The Centenarian - Helen Augusta Percival Dixon (1862-1969)
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Fame came to Helen Dixon at the end of her life. She was aged 101 at the time of her radio interview in 1963, and every year newspaper articles were published to mark her birthday, until she finally passed away in 1969 at the age of 107, the oldest Pākēha New Zealander at the time.
She was born Helen Augusta Percival Jordan in Parewanui, near Bulls in 1862.
She married Charles Dixon in 1885, and lived ‘in most cities of New Zealand’ before settling in Auckland in the 1920s.
In her interview she chuckles infectiously when recalling that men felt “very wild” about women getting the vote in 1893. She notes they were worried women would vote for Prohibition and close all the hotels, observing wryly that would have been ‘very awkward.’
In a newspaper article marking her 102nd birthday, she confessed she herself had voted for Prohibition in the election of 1893, ‘” I must have thought it was my duty or something, but I never did it again,” she says. The same article notes that she was waiting for delivery of a half-gallon of port, her regular birthday present from her wine merchant! 1.
1. New Zealand Herald, 08 Jul 1962
Image credit: Auckland Weekly News 21 July 1969. Courtesy NZ Herald/NZME
Catalogue Reference 156726