As a somewhat insecure young woman, having grown up in a busy home with six brothers and three sisters, and with three children of my own before turning 24, I was looking for something that would give me the courage to find out who I really was so I could face life and all its challenges.
The Sabian became my ‘guide’ and inspiration – encouraging a positive state of mind, believing that anything was possible, encouraging me to think big and to know that I didn’t need to be stronger or faster than anyone else but just had to believe and trust in myself.It’s All in the State of Mind
If you think that your beaten you are,
If you think that you dare not, you don’t
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost a cert you won’t
If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out in the world you find
Success begins with a fellow’s will,
It’s all in the state of mind
For many a race is lost,
Ere even a step is run:
And many a coward fails
Before even his work’s begun
Think big and your deeds will grow,
Think small, you’ll fall behind.
Think that you can, and you will,
It’s all in the state of mind
If you think your outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he canThe Sabian
Fay Patricia Cox
Born East Coast Bays Hospital, Auckland, 22 December 1946
Mother: Linda Mary Colquoun Marr, born in Stratford, Taranaki 24 February 1914, died 14 April 2011
Father: Alfred Walter Frances Cox, born in Pongaroa, Tararua 16 October 1907, died 29 February 1988
Maternal Grand Parents
Zilpah Petch, born in Hurworth, Taranaki, NZ 17 April 1882, died 17 November, 1959
Harry Colquhoun Marr, born in Thirsk, Yorkshire, England 28 December 1858, died 02 November 1959
Maternal Great Grand Parents
Elizabeth Petch, born in South Killingholme, Lincolnshire, England 14 April 1864, died 25 March 1926
Not known, born in
Maternal Great Great Grand Parents
Mary Ann Salvidge, born in Lincolnshire, England 20 May 1835, died 1919
Charles Petch, born in Lincolnshire, England 1826
Paternal Grand Mother & Father
Jessie Winter, born in Vivian Street, Wellington, New Zealand 01 January 1887, died 12 November 1965
Walter James Cox, born in Tinui, New Zealand 01 December 1880, died 16 January, 1960
Paternal Great Grand Mother & Father
Sarah Ann Oliver, born in Wellington, New Zealand 8 January 1866, died 1950
George Winter, born in Battersea, Surrey, UK 18 January 1858, died 26 December 1892
- Chapter 1 -
Recognition and Reward
No-one volunteers their time in the hope of recognition and a reward. Every community volunteer wants to make a difference and to leave their footprint. For sport there is nothing more satisfying than seeing people of all ages and abilities having the opportunity to participate, to compete and to have fun.
My journey as a volunteer in sport dates back to around 1958 when young people playing netball were encouraged to get involved in umpiring the game. For some strange reason this appealed and thus began a life-long involvement with volunteering in sport, and later in community development and the arts.
In 1979 I received the Alwyn Moon Memorial Award which was presented annually by the Auckland Amateur Sports Association to the most outstanding sports personality of that year. This was unexpected but welcomed after many years contributing to the sport of netball at local, regional and national levels and also to marching. In this same year I received the North Shore Sports Administrator Award at a North Shore Lions International Sports Dinner.
In 2006 the honourable award of an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Netball and Sports Administration was made at Government House, Auckland, by Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand.
My daughter Joanne, son Kerry, and sisters Margaret and Beverley, were at Government House to create a special and happy family occasion (my daughter Teresa was living in Australia and not able to attend).
In 2006, at an awards dinner in Rotorua, Recreation Aotearoa awarded me the Mark Mitchell Memorial Trophy to “recognise excellence and outstanding personal contribution to the wider recreation industry”. This was a special honour to receive from this outstanding organisation which represents recreation professionals from local government and the private sector.
In 2015 I received a Sport NZ Lifetime Achievement Award at an awards dinner in Auckland. This was validation from sport professionals and my peers that my work was valued and making a difference to the world of sport and was greatly appreciated.
In 2019, Recreation Aotearoa awarded me the distinguished honour of a Recreation Fellow, presented at an industry awards dinner in Hamilton, "in recognition of outstanding contribution to the recreation industry". Again unexpected but very welcome recognition from my peers within the recreation industry.
Over the years life memberships in sport and the arts were awarded in recognition of a life-time involvement as a volunteer.
This is a story that will hopefully give context to the awards bestowed and the service and life membership honours awarded to an ordinary person who sought to have extraordinary experiences and in doing so to make a contribution to the community.
