Wednesday, 25 November 2020


John Lupton - still conjuring up the odd surprise after 65 years

This story will come as a bit of surprise to 85-year-old Colleen Lupton, who lives in Whitianga with her husband, John. The couple have had a busy and eventful life since they first met as teenagers back in Hillsborough, Auckland, when John stopped to chat to Colleen over the fence when he passed her house on his way for a fish.

Since Colleen became ill several years ago, John, also 85, now happily takes care of her in their home with the help of the wider family, some of whom live close-by, including son, Paul, and grandchildren, Nicole and Scott. And while the adventures may have given way to a little more routine these days, John wasn’t letting a special milestone go by without showing his wife he still has the odd surprise up his sleeve.

“They will be 65 years married on 29 October,” says Nicole, who came to see The Informer to set the anniversary surprise in motion on behalf of her grandfather. “Pop had the idea that we could have something in paper about it as a surprise for Nan. She won’t be able to read the story, but we can read it for her and she’ll be able to see the photo. They always loved sharing their stories with us about the things they did and the adventures they had. They have so many happy memories, this will be a lovely way for us to help them remember and celebrate.”

John and Colleen were married in 1955 at St David’s Church, Khyber Pass, Auckland, she aged 20 and he 19. They had grown up not far from each other, even attending the same school, but never knew each other. “Pop worked in the freezer works and then eventually started up his own business,” says Nicole. “It seems he was a bit of a wheeler and dealer by all accounts but he was pretty good at it.”

Three children arrived - Steven, Carol and Paul - the first just a year after they were married. They now have six grandchildren.

The couple relocated to Opito Bay when they were 52. “It was early retirement I guess, semi-retirement at least,” says Nicole. “Pop had a bait shop up there for a while. They both loved their fishing and Nan was always swimming, pretty much all year round. Right up until she got sick, she was out mowing the lawns, they were just all go. Nan was really houseproud, she loved cooking and everything was made from scratch. Pop was also involved with the home brewing club in Whitianga.”

A move to Whitianga came 16 years ago when Colleen’s illness meant distance from family and the two-story house at Opito were no longer practical. With Colleen now in a wheelchair, access to the services they need is easier in town and the couple have more support and help. “They are pretty amazing,” says Nicole. “Pop does such an incredible job looking after Nan and he really wanted to be able to do something special for her to mark their big day. I’m sure this will put a big smile on her face.”

So, congratulations John and Colleen from your family, friends and the Mercury Bay community. We hope the love and happiness you have shared for the past 65 years stays with you for many more.

Pictured: John and Colleen Lupton on their wedding day 65 years ago.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.