She has lead troops of girl guides and helped our troops during war time, at 101 years old there isn’t much that Gwen Farquhar hasn’t seen or experienced.
Born in 1918, Gwen has lived through a century that has seen some of the most significant change, terror, success and discovery that humans have ever witnessed.
Gwen grew up on a farm in Waharoa, just north of Matamata, where her father bred Jersey Cows. When Gwen was 28, she moved north to Auckland, and has now lived in the city for over 70 years, witnessing a lot of growth along the way.
During the second world war, Gwen was in the services for about four years with the Royal New Zealand Airforce, working at bases across New Zealand. She said that if you didn’t have a trade you were stuck in the messes to begin with, “I then did an instrument course which led me to work on the Harvard planes that the boys trained to be pilots in.”
“I had some wonderful times and made some wonderful friends through that experience.”
Gwen has spent a lot of her life volunteering and helping others, she was a Girl Guide leader in Ellerslie for 10 years, and for about 12 years worked at the Mercy Hospice when it was based in Ellerslie.
Gwen lived in Ellerslie for over 25 years, right up until she reached her 100th birthday milestone. With family in Remuera, this prompted the move to Rawhiti Estate so she could be close to her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
Gwen says for those thinking of moving into retirement, “It is important to be adjustable to living in a different environment, be prepared to adjust yourself to a different style of life. You’ve got to think of others more, because you might not be as able as you think!
“You might have to change your habits a little bit, which can actually be quite a good thing. Although, it’s been great that I still have my independence, when the Cricket World Cup was on, I was able to stay up until quarter to three in the morning! The staff at Rawhiti are very understanding. They really do their best to adjust to you and supply your needs.”
Gwen’s remarkable age is a testament to her outlook on life, the advice she gives to those younger is that, “You can’t always have things just as you want them, you’ve got to say to yourself, is it really important, does it really matter if you don’t do that certain thing? I find this can help you to adjust yourself to the situation you may be in.”
Anyone who meets Gwen will see how caring and humble she is. She says she lives by the 10 commandments, which she admits are a bit old fashioned, “But then again I am old fashioned! Although not completely!” she laughs.
Gwen celebrated her 101st Birthday at Rawhiti Estate on the 10th of October with her family.