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Alban rocks 100

An earthquake on your 100th birthday is something not many New Zealanders can claim.

Alban Carmine was eating his celebratory dinner at Lone Star in Masterton with family on February 15 – when the ground shook and the room’s lights started to swing in the 6.0-magnitude quake.

“I’m not sure Alban realised what was happening,” his wife Catherine told Midweek.

The Masterton couple is still recovering from a series of parties to mark Alban’s 100 years, but it’s clear he is a tough nut, having survived covid-19 in Wairarapa Hospital last year, aged 99.

With clear skin and few wrinkles, Alban had always stayed fit and worn sunscreen for as long as it had been available, Catherine said. Remarkably, he has been vegetarian for all 100 years of his life. He has never smoked and doesn’t drink alcohol.

Born in Greymouth on February 15, 1923, Alban’s parents – also both vegetarian – moved the family to Masterton in time for Alban to attend Central School [now Masterton Primary School], then Wairarapa College.

“Alban then began training as a primary school teacher but the requirement to sing in class put him off,” Catherine said.

Instead, he became a mechanic and began his life-long love of restoring cars and building and flying model aeroplanes, competing in the New Zealand Model Aeroplane Championships. He also worked as a commercial fisherman for a time.

Of course, Alban was involved in World War II, starting off in the New Zealand Army, but transferring to the Air Force due to his interest in aeroplanes. He married Catherine in 1964 after meeting her at a dance at Kopuaranga, north of Masterton, close to her home of Mauriceville.

The pair had four sons and have spent their almost 60 years of marriage travelling extensively, spending long periods of time in Australia during winter.

“For five or six years, Alban and I played 54 holes of golf a week around the New South Wales-Queensland border,” Catherine said. “We were still travelling together when Alban was 96 – Edinburgh in Scotland is one of his favourite places.”

Alban’s mother lived to the age of 96, and his grandfather to age 99. His heritage is Swiss-Italian.

Catherine is not vegetarian but joined Alban in his healthy eating. “We would eat colossal amounts of fruit and vegetables – potatoes were a mainstay of our meals.”

Alban stills enjoys his vegetables, many of them from the couple’s large garden. “He has a sweet tooth, eats dark chocolate and loves fruit cake,” Catherine said. “His birthday cakes have always been carrot cakes and he enjoys Greek-style yoghurt.”

Alban’s day activity group, Wairarapa Care, organised a party in his honour at St Matthew’s Church, attended by Masterton Mayor Gary Gaffell, and Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson.

“Alban has had a very busy, wonderful life,” Catherine said. “We’ve always had big properties to look after which kept him occupied after retirement. We enjoy watching old movies together. And he still has a sense of humour.”

When asked what it felt like to be 100, Alban replied with a smile: “Not much different.”

 

 

  With clear skin and few wrinkles, Alban had always stayed healthy and fit and worn sunscreen for as long as it had been available, Catherine said.

Remarkably, he has been vegetarian for all 100 years of his life. He has never smoked and doesn’t drink.

Born in Greymouth on February 15, 1923, Alban’s parents – also both vegetarian – moved the family to Masterton in time for Alban to attend Central School [now Masterton Primary School], then Wairarapa College.

“Alban then began training as a primary school teacher but the requirement to sing in class put him off,” Catherine said.

Instead, he became a mechanic and began his life-long love of restoring cars and building and flying model aeroplanes, competing in the New Zealand Model Aeroplane Championships. He also worked as a commercial fisherman for a time.

Of course, Alban was involved in World War II, starting off in the New Zealand Army, but transferring to the Air Force due to his interest in aeroplanes. He married Catherine in 1964 after meeting her at a dance at Kopuaranga, north of Masterton, close to her home of Mauriceville.

The pair had four sons and have spent their almost 60 years of marriage travelling extensively, spending long periods of time in Australia during winter.

“For five or six years, Alban and I played 54 holes of golf a week around the New South Wales-Queensland border,” Catherine said. “We were still travelling together when Alban was 96 – Edinburgh in Scotland is one of his favourite places.”

