Single and sober - secrets to a long life for New Zealand's oldest man celebrating 108th birthday

Staying single and sober are the secrets to a long life for the oldest man in New Zealand, who celebrated his 108th birthday today.

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It's going to be tough to surprise Ron Hermanns. Source: Seven Sharp

Ron Hermanns was guest of honour at a party put on by the Air Force Museum of New Zealand in Christchurch.

Seven Sharp caught up with Ron at his party and his Christchurch home where he lives on his own.

He might no have his sight, but he was busy in his garden, weeding by feel.

"Well 20/20 is perfect vision and mine is rated at four," Ron said.

Ron was born on this day in 1911, the same year the first powered flight occurred in New Zealand.

"My doctor once said to me, he said, 'You look at least 10 years younger than your real age. Is there any secret?' And I said, "Well I've never married.' And he said, 'Oh well, no wonder'."

And there's another secret to his longevity.

"Never had an alcoholic drink in my life."

He's single, sober and sound of mind, still working in his workshop where he has a lathe.

Neighbour Mike Beard says Ron can get himself out of bed in the morning.

"He'll have a shower, he has his breakfast, has meals on wheels at lunch. And then at night he puts himself to bed.

"He's happy. He never complains."

Mike checks in with him, so do carers. But Ron's adamant he's staying put. He's busy.

The only real frustration Ron does have is also his sole birthday wish.

"I'd like my sight back."

At the Air Force Museum, Ron's royalty.

"Happy birthday. It is fantastic to be here to celebrate with you," said the museum director in his speech.

New Zealand's oldest air veteran served two Pacific tours, working on Kittyhawks.