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Special memories of a 1958 wedding

A Dutch couple have ticked off a special milestone, marking their tying of the marital knot in a small wooden church in Pahiatua 65 years ago.

Now, Cor and Miep Bierenbroodspot’s son Michael has hopes that people who remember his parent’s wedding would still like to send their congratulations to the happy couple.

“It’s always nice to hear from people that you haven’t seen or spoken to for many years, as well as hearing stories from the past you may not remember anymore,” Michael said.

“It would mean a lot, not only from people who remember the wedding but also from [those who were] children in 1958 or other relatives or even people from New Zealand as they love the people and the country. I think that New Zealand always stayed in their heart.”

Due to a housing shortage in the Netherlands during the 1950s and the requirement to get married, the young couple needed their own house. Therefore, the Bierenbroodspots – who were 18 and 19 at the time – decided it was the right choice to emigrate to either New Zealand or Canada.

In an interview last week with Radio New Zealand First Up, Michael said his parents met the Gerritsen family – who had three young children – during English lessons, leading the Gerritsens to invite the Bierenbroodspots to emigrate with them to New Zealand.

The young couple got engaged on October 21, 1956, and were later married in Pahiatua on November 1, 1958.

At the time, New Zealand would not allow the pair to migrate as a married couple, forcing them to emigrate separately, Michael said.

Once arriving in Pahiatua, Miep was employed at a stocking factory, while Cor got a job making concrete water barrels for farmers.

Michael said his parents lived in New Zealand for four and a half years, deciding just before he was born to move back to the Netherlands.

“They went back for a family visit and noticed the change of situation in the Netherlands. Houses were available, and my father was offered a job at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines,” he said.

While the couple have visited New Zealand 14 times for holidays, Michael said they’re at an age where they don’t want to fly anymore but hold a great love for New Zealand and its people.

The address to send mail to is: Cor and Miep Bierenbroodspot, Plutostraat 118, 1829 DH Oudorp, The Netherlands.

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