The secret to a good marriage is knowing when to say no, knowing when to say yes — and trying never to confuse the two.

That is Otago Peninsula farmer George Murray's advice after celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife Shirley, nee Foster, on Thursday.

"The time has just come around, perhaps a bit too quickly," Mr Murray said.

The couple have four daughters, nine grandchildren, and four great grand-children — and are holding a reunion of sorts tomorrow in honour of the occasion.

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"It will be quite a wee gathering," Mrs Murray (80) said.

The pair met on a blind date when Mr Murray (82) was 20 and shearing in Middlemarch, and she was an 18-year-old working as a shorthand typist in the post office in Dunedin.

The blind date was organised by a colleague of hers who was also going out with a man from Middlemarch.

There was definitely an "attraction at the start" and from there the pair got to know each other gradually, Mrs Murray said.

As to the reason for the longevity of their marriage, she thought working together had helped keep the pair close.

"The time has just gone so quickly.

"It's been a very busy life."

She grew up in Dunedin, while Mr Murray was from Sandymount, moving to Middlemarch after he left school and going to work on a property that was "overrun with rabbits".

The pair married two years after they met, and lived in Middlemarch for three years among the "rock and the tussock", before moving to Hoopers Inlet on the Otago Peninsula, Mr Murray said. They had lived in the area since.

Mr Murray only retired from farming in the last year. For the past 22 years, they had been living in a house they had built.

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz