Western Leader : January 20th 2012
www.aucklandnow.co.nz Friday, January 20, 2012 connected Locally The latest local news and information -- anywhere, anytime In print & online at www.westernleader.co.nz Use your smart phone to connect to our website. Find us on Follow us on Print Tablet Phone PC Retired -- 78 years on New retiree: Nelson Harvey is enjoying his first month of retirement at 93. Photo: VANITA PRASAD By VANITA PRASAD AGEING WORKFORCE Statistics New Zealand's 2009 study of the ageing workforce* says a growing proportion of older Kiwis are continuing to work beyond the retirement age. Older men are twice as likely to be in paid employment as older women and Maori people over 65 are more likely to be working than their European counterparts. * Labour force participation of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over, 1986-2006 NELSON Harvey has put in a lifetime of work. The 93-year-old from Hen- derson has worked just as long as Statistics New Zea- land says the average Kiwi male will live. Mr Harvey is finally retir- ing after 78 years of slogging away in the working world. He started work at the age of 15 milking cows for his uncle in south Auckland for 10 shillings a week. We got housing and accommodation provided of course and that was pretty standard for that time.'' He moved on to another farm three years later where machines were used to milk cows. He worked there for two years until a friend told him about a new opportunity at the Public Works Depart- ment in Hunua. He said it was great because you got one shilling and six pence per hour for a 40-hour working week and you got to wake up at 7am. At the time I was having to wake up at 5.30am so I thought it sounded fantastic.'' Mr Harvey began working for the electrical branch of the department just shy of his 21st birthday and dug four- metre deep holes with a spade or shovel for the feet of large electrical pylons. He soon went on to build the pylon towers along the Hunua electrical line. We had no safety belts, helmets or protection for working up there and we pulled up all the steel by hand. We would climb up the towers using a series of span- ners and stand in the places we were working by wrapping our legs around a pole,'' he says. Mr Harvey was eventually given the job of being in charge of the high tension powerlines running from the Henderson substation. When I turned 65 I had to retire from the job because it was a government depart- ment but at my retirement party my friend told me about a part-time job that was up for grabs,'' he says. So Mr Harvey started his new job just 10 days after retiring, packing and dis- patching orders for the elec- trical repair company The Shaver Shop. I told myself that I'd stay in the job for a year just to wind down from work but that year went by so fast and I thought I'd be a blimin' fool to give such an easy job up. So I told myself I'd go until I was 70 and that would be it.'' Mr Harvey's wife Betty died in 1993. That set me back a bit but I didn't want to just mope around so I carried on work- ing.'' Mr Harvey racked up 28 years as an employee at The Shaver Shop before deciding to retire for good. He never took a break from work longer than the annual leave he was allowed. I was back to work the day after my wedding, not like honeymooners these days who go on overseas holidays.'' He says it's been an emotional journey reviewing his lengthy career. It brought tears to my eyes looking back at every- thing I've done and the people I've met.'' Mr Harvey now spends his time maintaining several vegetable gardens and flowerbeds around his prop- erty. But the DIY-grandpa has no desire to become a man of leisure in his retire- ment. No playing bowls for me, that's for old people.''
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