Particular thanks are extended to my family for it is they who have made many sacrifices but also supported and encouraged me throughout this journey.
The journey has been enriched and supported by many amazing people who have been influential and created opportunities along the way. These people have been acknowledged in the writing of this book. If you have not been mentioned I apologise for the oversight.
TIT FOR TAT
Many will be shocked to find,
When the day of judgement nears,
That there's a special place in heaven
Reserved for volunteers.
Furnished with recliners,
Satin couches and footstools
Where there's no committee, chairman,
Group leader or car pools.
No sub-commitee to be staffed,
No stalls, no cakes for sale -
There'll be nothing much to staple,
Not a thing to fold or mail.
Phone lists will be outlawed;
Just a finger snap will bring
Cool drinks and gourmet dinners
And treats all fit for a king
You ask who'll serve this favoured few
And work for all they're worth
Why, those who reaped the benefits
But NEVER volunteered on earth!
Alwyn Moon Memorial Award 1979.
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit 2006
Fellow Award presented at 2018 Recreation Aotearoa Conference.
Sport NZ Life-time Achievement Award 2016.
A very proud day. Beverley, Joanne, Kerry and Margaret were with me in 2006 at Government House when I received an ONZM.
Rugby World Cup volunteer - team leader for fan zones at Albany and Queen's Wharf
- Chapter 2 -
All Ways Uphill, The Story of a Settler Family in NZ, traces the Winter family’s journey (paternal ancestors) from Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire and London in the 1830s. It also traces our paternal Irish ancestors through the Neal family. The journeys of our maternal ancestors provide an intriquing story woven through our Scottish and English background, with things we thought we knew turned on their head - if only we could go back in time and ask the important questions.
The Winters were descendants of the Wintours of Camarvon in Wales. The family settled in Wych in the reign of Edward the First and remained there until, in the reign of Henry the Sixth, Roger Wintour married the co-heiress of Huddington and Casey.
In the 1500s George Wintour owned Huddington Court, a moated manor house in the village of Huddington in Worcestershire, England, some six miles east of Worchester (complete with church in the grounds). Since 1952 Huddington Court has been Grade 1 listed on the National Heritage List for England and is now used as a private residence.
George Wintour's three sons, Robert, Thomas and John were executed with Guy (Guido) Fawkes for the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. The Gunpowder Plot plans to blow up the Houses of Parliament were partially conceived in Huddington Court where the Winter family lived and fled after their arrest.
The plotters left early the following morning in the pouring rain and made it as far as Holbeach House in Staffs where, following a shoot out, they were killed or arrested. Robert Wintour fled and was captured two months later, while Thomas was wounded and their half brother, John, surrendered his sword at Dudley Castle.
Huddington Court was confiscated along with all their estates. However it was back in family ownership by 1607, possibly through payment of large fines by the Talbot estates.
Robert Wintour, at the time of his execution, was married to the daughter of Sir John Talbot. Their grandchild, another George, was knighted, and married the daughter of the tenth Earl of Shrewsbury.
Lady Mary Wintour owned Huddington Court until about 1696 when ownership transferred to the Talbot relations, and then to Hubert Henry Edmondson whose family still owns it.
The Winters of Huddington are related to the Winters who sailed with Drake during the Spanish Armada. Sir William Winter’s grandson John was knighted and appointed secretary to Queen Henrietta Maria in 1638.
Winter tradition has it that we are descended from Robert of the Gunpowder plot.
Right through the family are writers, musicians, teachers, orators and athletes (including Arch Jelley of athletics fame in New Zealand).
James and Suzannah (nee Archer) Winter were our paternal great great great grandparents. They lived at Stoke Poges before moving to London where James invested in and managed the once popular Cremorne Gardens. Under James' direction Cremorne Gardens became the fashion spot where gentlemen took their ladies to stroll on the lawn, listen to the German band, or refresh with dishes of junket (a popular dessert in my youth).
James and Suzannah had five sons and one daughter including John Winter (great, great grandfather). John trained as a chemist but was restless. It was said he had the social life of a gentleman and got respectably drunk at dinner, while his industrious brothers worked to stabilise the source of his wealth (through his father James).
