It’s not every day that the Swiss ambassador turns up to your party to say ‘happy birthday’, so when this happened to 91-year-old Ritta Imhof last month, she was surprised and excited.
Ritta, now a resident of Maygrove, was born in Switzerland and came to New Zealand at the age of 22 with her two aunts in 1950. She married Konrad Imhof, also originally from Switzerland, in 1952. The couple farmed in various locations and moved to Orewa in the 1980s to be near their grandchildren. Ritta remembers Riverside Road in those days as “a dead end street with fields nearby that were the remains of a farm”.
Ritta and Konrad made many new friends in the local area and hosted a lot of overseas visitors – their home became known as ‘Hotel Imhof’.
As Ritta’s 91st birthday approached, the Swiss Embassy asked her family whether they could send representatives to wish her well.
Swiss Ambassador, David Vogelsanger, and the Honorary Consul of the Auckland Swiss Consulate, Adrian Blaser, then came to Maygrove and presented Ritta with a book of photographs of Switzerland.