She hails from Wainuiomata, where they say the girls are smarter. And today Margaret Aitken looks likely to become the first lady of Australia.
The woman now known as Margie Abbott has kept her life very private, but in her former hometown Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott's wife is remembered as feisty and very able.
Her childhood sweetheart, Wainuiomata linesman Bruce Angus, said he still had fond memories of their six years together as teenagers.
"She had stunning eyes," he told The Dominion Post.
The pair got together in their mid-teens at Wainuiomata College, where Mrs Abbott took part in a pioneering Maori language course, the first introduced into a New Zealand state secondary school.
Mr Angus still had a "ton of time" for her family, who he said were very good to him. Her father Max, who rose to a senior position in the Post Office, helped get him a job when he left school.
She was an able student and a "a tall young lady, very attractive, able, very considered - feet firmly on the ground", said John Clarke, who founded the Maori language course and later became race relations conciliator. "I think anyone would be proud to have her as a daughter."
She had a good ear for the language and did well at it, he said. It was wonderful that she was married to the possible prime minister of Australia. She "could have a little bit of influence on that side of the Tasman - pillow talk!"
Mrs Abbott's parents said that, although they were Labour voters, they liked and admired their son-in-law. "I get angry when I hear things [said] about him," Mrs Aitken told The Dominion Post.
Mr Abbott was often accused of being sexist and ultra-conservative, but the Aitkens - now retired and living in Hamilton - said he was not like that at all.
"He's been good to our daughter and the pair of them have given us three lovely granddaughters," Mr Aitken said.
Mr Abbott had visited his parents-in-law several times in New Zealand, and they had made "scores" of trips to visit Australia.
A school friend of Mrs Abbott's, Fiona Rattray, who now lives in Australia, described a girl who was both "fun and feisty" - a "girly girl who would just give it what for".
She was staggered to hear that her old schoolmate was poised to become Australia's first lady, but said it proved that, in Wainuiomata, the girls really were smarter.
- © Fairfax NZ News
How would you rate your mathematical skill?Related story: Kiwi maths performance concerns