Tuesday, 26 January 2021


Married 70 years and thriving in a smaller community

Colin and Jean Carr, residents of the retirement village at Whitianga Continuing Care, have on Wednesday last week celebrated a massive milestone of 70 years marriage with family and even their original flower girl, Jackie Barrington, at a lunch at The Lost Spring. Their son, Malcolm, says that The Lost Spring went all out with signs and personised service for the couple to make a lovely day.

Jean is 91 years of age and Colin is nearly 96. They have moved three months ago from Auckland to Whitianga to be near Malcolm and his sister, Heather Berryman, and their families, who all live in Mercury Bay. As a matter of fact, with their move to Whitianga, the Carr family now has four generations of males in the area.

Jean and Colin married on 6 January 1951. They met on Waiheke Island where Colin was posted to the New Zealand Post Office in Oneroa and Jean worked in the hardware store.  Jean’s parents, Clo and Don Croll, managed a sheep farm in Matiatia and lived in the farmhouse which was just behind the current main ferry terminal and car park. The couple met through Jean’s older brother, Don, who used to sail with Colin and by all accounts it was love at first sight. They were later married in that same farmhouse with around 100 guests and a bounty of cakes and food prepared by Jean, her family and friends.

The couple moved from Waiheke to Pukekohe and then to Greenlane and Manuwera, where they bought their first IGA grocery store. When an opportunity came up to run a bigger grocery store in Dargaville, the family made the move and operated Carr’s IGA for several years before making an even bigger step into a brand-new supermarket called Super Value, which is now Countdown. The family lived in Dargaville for seven years and made some very good friends, some with whom they still keep in contact.

From Dargaville, Colin, Jean and their children - in addition to Malcolm and Heather, there are also Linda and Tricia - moved to Beachlands where Colin took up a new career in insurance, a career that he maintained for 20 years until he retired. Malcolm has also carved out a career in the insurance industry and works from an office in Whitianga. 

Colin and Jean have nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Married when they were 25 and 21 years of age, Colin and Jean demonstrate longevity, patience and tenacity, which Malcolm puts down to their healthy lifestyles. Malcolm says that they were “meat and three veg people” who never smoked or drank. Their main pastime activities were working for their church and connecting with family and friends.  They were always busy with community fundraising and helping people. Jean has always loved the water. The family used to own a bach at Baddeleys Beach, north of Auckland, which they often visited. Colin also played tennis until well into his 80s and Jean was a keen seamstress and painted china. Malcolm calls the Carr family life simple, healthy and pleasant.

Malcolm says that Colin and Jean’s move to Whitianga move has given the couple a new lease on life. Jean is close to the water again and they are back in a smaller community in which they are thriving. They are making friends and developing new interests. Colin is back driving at 95.

On their big day, the couple were blown away when their new neighbour, Harold Abrahamson, popped in with a bouquet of red roses for their anniversary to say “congrats.” He made their day even more special.

Pictured: Whitianga residents, Colin and Jean Carr, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Wednesday last week. The photo shows the couple during their wedding day on 6 January 1951.


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