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A special milestone reached


There isn’t a place in New Zealand where Myra Dunn would ever be stuck for a bed.

In her 100 years on the planet, she has met enough people to be able to make herself at home anywhere.

But for the time being, Masterton is lucky enough to have her as a resident.

Mrs Dunn, the wife of legendary New Zealand boxing coach Dick Dunn, turned 100 last week, celebrating with family, friends, and residents of Holdsworth Villas where she lives.

When asked what her secret was to a long and healthy life she said it was “nothing special really, you just take each day as it comes”.

Mrs Dunn, lovingly known as ‘Chum’ by family and friends, was born in Timaru, married Dick Dunn in 1940, and moved to Wairarapa in 1985.

“From the time I was married, it was a very busy life because my husband was a sportsman.

“If you can’t beat them, join them.”

She reminisced on her wedding day – they were married in the morning, Mr Dunn then went to play cricket, and their marriage was celebrated in the evening.

“Our honeymoon was during war time, the second World War, and you couldn’t get petrol or anything in those days.

“We got a car around to Pencarrow to what they called Burdans Gate and then you couldn’t take a car past there, so we walked about four or five miles carrying our tent and we spent three weeks around the rocks at Pencarrow Heads.

“It was great, but there were antisubmarine search lights every night on us.”

Later in life, the couple moved to Glenburn in Wairarapa.

“We thought we’d give it a go for a couple of years, but it turned into 13 years,” Mrs Dunn said.

“We really enjoyed it. We came to Masterton because it was very isolated out there.

“Our nearest neighbour was 4km away.

“If anything happened to my husband it would take about an hour and a half to get out there, and an hour and a half back into town.

“So, we looked around in Masterton, which was very fortuitous because we were only in town for about 20 months when my husband died.

Mrs Dunn said she had lived a “very busy life” raising her five children, Charlotte, Tom, Les, Julia, and Richard.

“I was a St John’s nurse – I was in the first Lower Hutt nursing division. That was the inaugural one in Lower Hutt.

“It’s been full on ever since, and you just keep going.

“I don’t have a special type of life.

“I just look after my family, make sure everyone has proper rest, that sort of thing.

“I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday.”

Mrs Dunn was visited by Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson and received congratulatory letters from the Queen, Bill English, Dame Patsy Reddy, and Maggie Barry.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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