Seven decades ago, Bill and Margaret Orange married at St Patrick’s Church in Napier, and today they’re celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary in Masterton – the couple’s home for their entire married life and Bill’s since birth.
Bill baulked at being asked how he felt about reaching such a rare marriage milestone – “You can find a better question” – but didn’t object to a query about the secret to having a union of such longevity.
“Well, first off, it’s genes, good genes,” he said.
“We are amateurs, we wouldn’t know what to do in a different circumstance, but we are happy. It’s an achievement.”
The Oranges are of the view that some people tend to give up on their marriages too easily, noting that “people need to work through their problems”.
“Even squabbles over the toothbrush can turn into big arguments,” Margaret said, while observing she doesn’t have much to argue about these days.
Bill, meanwhile, advised that having a plot of land to tend enables a marriage to flourish: “When you feel things are getting a bit heated, you go and attend to the garden.”
When the couple celebrated 60 years of marriage together 10 years ago, they received messages from Queen Elizabeth and the then-pope and governor-general, congratulating them on the achievement.
The Oranges – both of whom are 96 years of age – reckon that although “it is an achievement to get to this age, it is just a number.”
That said, they now have their eyes firming set on another numerical milestone: turning 100 and receiving the traditional congratulatory telegram from King Charles.