A 78-year-old Levin woman has broken three New Zealand indoor rowing records.

Mrs Barbara Sharpe has only been rowing for two years before heading to a masters competition held in Dunedin last month and returning with three New Zealand records.

In the 75-79 age group she competed in 1000, 500 and 300 metre indoor rowing events, winning them all.

The 1000 metre was completed at a time of four minutes and 45.5 seconds, 500 metre at two minutes 14.1 seconds and 300 metre at one minute 17.56 seconds.


She said that some of her opponents had been rowing for more than 19 years, so to win gave her a "huge sense of achievement".

Two years ago Mrs Sharpe retired from 11 years of picking tomatoes.

"Once you retire it's easy to not do anything and the days just drift past.

"That's why I set out to exercise ... not only does keeping fit fight depression but it also gives me joy and purpose."

Mrs Sharpe volunteers one day per week at the Levin SPCA and is now on an adventure packed holiday with a friend in the Galápagos Islands.

She exercises at the gym two days per week, and alternates swimming and walking twice per week. "Keeping fit gives me the ability to keep going, to keep my body supple ... I don't ever want to get old."

With a self-confessed competitive personality, Mrs Sharpe said it's having goals that is important.

"As long as you have goals and achieve something every day, even if it's weeding your garden, you can give yourself a mental pat on the back," she said.

"I use that word 'achieve' a lot, it's important to achieve things as it give you self-esteem.

"If I can keep fit and healthy, I'm sure there are more [seniors] who can too."