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Oldest Kiwi dies, aged 111

Madeline Anderson with Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson and New Zealand First MP Ron Mark on her 111th birthday. PHOTO/ EMILY IRELAND

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Weeks after her 111th birthday, Madeline Anderson has died.

Thought to be New Zealand’s oldest person, she was born in May 1907.

Recently of Masterton, Anderson died peacefully on Tuesday – her daughter, Heather List, by her side.

List said though she was sad, the family were prepared.

“She’s lived such a long time.”

In 1941, her mother married Harry Anderson, and moved to Upper Hutt in 1947.

Anderson lived there until July last year, when she moved to Masterton to live with her daughter and son-in-law Rob.

Anderson lived on her own until she was 110, aided by the immense support of people who knew and loved her.

“People used to just love helping.”

List said people often asked for her mother’s “secret” to living such a long time.

Her answer: compassion and prayer.

Anderson’s own loving and accepting nature was reciprocated by people around her.

She wasn’t “gushy” with her love, but considerate of others’ needs – choosing to show it in deeds rather than words.

List said her mother would pray often – something that aided her longevity.

“I believe prayer is rejuvenating for the body as well as the soul.”

She said her mother was very involved, but seldom in the spotlight.

“These days there’s so much focus on leadership – but leaders need followers.”

Anderson enjoyed playing bridge until she was 102, when her eyesight worsened making it too difficult to read the cards.

The eldest of four daughters, Anderson was born in Dunedin to John Andrew Orlowski and his Scottish wife Jane [nee Robinson].

She was the last surviving of her siblings, who remained close throughout their lives.

Madeline Anderson was farewelled at a funeral in Upper Hutt yesterday.

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