John Winter’s diary reveals he was a member of the Somersetshire Light Infantry which was ordered to Ireland in around 1847 (aged 20 years). It was there, while searching homes looking for arms (and turning residents out of their homes), that he met Patrick Neal (born 1800 in Ulster, Ireland), whose daughter Sarah was later to become his wife.
Patrick called in to the army headquarters, along with Sarah, his nurse trained daughter, offering to provide medical support to the terrified residents. Due entirely to his attraction to the young Sarah, John provided protection for the family as they came to and from the headquarters to tend to their patients.
Patrick Neal had served as a medico in Spain in the Peninsula campaign in an Irish Regiment under the Duke of Wellington. Patrick was appointed to a Spanish hospital but struggled with the language. He was assisted by one of the Spanish girls working in the hospital. When the time came to evacuate the troops, they decided that to part was unthinkable, so agreed to marry and smuggle her aboard the troopship going back to Ireland.
On the day the hospital closed, a party of Spanish staff officers filed down the aisle, and to Patrick’s astonishment pinned a Spanish medal on his breast.
My Heritage records show Martha Mary Winter Neale (born Bloxham) was the wife of John Frederick James Patrick Neal. Martha was born in Buckinghamshire, England. Patrick and Martha had three children including our paternal great great great grandmother, Sarah Neal who was born on 8 May 1825 in Hounslow, England. Sarah had two sisters, Mary Ann Neal and Charlotte Neal, who were also trained nurses. Perhaps the relationship with the Spanish wife did not survive?
Sarah Neal later worked as a lady’s maid in England and one evening while out walking met up with the very same young officer who had sent soldiers to look after her and her father on that afternoon in Ireland. On 4 May 1852 John Winter and Sarah Neal were married in the little church of St Giles. Although the church is gone the wedding record has been preserved.
John's extravagant lifestyle, lack of acceptable employment and the tragic death of their son (after squandering an inheritence and no money left to pay for a funeral), resulted in the family emigrating to New Zealand.
They sailed from London on the Conflict, landing in 1874 at Petone Beach, Wellington. The ship took 80 days to get to New Zealand and during passage the ships record shows there were 5 births and 11 deaths, including 8 infant deaths. John wrote a poem on the journey entitled "The Voyage of the Conflict (1874). A copy of this poem is held in the Alexander Turnbull Library of New Zealand. Ref. MS-Papers-0571.
John and Sarah Winter had six children on the ship with them, including our great grandfather, George Winter, who was aged 18 and listed on the ship’s register as a General Labourer.
One week after arriving in Petone, George enlisted in the Constabulary and, after training, moved to Taupo. He befriended the Maori people in Atiamuri and worked closely with them. In 1881 as a Corporal he joined 1,200 volunteers and 900 armed Constabulary who assembled in New Plymouth to attack Te Whiti's Pa at Parihaka (Te Whiti surrendered and was arrested, his friend Tohu was hanged and the Pa at Parihaka burned - to New Zealand's eternal shame).
George later moved to Auckland working the streets of Ponsonby as a Constable, before settling in Wellington where he set up a successful tallow and flax business and later, prior to meeting and marrying Sarah, worked for his father developing the rugby playing fields at Wellington College.
George was born in Regent Place, Battersea, Surrey on 18 January 1858 and married Sarah Ann Oliver (great grandmother) on 21 October 1883 in the Baptist Church, Vivian Street, Wellington.
Sarah was born in Wadestown, Wellington on 8 January 1866, three weeks after arriving from England with her parents on the SS Wild Duck (My Heritage records her being born aboard the SS Wild Duck in Wellington Harbour). Sarah died in Auckland in 1950.
Sarah's mother left the family when Sarah was 9 years old and she was left to care for her five younger brothers and sisters. When her father died the family was split up between the church and relatives. Eventually after an unhappy time caring for children in a private home Sarah escaped and was rescued from the streets by a Mrs Cato and she worked in a bakery in Wellington, where she met George Winter.
George and Sarah Winter had seven children. Jessie (grandmother) was the oldest (1 January 1887) followed by Milly (15 February 1889), John (23 April 1894), Sarah (15 December 1895), George (16 October 1899) and Charles – known as Lauchie (26 August 1904). Jessie died in Auckland in 1965.
