World War I was in full force with New Zealand subject to attacks off its coast by Germany when Mary Kennedy was born 103 years ago.

Mary celebrated her birthday at Hetherington House in Waihi where she is the oldest resident.

She was born in 1917 in Scotland and came to New Zealand as a small child. She first lived in
Christchurch then shifted to Waihi where she has lived since.

When Mary was born, New Zealand History records that the German converted freighter SMS Wolf had seized and sunk two ships, the Union Company's Wairuna and an American schooner, off the Kermadec Islands. Mines it laid off the New Zealand coast later claimed two more vessels.

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Those who know Mary say she spends a lot of her time sleeping and is very frail but still gives a smile to those who she deems to be deserving of one, like our Waihi Leader sales representative Christine Nicoll who used to work at Hetherington House and who captured this photo of her on her birthday last Thursday.

According to Stats NZ, life expectancy at birth is 80.2 years for males and 83.6 years for females.

The week was a busy one at Hetherington House with staff member Grace Mudgway also given special attention as she reached her 25th anniversary at the workplace.