Helen Flett cuts the birthday cake at the Wairarapa Services and Citizens Club on Wednesday. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

For Masterton woman Helen Flett who turned 100 yesterday, it’s “just another day”.

Flett had an early birthday party with about 20 friends and family at the Wairarapa Services and Citizens Club on Wednesday where she was presented with flowers, as well as letters from the Queen and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The youngest child of 13, Flett moved to New Zealand from Moose Jaw near Saskatchewan, Canada, seven years ago to follow her daughter, granddaughter, and three great-grandchildren.

She had spent time in New Zealand before though, moving to Martinborough with her husband in the 1970s before returning to Canada.

“I knew where I was coming to,” she said with a smile.

“Masterton has a good community here.”

Her secret to longevity was simply, “Good genes”.

Flett said it wasn’t uncommon for people in her family to make it past 100. Her sister died at 103.

“It’s a big family,” she said.

Being healthy and keeping active was also a big part of it.

Growing up, Flett could most often be found playing sports outside.

Occupying her time in the colder months had led to a lifetime love of cards.

“I’ve played cards since I was little. There was nothing else to do as we didn’t have TV or video games like they do now.

“I still play cards about five times a week,” she said.

Rummy, Euchre, Five Crowns and 500s are some of her favourite card games.

She also loves to play cribbage but had struggled to find people who play here.

Her age made it tricky for family members to buy presents for her.

“I don’t really want anything,” Flett said.

They had planned on taking her to her favourite Martinborough winery for lunch yetsreday.

Flett said it was hard to pin down highlights of her life.

“There are so many and it’s a long time ago.

“I’ve had the best of times though,” she said.