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Katharina Meuli was born in Nuvenen, Switzerland in 1860, the daughter of Jacob and Agatha Meuli nee Jochen.   She married Jacob Meuli in Switzerland in 1884, and emigrated to New Zealand about 1885 and settling in Manaia.  In Switzerland, Meuli is a very popular name like the English Smith.


When Felix Hunger (husband of Margreth Hunger) made a journey home to Switzerland from Normanby in 1875, he brought back many families who settled in Taranaki.  Other Swiss people from the same area followed them to Taranaki, encouraged by the reports of land prices and conditions here.


Katharina was unable to speak any English upon her arrival in New Zealand, but she soon learnt and raised three sons including Laurenze who was killed in France in World War One.


In 1910, Katharina and Jacob made a return trip to Switzerland to visit family and friends.

An active woman from the mountains of Switzerland, she took part in many climbing trips on Mt Egmont.  One of her attributes was her ability to scythe grass.  In a traditional Swiss marriage ceremony, the husband does some knitting while the wife scythes some grass.  This is still common today.


Katharina was a long time member, and president of the Manaia Croquet Club.  She took a keen interest in local affairs and sang in the Presbyterian Church choir for 50 years.

During World War Two she was active in local patriotic work.


Katharina Meuli died on the 8 January 1945 at Manaia aged 84 years, and is buried at the Okaiawa cemetery.



Jeff Meuli, New Plymouth (Grandson)