When Herman and Helen moved into Summerset at Aotea, they had no thoughts of getting remarried.
Herman moved to the village in 2007 so his ailing wife could receive the care she needed. Helen, who was single, moved into a villa in 2008 when her health started making it hard to maintain her home and keep a career.
The two first met on a village trip to the Wairarapa, after Herman’s wife passed away in 2010. The bus was full. Helen had a spare seat in her car and Herman decided to go with her. The pair hit it off. Herman says "We were sitting at a table at the Gladstone Hotel and someone asked me, 'Is this your wife?' I replied, 'No, she's just my chauffeur!"'
"And that's where the idea to marry came from," he jokes.
Herman and Helen found each other’s company easy and refreshing. "We decided we'd be old fashioned and get married – the second time for us both!"
Helen and Herman exchange vows
Herman's Dutch relatives came across from the Netherlands for the ceremony, which gave them an opportunity to explore the country at the same time.
"My family think he is wonderful! They are very happy for me to be with him," smiles Helen. "Our families didn't expect either of us to marry again."
They've now been married for seven years, and laughter is still constant throughout their conversations. They agree they have the same weird sense of humour and share interests in music, opera, cooking and crosswords.
"Herman also has this European coffee influence, so we drink a lot of coffee together", mentions Helen. "We do everything together, really," Herman adds.
Although Helen had lived alone for more than 20 years and was happily single, she moved seamlessly into a new life with Herman. "It's very easy, we have a lot of fun together. We aren't very serious," says Helen laughing. "Maybe we should try that, Herman?"
He returns her question with a hearty laugh.
Herman and Helen relax in their apartment at Summerset at Aotea