We never met our paternal grandparents George Winter and Sarah Oliver. They were never part of our family and died when we were quite young (before I was born). Our Dad was very fond of his grandmother, who had raised him with kindness as a young child, so it was sad that the family didn't get to know her. My sister Margaret has a vague recollection of visiting Dad's grandmother with our father on one occasion, but Margaret was very young at the time and the significance of this visit did not register.
James George Cox was our great great grandfather. He was born on 29 February 1832 and died in 1914. In 1850 he married Susan Louisa Scarth (1826-1892) in London, England. James and Susan travelled to New Zealand as steerage passengers on the Randolph in 1850, arriving in Lyttleton on 16 December 1850. The Randolph departed New Zealand and in June 1851 hit a reef off Amber Island, Muritius and many lives were lost.
James built, then from 1860-1875 owned, the Featherston General Store. He was also a school teacher, Featherston Post-Master, School Board Chairman, Town Board Chairman, Licensing Board member for Greytown, Justice of the Peace and member of the Political Reform League.
James George Coleridge Cox (great grandfather) was born in Wellington on 28 May 1852 and died in 1918 aged 65. He was married to Mary Ann Nicholls (1859-1935). James was described as a steam engine fitter, engine man stationary, waggoner on farm, gardener, lamplighter and machine fitter (Ref: Findagrave.com).
His death prompted a notice in the NZ Times on 8 May 1918, the Wairarapa Daily Times on 7 May 1918 and the Wairarapa Age on 9 May 1918. Tributes were paid of this well known settler who had a sheep farm in Hinemoa.
James and Mary Ann had 16 children, and Walter James George Cox (paternal grandfather) was the fourth born of 8 girls and 8 boys. His birthdate is recorded as 1 December 1880 at Tinui, Wellington. He died in Timaru in 1960.
Our Father's Family
Sisters Jessie and Milly Winter married brothers Walter James Cox and William Cox respectively on 18 February 1905 in a barn in Pongoroa in the Tararua district. Jessie and Walter had 7 children that we knew of, one of whom was our father Alfred Walter Francis Cox.
Our father's brothers and sisters were born in the Wairarapa, Masterton and Waikato areas, perhaps as the family moved around with their father's work. Nora Ellen (Ella) (1905-1997), Marjory Jessie (1909-1980), Ivor George Cardoe (1912-1965), William James (Bill) (1919-1982), and Patricia Marion (1921-1997) were all visitors to our family home, and the family remained close to them. Bill's twin brother Graham died at birth.
It seems that Jessie and Walter’s marriage was not a match made in heaven. Walter spent long periods of time away from home working on road gangs, and they would eventually separate (Walter was later to remarry).
It was said of Jessie that she was a ‘clever girl’ and had she been born today would have had a career of some sort. With an absent husband she had little choice but to do housework which she was not keen on. She did try her hand as a salesperson, at one stage trying to sell hats.
We know that Walter completely lost contact with Jessie and his family. Our father and uncle Bill Cox tried desperately to find their father. At one stage they found a photo in the Weekly News magazine of a drover with a team of bullocks. They were convinced this was their long-lost father but had no way of contacting him. Sadly, Walter never reconnected with his children. The family all went to their deaths having never found their father.
It is possible that Walter had another reason for not contacting his family. While married to Jessie Walter produced three if not four children to Eliza Jane White who would become his second wife (four children to Jessie, three or four to Eliza and then three more to Jessie). Two of the children were only months apart, with Ivor born to Jessie in February 1912 and Eric born to Eliza in June 1912.
My Heritage records show Kenneth Walter Cox was a sibling of our father, born in 1922. However, no birth certificate could be found on the records, and his death certificate records his age at death in 1942 as 27 (which would have meant he was born in 1914 or 1915).
It seems evident to us that our father knew about this brother as he named two of his children after him – Kenneth Owen and Walter George - which adds to the confusion. So what is the real story – if only we could go back in time and ask the questions?
If Kenneth was born in 1922 it follows that he was a full brother of our father and as the youngest child taken by his father to live in Timaru with his mistress. However, My Heritage records also show Kenneth Walter Cox as a sibling of Walter and Eliza’s family (whether as a full or half sibling we don’t know because of the absence of a birth certificate).
Walter and Eliza had three (other) children – Eric John Cox (1912-1984), Dorris Annie Hazel Cox (1917-2014) and Albert Raymond Cox (1918-1996). Kenneth may have been born as the second child to Walter and Eliza if his birth year was in fact 1914 or 1915. Unfortunately, due to the fact his birth was not registered we will never know for sure.
