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Faith and family behind longevity of 109 year old

Faith and family behind longevity of 109 year old

Strong faith and family have been the longevity secrets of Aileen Kars, New Zealand’s oldest person. Turning 109 years old this week, the Manawatu-born Arvida Olive Tree resident celebrated with a high tea and reunion with her three granddaughters, who she hadn’t seen for almost three years due to COVID-19.

Helen, Judith, and Christine live overseas and were finally able to be with their grandmother to celebrate the milestone in person. Christine says although her grandmother was strict when they were growing up, she would always go out of her way to treat her grandchildren with baking.

“She would always make lovely slices for us because she knew we would eat it all and we did.”

Aileen’s baking traditions are still going strong with her granddaughters who share her slice recipes with their own families. As a devoted farmer’s wife, Aileen would milk cows and ride horses with her late husband, balancing busy farm duties with raising her children in the Manawatu region.

After 54 happy years of marriage, Aileen first moved into Olive Tree back in 1993 and was in an original new built villa. She then moved into an apartment and transitioned into the care centre where she currently lives.

Olive Tree Village Manager, Robyn Ballard says Aileen has a great sense of humour, loves a sleep-in, and was well-known in the Olive Tree community for her love of dancing when she was younger.

Judith believes her grandmother’s strong faith has contributed to her amazing longevity and good health.

“Our grandmother still prays every night before bed. We are so proud of her, it’s an amazing achievement to get to this age, we love her so much.”