Despite her father’s initial attempt to keep them separated, Dave and Leora Edwards’ relationship has stood the test of time.
The Mataura couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a family meal last Thursday.
After they left school both worked for the same Hawke’s Bay shearing contractor but in different gangs so did not meet until one fateful day, Mr Edwards said.
“We got together through working together on one occasion, I presume. It was that long ago.”
Mrs Edwards (nee Kahuroa) was 17 years old and he was 18 years old.
Their budding romance did not go down well with Mrs Edwards’ father, Ray, who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“When my father found out I had a boyfriend the next thing I knew I was on the train to Wellington,” Mrs Edwards said.
Her father arranged for her to stay at a girls’ hostel and work at the telephone exchange.
She did not enjoy the work so she successfully applied to train as a psychiatric nurse.
In the meantime, Mr Edwards worked as a shepherd but later moved to Wellington to be closer to his girlfriend.
“We were courting for four years,” he said.
He worked at the Griffins biscuit factory.
At Christmas 1960, Mr Edwards gave her an ultimatum.
“We’re getting married this Labour Weekend or we’ll never ever get married,” Mr Edwards said. “I don’t think he gave me a chance really – this year or nothing,” Mrs Edwards said.
“He put his foot down.”
Three years later the couple moved to Mataura to start a contract shearing business.
Later, her father told her she had made a good choice of a husband, she said.
Her advice to have a long marriage was “work hard and be faithful to one another”.
“You have your good times and you have your bad times,” he said.
The couple agreed they were good friends.
“Look what we accomplished,” she said.
“We’ve had a lovely happy life.”
The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.