Sadly, Kenneth was killed in an aeroplane crash at Salisbury, near Timaru, on 27th September 1942. He was the sole occupant of “Flying Flea’ despite having no experience in flying an aircraft. Kenneth was a builder by trade but was described by his father has having a keen interest in aircraft which led to him making the purchase.
The aircraft itself was built in Christchurch by a flying enthusiast, Barnard Owen. Owen had incorporated several unorthodox features in the aeroplane, the aerodynamics of the machine were considered unsatisfactory, and despite several attempts to become airborne neither Owen nor other friends had been successful.
Whether Kenneth intended to fly that day, or as he indicated to neighbours, just cruise up and down the farm they were living on and work the controls, we will never know. What we do know is that Kenneth took off and flew about half a mile at a height estimated to be 100 feet. The plane was reportedly being flown in an erratic manner, the engine cut out and the plane nosedived killing Kenneth instantly.
There is an interesting backstory to our father’s life. He spent much of his boyhood at the Boys' Institute in Wellington, and some with his Winter grandparents. The split up of the family and his mother's attitude towards his father caused my father to resent his mother. He told us she would not so much as boil a kettle for his father when he came home after working on the road gangs for lengthy periods (he was possibly in Oamaru with his other family). He deeply regretted losing contact with his father after the marriage ended and blamed his mother (perhaps Walter did not want to be found and have to reveal the family secret).
It was an apparently very dysfunctional family with our father's youngest sister, Patricia, saying she had no knowledge of her parents and was sent from one family to another to be cared for.
When our father was around 13, he was ‘welcomed home’ by his mother. However, whereas he anticipated and yearned for love and affection, he was instead put to work around the home, doing hard labour such as chopping wood and raking the yard. My father felt that he was brought home only when he was old enough to work and deeply resented his mother. He was not backward in strongly expressing those sentiments at various times throughout his life.
Our paternal grandfather Waler James Cox was of the Seventh Day Adventist faith, and his burial was conducted by a minister from the church. Our father fellout with an elder from the Seventh Day Adventist church, accusing him of dishonesty. Perhaps because of his religious leaning, and the subsequent fall-out, we were not permitted to take any religious instruction. There were strict rules around what girls could and could not wear – cosmetics, jeans, long pants, shorts, short skirts etc. were forbidden (and a tattoo would definitely not have been tolerated).
Although our paternal grandmother Jessie Winter died in 1965, we never met her, she was not part of our family and never discussed. It was as if she never existed. We understand our father did attend his mother's funeral (a detail shared with some family members).
Our Immediate Family
Our mother Linda Mary Colquhoun Marr was born on 24 February 1914 in Stratford, Taranaki, and died in Auckland on 14 April 2011. Our father Alfred Walter Francis Cox was born on 16 October 1907 in Pongaroa, Tararua, and died on 29 February 1988.
Our parents met when my mother was doing housework on a farm and our father was a labourer on the same farm, presumably around the Stratford area in Taranaki. They married on 24 December 1937 in Stratford, Taranaki.
They subsequently moved to Auckland and continued married life at 10 Alverston Street, Waterview, in Avondale, where they established a glass house and grew tomatoes commercially to make a living.
Margaret, twins Walter and Keith, and Barry, were born while living at Alverston Street. The family moved across the harbour to live in Archers Road, Glenfield, because more land was needed to increase the number of glass houses and expand the tomato growing business.
They would no doubt have had to make the trip to their new home in Glenfield either by vehicular ferry or by going around the harbour as the Auckland Harbour Bridge was not built at that time.
On 24 December 1987, shortly before our fathers death, our parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends in Auckland. We were fortunate to have parents who created a stable, loving environment for the family.
Our maternal great great great grandparents were Francis Petch (1787-1829) and Ann Elizabeth Berrin (1797-1869). Little is known about them but they had 7 children including our great great grandfather Charles Petch who was born in Killingholme, Lincolnshire on 1 June 1825 and died in 1880.
Charles married Mary Anna (or Hannah) Salvidge (1835-1919) on 9th July 1855 at Kilingholme. Charles and Mary had nine children, all of whom were born in Killingholme. One of those children was named Zilpah but sadly died 4 days after her birth on about 15 May 1867 (baptism record).
