Great-great grandmother celebrates 100

Mavis keeps herself busy crocheting blankets for charity. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

But most of all, Mavis loves spending time with her huge family.

The upbeat matriarch has four children, 12 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

"My family is the most important thing in my life - they are all my highlights,” says Mavis. "The love and support and watching them grow up and multiply over time." She laughs.

Her youngest daughter Karen Birmingham says her mum is "as sharp as a tack”.

"She keeps all 33 great-grandchildren kitted out with knitted hats and crocheted blankets and ponchos. “She is extremely productive, and manages to still contribute to society,” says Karen.

Mavis donates copious amounts of brightly-coloured handmade dolls, blankets, hats and ponchos to children's charity Homes of Hope.

"Handiwork keeps me occupied, it gives me a goal to do something for somebody else,” says Mavis. "It also keeps my hands nimble and makes me feel like I am accomplishing things. Other than that I just find it very restful."

Mavis says her life has just flown by and in no way does she feel 100.

"I can't believe how quickly the years have gone. I didn't ever think of becoming 100.”

Mavis celebrated her birthday on Wednesday, October 9, hosting a luncheon at the Mount Maunganui RSA.

She also had dinner with all 58 of her family members, many flying in from overseas to be with her.

Mavis moved to Tauranga from Hamilton in 1968 with her husband Doug Meyer. She worked as a secretary in multiple schools across the city.

Once she retired, she was a keen golf-player and very into health and fitness.

Nowadays, Mavis is at the Tauranga Bridge Club about three times a week.

"She loves going to bridge – she’s the matriarch down there as well. If somebody forgets to pick her up they will leap in their car and come and get her," says Karen.

"She has personal care that comes in each morning, and we do her groceries and bring her dinner. She used to have Meals on Wheels, but she likes our food better."

Mavis has already received a letter from the queen, saying that turning 100 is quite an exciting time for her.

"I’ll be arriving at my ‘do’ on a horse and gig.”

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