Alban’s mother lived to the age of 96, and his grandfather to age 99. His heritage is Swiss-Italian.

Catherine is not vegetarian but joined Alban in his healthy eating. “We would eat colossal amounts of fruit and vegetables – potatoes were a mainstay of our meals.”

Alban still enjoys his vegetables, many of them from the couple’s large garden. “He has a sweet tooth, eats dark chocolate and loves fruit cake,” Catherine said. “His birthday cakes have always been carrot cakes, and he enjoys Greek-style yoghurt.”

Alban’s day activity group Wairarapa Care organised a party in his honour, attended by Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell, and Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson.

“Alban has had a very busy, wonderful life,” Catherine said. “We’ve always had big properties to look after which kept him occupied after retirement. We enjoy watching old movies together. And he still has a very good sense of humour.”

When asked what it felt like to be 100, Alban replied with a smile: “Not much different.” An earthquake on your 100th birthday is something not many New Zealanders can claim.

Alban Carmine was eating his celebratory dinner at Lone Star in Masterton with family on February 15 – when the ground shook and the room’s lights started to swing in the 6.0-magnitude quake.

“I’m not sure Alban realised what was happening, but I did,” Alban’s wife Catherine told Midweek.

The Masterton couple is still recovering from a series of parties to mark Alban’s 100 years, but it’s clear he is a tough nut, having survived covid-19 in Wairarapa Hospital last year, aged 99.

 

With clear skin and few wrinkles, Catherine said Alban had always stayed healthy and fit and worn sunscreen for as long as it had been available.

Remarkably, he has been vegetarian for all 100 years of his life. He has never smoked and doesn’t drink.

Born in Greymouth on February 15, 1923, Alban’s parents – also both vegetarian – moved the family to Masterton in time for Alban to attend Central School [now Masterton Primary School], then Wairarapa College.

“Alban then began training as a primary school teacher but the requirement to sing in class put him off,” Catherine said.

Instead, he became a mechanic and began his life-long love of restoring cars and building and flying model aeroplanes, competing in the New Zealand Model Aeroplane Championships. He also worked as a commercial fisherman for a time.

Of course, Alban was involved in World War II, starting off in the New Zealand Army, but transferring to the Air Force due to his interest in aeroplanes. He married Catherine in 1964 after meeting her at a dance at Kopuaranga, north of Masterton, close to her home of Mauriceville.

The pair had four sons and have spent their almost 60 years of marriage travelling extensively, spending long periods of time in Australia during winter.

“For five or six years, Alban and I played 54 holes of golf a week around the New South Wales-Queensland border,” Catherine said. “We were still travelling together when Alban was 96 – Edinburgh in Scotland is one of his favourite places.”

Alban’s mother, whose finely detailed paintings line the walls of the Carmine home, lived to the age of 96, and his grandfather to age 99. His heritage is Swiss-Italian.

Catherine is not vegetarian but joined Alban in his healthy eating regime. “We would eat colossal amounts of fruit and vegetables – potatoes were a mainstay of our meals.”

These days, Alban stills enjoys his vegetables, many of them from the couple’s large garden. “He has a sweet tooth, eats dark chocolate and loves fruit cake,” Catherine said. “His birthday cakes have always been carrot cakes, and he enjoys Greek-style yoghurt.”

Alban was still waiting for his birthday greeting from King Charles III but had, in the meantime, received “boxes of 100-year birthday cards” from well-wishers, plus flowers from Masterton District Council. Alban’s day activity group organised a party in his honour at St Matthew’s Church, attended by Masterton Mayor Gary Gaffell, and Deputy Mayor Bex Johnson.

“Alban has had a very busy, wonderful life,” Catherine said. “We’ve always had big properties to look after which kept him occupied after retirement. We have enjoyed watching old movies together. And he still has a very good sense of humour.”

When asked what it felt like to be 100, Alban replied with a smile: “Not much different.”

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