Now a right royal card-carrying centenarian


Oamaruvian Averil Omnet reached a very significant milestone yesterday – her 100th birthday.

Mrs Omnet, who was born on March 12, 1915, celebrated reaching the milestone with close family.

When her son Geoff passed her a card from the Queen she was over the moon.

“I’m so pleased. I’m really happy that the Queen sent a card, with a lovely message in it too.”

They didn’t stop there – along with cards from family members there were cards from Prime Minister John Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

While it was a day all about Mrs Omnet, she said it was more about spending time with family.

“It’s such a fantastic thing that I’ll get to spend it with family. That’s what it’s all about – having close ones there.”

Celebrating her birthday began early yesterday morning when some of the Iona staff came and sang Happy Birthday to her as well the entrance to her room had been decorated.

“They came and sang to me before breakfast this morning.”

Mrs Omnet spent yesterday with her children and other close family at the rest-home. Extended family will visit tomorrow.

Family has come from far and wide to celebrate the special occasion.

Mrs Omnet had an early love for gardening and was always working on her garden, and once she retired she was introduced to spinning and she loved it.

“It was really fun learning to spin.”

She had also been overseas many times, including the United Kingdom, Sweden and the United States, where she visited family studying at Iowa University.

When she was young she lived in Morven with her parents until they died then lived with her grandparents opposite Fenwick School, and attended Waitaki Girls’ High School.

Her daughter Val Jackson said her mum was fantastic with family and knew everyone’s names in the wider family, so when she was gone there would be no-one in the family to keep that up.

“None of us are as good as her at remembering everyone’s name in the family – she’s amazing.”

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY – Val Jackson (left) and Jan Omnet (right) watch Averil Omnet as she prepares to cut the cake to celebrate her 100th birthday at Iona rest-home yesterday. Mrs Omnet said the cake looked beautiful and that she couldn’t wait to try it.Running sportsnike