Oldest living New Zealander celebrates her 110th birthday

Madeline Anderson on her 110th birthday with Polish Ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski. Photo/Supplied
Madeline Anderson on her 110th birthday with Polish Ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski. Photo/Supplied

The oldest living New Zealander remembers her mother inviting a group of young men over for a meal before World War I, and was already 80 years old when the All Blacks first won the Rugby World Cup.

Madeline Anderson yesterday marked a milestone even Hallmark doesn't make cards for - 110 years old, celebrated in the Upper Hutt home she's lived in for 68 years.

Born in Dunedin in 1907 when the country's population was not even one million, Anderson is believed to be our oldest living resident.

"It was even better than I expected. We had crowds of people here, and the place was full of cards and flowers," said the sprightly Anderson.

She was around when refrigerators were introduced into homes and the first plane flew across the Cook Strait.

So, at 110, does she have any secrets to a long life?

"I'm afraid not. It just happened, to my surprise," Anderson said, who is the eldest of four siblings.

She said the world has changed tremendously in her time, recounting how public telephone exchanges used to work before talking about her iPad.

Anderson, who is half-Polish, was visited by the Polish Ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski yesterday to mark the occasion.

But she's not taking it all too seriously, even joking she's been a bit greedy with her time here.

"I should have popped off first, but here I am."

Anderson celebrated the day with chocolate cake and visits from her daughter and friends, and will have a party tomorrow night.

- NZ Herald

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