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Party for one at Bunty’s house

It is an historic day for Bunty Brown-Bayliss. Born on March 26, 1920, the Gisborne great-grandmother turns 100 today.

She will be having a party for one in the home she has lived in for 98 years.

The country's lockdown, which started today, would not affect Bunty much because she has been in “self isolation” for the past 20 years anyway, said granddaughter Belinda Slement.

“She loves her seafood, and has a super sense of humour. It's the body that's failing — she is still very cheeky.”

Because Bunty's birthday fell on day one of the lockdown, Belinda said they had to cancel birthday drinks and marked the occasion yesterday with just a short visit.

Bunty and her husband William Brown-Bayliss (known as Bill) had three children, Diana, Bronwen and Richard (deceased). Now there are seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Her nana never dreamed she would get to 100, said Belinda.

“She reckons the secret is that she has been doing everything for herself. Her husband passed away over 20 years ago, and she thought her days were numbered too, telling us when one goes, the next one usually goes.

“She has always made everything, meals with lots of vegetables grown from the garden, and heaps of baking.”

Bunty has not been able to drive for a long time so her daughter Bronwen Galley (Belinda's mother) does the shopping, and takes her to any appointment.

She usually goes to the hairdresser every two weeks, and weekly groceries always include oysters.

Her father built the home she still lives in, and the family of four (Bunty had one sister) moved in when she was two years old.

Bunty went to Kaiti School, and then Gisborne High School (as it was then, before splitting into Girls' and Boys' High).

She was involved in athletics and basketball and was a member of the marching team.

World War 2 was a big event in her life, and she remembers everyone having to go into either the army or the navy.

Bunty went to Wellington and worked in an ammunition factory in Lower Hutt.

She was released and able to come home to Gisborne when her mother was sick, before she passed away.

Bunty found work at Christies furniture store in Peel St. She went in one day to buy lawnmower, and came out with a job, said Belinda.

When Bunty became a mother, she stayed home and raised her family.

Bunty said they never wanted for anything. It was a simple life with a vegetable garden that grew most of their food.

SEEN IT ALL BEFORE: Bunty Brown-Bayliss is 100 years old today, and enjoyed a short visit yesterday, before the national lockdown, with her daughter Bronwen Galley, her cat Kitty, great-granddaughter Chloe Slement and granddaughter Belinda Slement. Picture by Paul Rickard

  1. Beverley Carswell says:

    Hi Bunty, you made the best Pavlovas. I hope you had a good day

  2. Jo-Ann Michie says:

    Happy Birthday Bunty. You were one of my favourite customers when I worked at Farmers and I enjoyed the baking you brought into us. Not to mention your fabulous Christmas tree.
    Kindest regards
    Jo-Ann Michie