Whanganui couple Rona and Murray Wright did not have an auspicious start to their marriage 60 years ago but they celebrated their diamond anniversary yesterday.
Mrs Wright described the disastrous start to their honeymoon in 1956 when a closed Desert Rd blocked their path.

"We stayed the night with Murray's relatives in Utiku where we ate turnip soup for dinner and he slept on a stretcher while I slept on the couch."
The couple thought they were attending a Labour Party meeting at Unity House yesterday when they were surprised with a cake and a special visit from the party's Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson.

As buddy MP to Whanganui, Mr Robertson said he could not miss the opportunity to attend the anniversary of two "Labour Party stalwarts" who have worked hard for the party for such a long time.

He presented them with a copy of Peter Franks & Jim McAloon's book Labour: The New Zealand Labour Party 1916-2016 and a set of Labour centenary tea towels.


Mr Robertson thanked Mr Wright for his time as chairman of the Labour Electorate Committee and the couple for their support of former Whanganui Labour MP Jill Pettis.
"Rona is probably the Labour Party's best fund raiser," said Mr Robertson.

"I've bought hundreds of raffle tickets from her and I don't recall any of them being drawn."

Current Labour Electorate Committee chairman Craig Paynton presented the couple with a bouquet and thanked them for their long service and dedication.

In thanking the gathering for the anniversary celebration, Mr Wright said he looks forward to some good years ahead.

"I've heard that the first 60 years of marriage are the hardest so we'll be right now," he said.

Mrs Wright said she was born in Wellington and her husband was born in Eltham but it was a dance at the Glasgow St Hall in Whanganui that brought them together and they have lived here on and off ever since.