Back in the summer of 1946, a young woman cycling to a tennis match in rural Waikato spotted a newcomer playing cricket who rather caught her eye. The pair got to know each other at local dances and social evenings, romance blossomed and they were married the next year on August 2.
Seventy years later, John (Jack) and Glad Knowles are still going strong, and celebrating their Platinum Wedding Anniversary at their home in Summerset Falls, Warkworth this week.
They have lived in Mahurangi for more than 30 years and have always had strong family links to the region – John’s grandparents lived in the Kaipara Hills and Glad’s mother was a cousin of George
Scandrett, the Irish settler whose family farmed at Scandrett’s Bay from the 1860s until 1998.
“We spent holidays on the farm out there from 1957 onwards,” John recalls. “The family loved it there.
Then we got in on one of the early subdivisions in Algies. We bought the section in 1974, built on it in 1976, and moved up here in 1983.”
After 13 years at Algies, they moved to Westpark Glen in Warkworth until 2009, when they became one of early residents at Summerset Falls.
Apart from their five children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, the one constant that has sustained them over the years, they say, is their mutual love of sport.
John was a very keen cricketer – so keen that he changed trades from farming to building just so he could play regularly for Waikato, Thames Valley and Northern Districts in his youth – and Glad always loved tennis.
Once they moved to Algies, they took up golf and then bowls, and both are still bowling at the age of 91 and 89 respectively, mainly on the residents’ green at Summerset, but they are also still members of Bowls Warkworth.
They say this keenness to stay active and involved in sport and social life has undoubtedly contributed to them enjoying such a long and happy marriage.
“The fact we had those interests and spent time with people – we’re very fortunate,” Glad says. “And we have been lucky to have good health all the way through. We’ve been pretty right.”
That, and the ability to compromise, John says.
“You need a lot of give and take,” he adds. “As long as you can do that, you’re halfway there.”