'Corny' line beginning of life long partnership

Ethel and Cliff McAuley at their Dunedin home yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Ethel and Cliff McAuley at their Dunedin home yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Cliff McAuley admits using a ''corny'' line to start a conversation with his future wife Ethel, when the pair met in 1946, for the first time.

''I said: 'Where have I seen you before?'.''

About three years later they were married, at First Church, Dunedin. Yesterday, the pair marked their 65th wedding anniversary. They met while in Queenstown on holiday. Mr McAuley grew up in Kaitangata, and Mrs McAuley (nee Jenkins) grew up in Waikouaiti.

In their ''excellent marriage'' they had argued a fair bit, but that kept things interesting, Mr McAuley said.

''It was not a mundane, boring marriage,'' he said.

Both 87, the pair spent their married life in Dunedin, where they raised three children.

Mr McAuley joked he spent 55 years ''giving everyone the brush-off'' in the course of a long career in the brush industry. He started at the Otago Brush Company, which later became Bunting and Company, before co-founding the New Zealand Brush Company in 1974.

He retired in 1996.

In its fledging days, the new company had little money, and Mrs McAuley helped by doing the firm's

books. Her support was also invaluable during Mr McAuley's rugby refereeing career, as she used to urge him to practise early in the season. Once a player for Southern, Mr McAuley refereed matches at national and international level from 1952 to 1968.

The couple celebrated with dinner out last night.

- eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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