Big game means early nuptials

Frances and Jim Gear relax at their Invercargill home last Friday.

WHEN Invercargill couple Frances and Jim Gear got married in Granity 60 years ago, their wedding had to take place in the morning.


Because there was a big rugby game on the West Coast on September 2, 1961, which many of the wedding guests were either involved in or wanted to see.

So it was, at 11am, the wedding took place at the Granity Catholic Church, followed by a wedding breakfast at the picture theatre, people leaving in time to make the game, which kicked off at 3pm.

After the game there was apparently a big party at the local fire station.

“I think we missed the best part of it, actually,” Mrs Gear (nee Smith) said.

At the time she was 22 years old and her husband 24.

Mr Gear’s work as a public servant meant the couple moved to different locations around New Zealand.

“We were a bit like gypsies really,” Mrs Gear said.

Blackball, Cobden, Auckland, Rotorua and Palmerston North were all places they were relocated to during the early part of their marriage.

“Everywhere we went, we seemed to have another baby.”

The couple had six children, five sons and one daughter (including a set of twins). The last child, Steve, was born in Invercargill 47 years ago, where the Gears have remained for the rest of their wedded lives.

The thing which had brought them the most joy during their 60 years together was their family, Mrs Gear said.

The plan had been for the family to gather and celebrate at home last weekend after their granddaughter Abbey Gear’s 21st birthday celebrations.

However, Covid-19 had put all those plans on hold and the milestone would hopefully be celebrated soon.

When asked what had been a key to the longevity of their marriage, Mrs Gear replied:

“It’s all about give and take. It’s not easy – it takes a lot of work.”