Sixty-nine cards and 12 bouquets decorate Marjorie Smith's living room after the Whangārei woman celebrated her 100th birthday this week.
The Whangārei RSA surprised its longstanding member with a well-attended party on Wednesday night after Smith enjoyed the day in good company.
Smith said her secret to a long life was keeping the mind occupied and surrounding herself with friends.
"Work, play, just live and be kind to people," Smith explained what matters most to her.
While none of her family lives in New Zealand, Smith is an active member of the women's section at the RSA, the Senior Citizens Club and two different friendship clubs which keep the 100-year old on her feet daily.
Born in Ireland as the daughter of two actors, Smith grew up close to the theatre stage and remembers parts she played as a 5e-year old.
Her family moved across to the Isle of Man when Smith was a teenager, and she joined the army when she was 20 "to become a drill sergeant and for some fresh air work".
During her five-year service, Smith not only got the see the Queen who was stationed nearby Smith's camp, but also met her first husband and father of her son Roy Butterfield who she described as the "apple of [her] eye".
In the 50s, Smith moved to New Zealand where she remarried, and with her son and her husband Basil Welsford, bought a farm at Manaia.
"It was a mixed farm with dairy and sheep," Smith said.
Cloak gifted to Queen Victoria returns to Northland - 156 years later
Dargaville community questions validity of new pontoon
"It was quite different after being born into theatre and then being at the army. I learnt how to milk cows and those sorts of things."
After their farming days came to a close, the family moved into town. Both her husband and son have since died, which left Smith without family in New Zealand.
It wasn't until Smith turned 90 that she learned how large her family actually was, and while they all live in the UK, Smith was pleasantly surprised by the sudden addition to the whānau.
"I was raised as an only child, and I never knew I had an older brother," Smith said.
Her parents, as it turns out, had a son before Smith was born and had given him up for adoption.
Late in life, Smith's brother found his sister, and after some correspondence, Smith agreed to visit him.
Sadly, he died before Smith arrived in the UK; however, Smith got to meet her nephews, nieces and extended family.
"Suddenly, I had a family at 90," Smith said. "It was absolutely marvellous."
Her UK family cheered for Smith after reaching her milestone birthday on Wednesday, as did the Queen who acknowledged Smith's 100th in a card.