It’s my birthday!

She sometimes makes out she hasn’t got a proper day – truthfully I think she has more birthdays than most,” mum Marie says.

“It’s because I have to have one the day before and one the day after,” Zoe Kite responds. “One year I even had three birthdays.”

This year will also be a three-peat year.

Today is the Ōhaupō School student’s birthday.

Marie, Zane and Zoe Kite. Photo: Jeremy Smith

Zoe is the fourth generation of the Kite family, after her great-grandad, grandad and her dad Zane, to attend Ōhaupō School.

The Ōhaupō dairy farm the Kites live on down the road has also been in the family for five generations.

Birthday wise, it’s said the odds of being born on February 29 are about one in 1460 – and on that basis about five million people worldwide are celebrating today.

Zoe, born in 2012, is 12 today on what she calls her third “official” birthday.

In her case, the first of three planned celebrations this year to mark the occasion was a birthday party sleepover with four school friends on Saturday.

The News was there as the final party preparations – including pink balloons spelling out the words Happy Birthday – were put in place.

Zoe even made her own vanilla cake with buttercream icing – adding meringues on top as a special touch.

The second planned celebration is a family dinner tonight, the third is the Pink concert in Auckland, which Zoe will attend with two friends early next month.

Zane said the thought of Zoe being born on February 29 first occurred to him about three months before she was born.

“I just thought it would be quite special given how unique the date is.”

Leap year baby, 12-year-old Zoe Kite, is celebrating her third ‘real’ birthday today. At her first of three ‘birthdays’ this year, she celebrated with a party attended by four friends on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Smith

He got his wish with 45 minutes to spare – Zoe was born at 11.15pm.

As the Kite family goes, February is in fact somewhat of a “family affair” when it comes to birthdays and celebrations.

Zoe has three older siblings – brothers Brodie, 20, and Jonty, 18, and sister, 15-year-old Taleah.  Jonty’s birthday is February 2, Marie’s dad Phillip – Zoe’s grandad – has a February 10 birthday and Zane’s birthday is the next day on the 11th. Then, of course, is Zoe on Feb 29 – though in non-leap years she tends to celebrate on March 1.

Zane and Marie’s wedding anniversary is also on February 22 – this year they celebrated 21 years of marriage.

“February 29 always feels extra special, because it means I get a proper birthday. “It never sneaks up on us either,” Zoe said. “I make sure we count down the years.”

Why the leap…

Leap years occur every four years as a corrective measure because Earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days.

The 365 days we experience are actually 365.2422 days, putting our calendar out of sync with the seasons over time.

Therefore, every four years the extra day, February 29, helps reset the calendar.

Zoe shares her birthday with former Warriors and Kiwis centre Clinton Toopi, born in 1980, New Zealand percussionists Gareth Farr (1968), motivational speaker Tony Robbins (1960), Black Sabbath keyboardist Geoff Nicholls (1944), former Governor General Sir David Beattie (1924) and actress Dinah Shore (1916).

Leap year baby, 12-year-old Zoe Kite, is celebrating her third ‘real’ birthday today. At her first of three ‘birthdays’ this year, she celebrated with a party attended by four friends on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Smith


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