Tauranga veteran set to turn 100 on Christmas surprised with early birthday party

Tauranga man Noel Peterson turns 100 years old in two days, and in that time, he’s been stuck with the issue of being born on Christmas.

"No, I'm afraid it didn't calculate in those days. You'd be lucky if you got a teddy bear," Mr Peterson said with a laugh.

So rather than celebrating on the day, the great-great-grandfather got a surprise birthday party to help ring in the milestone.

His family also put together another special gift – the flyover of his favourite plane, a Tigermoth.

"He'll hear the engines first and mate, it's gunna make him very proud," Mr Peterson's grandson, Leighton Fisher, said.

A Te Kuiti boy and a keen cyclist, Mr Peterson joined the army in 1940 and served in the pacific.

He married his sweetheart, Helga, to whom he had four children.

"My marriage lasted 68 years plus before I lost her, unfortunately," Mr Peterson said.

The only blemish on his record? Sneaking off base and travelling to Hamilton to see his wife one Christmas.

Mr Peterson also got to meet the newest addition to the family – his great-great-grandson, Finbar Fisher.

"Poppa's been a bit of an inspiration for us all over the years, so it's really to come here and celebrate not just our generation but, you know, three generations," Mr Fisher said.

"It's super awesome. I know that he must've been really healthy to live up to 100."

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    Noel Peterson has had the burden of sharing his day with the festive season 99 times - friends and family made No.100 count. Source: 1 NEWS