Tolerance the key say couple after 67 years

LONG LOVE: Gisborne couple Madeline and Mike Travers celebrated their marriage of 67 years last week after being together nearly 70 years. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

A Gisborne couple who have been together for close to 70 years believe tolerance is the key to a long happy marriage.

Madeline and Mike Travers celebrated their marriage of 67 years last week.

They met in London, England in 1949 as 15-year-olds.

“We met at the open-air swimming baths in Chiswick. Mike used to go every week with a group of lads and one of them had a girlfriend who was getting sick of getting left behind. She asked me to come along,” said Mrs Travers.

“We went on our first date to the movies that night.”

They both left school at 15 and Mr Travers went to work for a real estate business, with plans to be an architectural draughtsman while Mrs Travers worked as a window dresser for a big London store.

When he turned 18, Mr Travers was called into the army for national service. The couple decided to get married first which meant for their first couple of years together they lived apart, except for leave, once a month or six weeks “if you were lucky”.

In 1962, times were tough in England and work scarce. For the future of their children — daughter Linda, 9 and son Kim 6 — they decided to emigrate to New Zealand.

“We thought New Zealand would be a better climate and better life for our children. Things were very hard in England. We sold everything but our clothes and our car and headed to the other end of the world not expecting to ever see our families again.”

It was a memorable five-week sea voyage for the family, especially Mrs Travers who gets seasick and recalls hitting rough weather twice on the trip.

Mrs Travers remembers the day they woke up in Wellington harbour like it was yesterday.

It was windy and rough and Customs could not make it to the ship.

“I remember watching the sun rise the next morning and there was the cable car going up the hill and little houses on the hills. We thought it was paradise.”

They lived in Wellington for the next 24 years with Mrs Travers having a number of different jobs and looking after the children while Mike ran a panelbeating business and two taxis. He was also involved in power boating.

Mrs Travers had her heart set on owning a motel and they travelled all around the North Island looking for a good place to buy.

“We never considered Gisborne because we had been here a couple of times and it rained both times, not leaving a good impression on the family.”

For all that, they ended up in Gisborne and enjoyed running the Coastland Motel at Makaraka for eight-and-a-half years.

Mr Travers also ran his taxi, not giving that up until he was 71.

Meanwhile they both became involved with the Poverty Bay Golf Club and Mr Travers has taken up bowls in recent years.

Mrs Travers has enjoyed activities with 50s Forward since 1992.

“I am almost a founding member . . . I started in March and the group started in June the year before.”

She has loved the fitness and social events with the group.

“It has changed a lot over the years. A lot of the older ones have passed away and many no longer take part but we have had some wonderful trips away.”

She has also been involved with Sun City Lions, the Heart Foundation and drove for Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years.

The couple have seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren and consider themselves very lucky to have had their son Kim and his wife Dizzy and their four children living in Gisborne. Their daughter Linda, a grand-daughter and great-grandson live in Australia and their return home visits are enjoyed by Mr and Mrs Travers.

Having children young also meant they have been able to travel in their golden years and they have made it back to the UK a few times.

They say it is important to keep the romance alive — not just live together.

“And of course love . . . without that you have nothing. Hang in there and love each other,” they said.

A Gisborne couple who have been together for close to 70 years believe tolerance is the key to a long happy marriage.

Madeline and Mike Travers celebrated their marriage of 67 years last week.

They met in London, England in 1949 as 15-year-olds.

“We met at the open-air swimming baths in Chiswick. Mike used to go every week with a group of lads and one of them had a girlfriend who was getting sick of getting left behind. She asked me to come along,” said Mrs Travers.

“We went on our first date to the movies that night.”

They both left school at 15 and Mr Travers went to work for a real estate business, with plans to be an architectural draughtsman while Mrs Travers worked as a window dresser for a big London store.

When he turned 18, Mr Travers was called into the army for national service. The couple decided to get married first which meant for their first couple of years together they lived apart, except for leave, once a month or six weeks “if you were lucky”.

In 1962, times were tough in England and work scarce. For the future of their children — daughter Linda, 9 and son Kim 6 — they decided to emigrate to New Zealand.

“We thought New Zealand would be a better climate and better life for our children. Things were very hard in England. We sold everything but our clothes and our car and headed to the other end of the world not expecting to ever see our families again.”

It was a memorable five-week sea voyage for the family, especially Mrs Travers who gets seasick and recalls hitting rough weather twice on the trip.

Mrs Travers remembers the day they woke up in Wellington harbour like it was yesterday.

It was windy and rough and Customs could not make it to the ship.

“I remember watching the sun rise the next morning and there was the cable car going up the hill and little houses on the hills. We thought it was paradise.”

They lived in Wellington for the next 24 years with Mrs Travers having a number of different jobs and looking after the children while Mike ran a panelbeating business and two taxis. He was also involved in power boating.

Mrs Travers had her heart set on owning a motel and they travelled all around the North Island looking for a good place to buy.

“We never considered Gisborne because we had been here a couple of times and it rained both times, not leaving a good impression on the family.”

For all that, they ended up in Gisborne and enjoyed running the Coastland Motel at Makaraka for eight-and-a-half years.

Mr Travers also ran his taxi, not giving that up until he was 71.

Meanwhile they both became involved with the Poverty Bay Golf Club and Mr Travers has taken up bowls in recent years.

Mrs Travers has enjoyed activities with 50s Forward since 1992.

“I am almost a founding member . . . I started in March and the group started in June the year before.”

She has loved the fitness and social events with the group.

“It has changed a lot over the years. A lot of the older ones have passed away and many no longer take part but we have had some wonderful trips away.”

She has also been involved with Sun City Lions, the Heart Foundation and drove for Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years.

The couple have seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren and consider themselves very lucky to have had their son Kim and his wife Dizzy and their four children living in Gisborne. Their daughter Linda, a grand-daughter and great-grandson live in Australia and their return home visits are enjoyed by Mr and Mrs Travers.

Having children young also meant they have been able to travel in their golden years and they have made it back to the UK a few times.

They say it is important to keep the romance alive — not just live together.

“And of course love . . . without that you have nothing. Hang in there and love each other,” they said.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the school children who have been striking for action on climate change?