New Zealand's oldest immigrant arrives

February 13, 2008 4:48:18 AM PST
New Zealand's oldest immigrant arrived to a celebrity welcome Wednesday - though the sprightly 102-year-old Briton said he hopes for a quiet life of trout fishing in his new country.

Retired dentist Eric King-Turner disembarked from a cruise ship in the capital, Wellington, after a five-week trip from his home near Southampton in southern England.

"I'm delighted to be here. My wife lived with me for 13 years in Britain so I thought she might be getting homesick," King-Turner said, referring to his wife Doris, 89, a New Zealand national.

King-Turner will live in his wife's hometown of Nelson on New Zealand's South Island, where he said he intends to indulge his passion for fly fishing.

Before he left Britain, King-Turner told the Daily Mail newspaper he was starting "a wonderful new adventure and I would say to anyone that if you want to do something, you should do it straight away while you can."

"What's important is that when I'm 105 I don't want to be thinking, 'I wish I had moved to the other side of the world when I was 102,"' he was quoted saying.

King-Turner was Surgeon Commander on the British aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable during World War II and helped save New Zealand soldiers' lives, his stepdaughter, Gabriel King-Turner, said.

She said her stepfather was a modest, intelligent man and people who spend time with him "forget the age thing."