthday party at St John's Wood last Monday, with members of the Taupō Pakeke Lions Club gathering to serenade him, and Taupō district mayor David Trewavas presenting him with a card and bunch of flowers.
"I've had an interesting life and it's been a very satisfying life, particularly helping so many people with housing finance and housing advice and I think I've done a fair amount on the health scene too," Les says.
"I've been richly rewarded with various honours - I have seven life memberships and two fellowships. All these things have me feeling in a very happy frame of mind as my 100th birthday approaches."
But he is quick to add that his Taupō achievements have been a team effort.
"Everything I've done has been with the support of the Taupō Pakeke Lions Club. I would never have achieved as much as I have without the support of my fellow Lions."