A 41-year career in the Owaka community has earned one local woman some time off.

Catlins Medical Centre general and rural practice nurse Elly Morris was only going to be in the area for one year when she first began. Now, many years later, she’s retiring.

‘‘I was actually only going to work in Owaka for one year, but then I met my late husband Fraser,’’ she said.

Mrs Morris worked for eight years full-time, then switched to part-time after having three children.

‘‘I actually felt bad leaving the medical centre because the staff are amazing, so I waited until they had plenty of staff, then I decided it was time to retire,’’ she joked.

Locals have described her as an ‘‘institution’’ for the town thanks to her medical help both in and out of the job.

After working for many years she has seen the changes and evolution in technology, she said.

‘‘The job has changed pretty dramatically over time, from protocols, to documentation, to continuously changing technology. But I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed it.’’

Mrs Morris was thrown a retirement party, where she received gifts, flowers and thanks for her time at the medical centre.

‘‘I was presented with a computer mouse as well for a gift, as the girls knew me to get frustrated with the mouse when it wasn’t working and give it a few smacks on the desk to sort it out again,’’ she said.

‘‘One thing I have really enjoyed has been taking care of the locals. For me, it’s been caring for people who have had kids, then I’m taking care of their children too. It’s been great to be a part of different generations of people.’’

Mrs Morris has 60 acres of farm with sheep up the Owaka Valley she is retiring to, and is looking forward to some relaxation and socialising.

‘‘I’m really looking forward to catching up with friends and family, and repaying people for all of the things they have done for me.

‘‘I’m especially grateful to my mother-in-law, Anita — she looked after the kids when they were small, when Fraser and I were both busy working.

‘‘I wouldn’t have gotten through without her help.

‘‘I’ve been quite busy on the farm and I even feel bad just sitting down and relaxing, because there’s always something to do. It’s definitely good to get things done now.’’

She is looking to get some exercise in and making use of her outdoor table and chairs which she received as a retirement gift, she said.

‘‘It’s been a great journey and I’m glad to be settling down now.’’