Newspaper Article 2019 – Oldest NZ woman dies, ‘nan’ to 7 generations

Oldest NZ woman dies, ‘nan’ to 7 generations

Doug Laing

New’s [New] Zealand’s oldest woman – and possibly oldest person – has died in Wairoa at the age of 107.

According to the August 9, 1912, birthdate in her passport, and in her death notice, Martha (Mata) Timoko (nee Puru) was 107 when she died at Glengarry Lifecare on Wednesday.

Her family have previously said that according to other records she could have been at least a year older.

After a succession of deaths among New Zealand’s eldest this year, the most-senior resident is now believed to be Christchurch resident Ronald Hermanns, who is set to turn 108 on September 25.

The eldest at the end of April was believed to be Waikato woman Mabel Jenkins, who died in Hamilton in July, aged 109. Lola de la Haye died in Taranaki also in July and also aged 109, and Canterbury woman Jessie Alabone died in May, aged 107.

The oldest ever reported in New Zealand was Florence Finch, who had come to New Zealand from England in 1966 and lived mainly in Napier where she died in 2007, aged 113.

Martha Timoko was born at Taheke, northwest of Whangarei, and according to her death notice was “nan” to seven generations.

It was reported two years ago that her age was not known until she had to get a passport to allow her to get away from New Zealand winters to visit family in Australia, which she did for about 20 years. She married in the Far North and as well as Wairoa, where she moved in 2015 to be closer to granddaughter Sheryl-Ann Thomas, and lived in Haast, Napier, Whangarei and Auckland.

Photo caption – Martha Timokoen [Timoko] enjoyed a moment with her great-granddaughter Ava Savage when she turned 105 at Glengarry rest home in Wairoa.   PHOTO/WAIROA STAR

Original digital file


Non-commercial use

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).


Commercial Use

Copyright on this material is owned by Hawke's Bay Today and is not available for commercial use without their consent.

Can you help?

The Hawke's Bay Knowledge Bank relies on donations to make this material available. Please consider making a donation towards preserving our local history.

Visit our donations page for more information.


Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

7 September 2019

Creator / Author

  • Doug Laing


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today and Wairoa Star


  • Jessie Alabone
  • Lola de la Haye
  • Florence Finch
  • Ronald Hermanns
  • Mabel Jenkins
  • Ava Savage
  • Sheryl-Ann Thomas
  • Martha (Mata) Timoko, nee Puru

Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.