It's been a family affair, working as lift operators in Whanganui's historic Durie Hill Elevator, but this family is stepping down.
With the lift closed for at least three months for servicing of the machinery and reconstruction of the entrance, it brings to an end a multi-generational involvement for a keen bunch of lift attendants.
Raewyn Tangaroa, Char Ross, Zena Mabbott and Ramon Mabbott are three generations of the one family.
"Between us we've probably been associated with the lift for 100 years," said Zena. "Fifty years ago my dad worked there. I took over from him for holidays. Raewyn's been there for about 30-odd [years], Char's been there 20-odd and [Ramon] you've been with us five years."
Zena and Raewyn's father was Mervyn (Jock) Hood, who operated the lift for a number of years.
"That's four generations," said Zena.
They know all the elevator puns and one-liners.
"We've travelled a long way and gone nowhere … had so many ups and downs … always end my day on a high ..."
Their contract expires at the end of May.
To honour their work, a small crowd gathered at Durie Hill Bowling Club last Thursday for morning tea and reminiscing.
Sue Morgan of Step Up Durie Hill, a group dedicated to the revival and promotion of the suburb, addressed all present.
"Because the elevator will be closed for three months, the ladies and gentleman may not get back to finish their contract … so we did not want to wait: we decided to put on a thank you and farewell from our community today."
People from the community spoke about their experiences in the lift and their interaction with the attendants.
"I'd like to say thank you to the people who operate the lift," said Belinda. "I have claustrophobia ...
"Each time I've used the lift, bringing my bike up the hill, I have talked constantly to the lift operators, because it's the only way I can handle my fear. They've always reciprocated, chatted away to me, and it's kept me calm. So thank you so much for the conversations and keeping my anxiety at bay, so I didn't start to head-butt the wall, or something."
Others shared their stories and gratitude to the lift operators. One resident mentioned how brave she thought they were.
"There's no way I would do that job," she said. She said it wouldn't be the machinery or the lift itself that would scare her, but people and their behaviour.
"Over the years we've had a lot who have been interesting," said Raewyn, "Even the horrible ones have been interesting."
She told a story about a group of young lads who were looking for trouble, one of whom was armed with a knife. She was able to call Zena, who arrived with her husband. The boys backed off and left.
Raewyn, Char, Zena and Ramon were presented with gifts from the community.
"They've been part of our lives, and a lot of people's lives, for such a long time. We couldn't let them disappear into retirement without acknowledging the part they've played in our community," said Sue Morgan.