When June Foote responded to a job advertisement in the Northern Advocate in 1971, she never thought she would be still be working in the same job 41 years later.
Now finally, Mrs Foote is to retire from her role as catering assistant at Lupton House at the end of this term.
She first arrived on the job at the historic boarding home for students of Whangarei Girls' High School when she was 29.
"It doesn't feel like 41 years to me," she said.
In that time she has noted dietary habits changing in teenage girls. When she first started, the girls were served "meat and three veg" every night.
"Every day they knew exactly what they would be eating. On Monday it was corned beef, Tuesdays were mutton, and so on," she said.
"It got to the point where I felt sick from the smell of mutton."
Nowadays, "you name it, we have it. The food is a lot healthier for the girls now, too."
Gone are the days of steamed pudding each night, with the occasional jelly as a treat.
Now the girls are served their favourite dessert, ambrosia, as well as a hazelnut spread and a pastry treat.
Obesity in young people was one thing she had noticed an increase of, as well as new allergies, such as gluten and dairy intolerance.
She was keeping mum on whether there had been any legendary food fights, however.
"They do pull pranks at the end of the year, but none in the kitchen. They are only let in as far as the washing up."
For 34 years of her career at Lupton House, Mrs Foote has worked alongside catering manager Fenella Richardson, making meals for between 80 and 85 girls.
Lupton House manager Debbie Skudder said the hostel functioned as a family home and, like all family homes, the kitchen was the hub. The working relationship between Mrs Foote and Mrs Richardson was "tremendous", said Mrs Skudder. "Fenella tells me there has never been a cross word between them, in all the years."
Mrs Richardson is full of praise for her assistant.
"She knows what I want, I know what she wants and it just works."
Lupton House Christmas dinner is always a large and exciting meal, held on the last night when all the girls are together, before the senior exams begin.
This year's Christmas dinner was particularly special for Mrs Foote, as she served up the last meal for the full hostel. A morning tea on Tuesday will be held to show appreciation for all Mrs Foote's hard work over 41 remarkable years.