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Margreth Gredig was born in Switzerland on the 25 February 1851, the eldest daughter of Felix and Anna Catherina Gredig nee Zinslie. 


Felix Hunger, from Safien Platz, Graubunden, Switzerland, had come to New Zealand in 1863, via gold mining in Australia.  In the early 1870s he moved to Taranaki and became the first Swiss to settle in the Normanby district.  He decided that he needed a wife, and his thoughts turned to the girls of his own country.  In 1874 he returned to Switzerland, and while there persuaded a number of his countrymen and women to return with him.


In 1875, the widowed Anna Gredig, her family of three daughters and one son, left their mountain home, travelled by boat down the Rhine, then crossed the English Channel arriving in London.  Here, they were passed as "suitable emigrants" for New Zealand, and as they could not speak English, the family were given name tags to wear, so they could be returned to the ship if they became lost.  The Gredig family sailed with other Swiss families on the Halcione arriving in New Plymouth on the 11 August 1875. 


On the 17 December 1875, three months after their arrival in New Zealand, Margreth and Felix Hunger married, and went to live in Normanby.  Their two eldest children began their education at a small private school in Normanby, but later attended the Normanby School where they were among the first day pupils.


Margreth died on the 6 March 1916 at Normanby aged 65 years, and is buried at the Waihi cemetery, with Felix.


Margreth and Felix's second daughter, Maria Anna was born on the 23 September 1878 at Normanby.  After leaving school, she started helping the local teacher, and then qualified as a teacher by attending courses during the holidays, and being coached by her head teacher.  Maria taught at many of the small schools in South Taranaki, among them Normanby, Te Roti, Ohangai, Awatuna and Okaiawa.   She returned home to Normanby at weekends, and then riding side-saddle, wet or fine,  left again on Sunday afternoons. Her attire was always the same - a heavy black divided skirt for riding, a white blouse and a straw boater hat.  Her requirements for the week swung in a huge leather bag from the saddle. 


Maria Anna married Alexander Murdoch in 1912, and died on the 10 November 1973, aged 95 years and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



"Petticoat Pioneers - Book Two" by Miriam Macgregor