On 11 June 1875 Charles and Mary and their children emigrated to New Zealand departing Grimbsy onboard the iron barque 'Chile'. They landed in New Plymouth on 29 September 1875 after a 93 day journey from England and settling in the Taranaki area. One of those children was our great grandmother Elizabeth Petch who was aged 11 at the time of travel.
Our grandmother Zilpah Petch was born on 17 April 1882 and died in 1959. She was the only child of Elizabeth Petch (Charles and Mary's daughter) who was aged 18 when she gave birth to Zilpah in Hurworth, Taranaki (most likely named after her deceased sister).
Zilpah's birth record does not name the father. We know from records that Elizabeth married William Turnbull three years after Zilpah was born. Some records show that Zilpah took his surname, although this is not certain.
We suspect that Zilpah was raised by Mary Ann Petch (her grandmother) as one of her own children (Charles died two years before Zilpah was born). Zilpah and Harry's marriage certificate shows they married at the home of Mrs Petch, and her surname on the marriage certificate is recorded as Petch not Turnbull.
My Heritage records show that Zilpah had 6 half-brothers and sisters (William 1885-1974), James Walter (1889-1962), Gordon Wallace (1893-1975), Clarence (1897-1973), Clara May (1896-1985) and Douglas Ronald (1905-1961). Whether she was raised with her mother and half-siblings or grandmother is open to speculation.
Zilpah never once mentioned to us her cousins, half brothers and sisters or other family circumstances. Her cousins and siblings lived mainly around the New Plymouth area and we do not know if she maintained contact with them after the death of her grandmother and mother. Did our mother know and remain silent about this throughout her life?
Colquoun Marr family
Our maternal great great grandparents were Dr James Marr (1813-1866) a prominent physician in Edinburgh and Janet Bathgate Colquhoun (1817-1880). In what might have been an unusual practice at the time, their surnames were merged to become Colquhoun Marr. They had 10 children including our great grandfather Archibald Colquhoun Marr.
Archibald Colquhoun Marr was born on 19 December 1853 in Midlothian, Edinburgh, Scotland and died in 1943. He married Margaret Lancaster our great grandmother (1851 - 1940).
They travelled from the UK to New Plymouth with their seven children on the SS Tongariro, arriving in New Plymouth in October 1894, eventually settling in Eltham. Our grandfather, Harry Colquoun Marr, was on the Tongariro with them and aged 16 at the time.
Harry Colquhoun Marr was born on 24 December 1877 in Thirsk, Yorkshire and died in 1959 at Carrington Hospital, Auckland.
Zilpah Petch married Harry Colquhoun Marr on 15 August 1907 and they had seven children. Our mother was the fifth born, one of 4 girls and 3 boys.
Our mother and her siblings grew up with their parents Zilpah and Harry around the Taranaki area. On the 31st July 1924, Harry signed a 66 year lease for a parcel of land in the Whangamomona Country, but in 1934 the family was forced off the land by the Lands Department. They found shelter with friends and then rented a house at Kohuratahi (6648 Ohura Road). Harry worked as a farmer and in the dairy industry until moving to Auckland and retiring in the mid-1940's.
Although our mother didn't talk about her early life, she did share with us that she rode a horse to school at Kohuratahi. We were totally intrigued by the thought of riding a horse to school.
For the first few years of its existence, Kohuritahi received its supplies from boats on the Whanganui River, via the Tangarakau Stream. By 1918 the settlement had a post office, dairy factory, school, railway station, store and hall.
After the First World War, 11 farms near Kohuratahi formed the Kohura settlement – one of 10 settlements created in Taranaki for returned servicemen. Since the early 2000s little remains of the village, except for the public hall and the district war memorial.
Our mother's brothers and sisters – Olive (1909-1921), Dorothy (1912-1984), Colin (1912-1995), Graham (1915-1991) and Jean (1921-2001) were all visitors to the Cox household. Visiting Aunty Jean in Tokoroa as a reward for passing school certificate, and spending time with the McPherson cousins at the home of our grandparents, are positive childhood memories.
Uncle Graham is listed on the Auckland War Memorial site as having served (and survived) WWII, number 64271 in the NZ Army.
When we were growing up, our maternal grandparents lived in Tiverton Road, Avondale. We used to travel by vehicular ferry leaving from Birkenhead to visit them in Avondale (often along with our McPherson cousins from Tokoroa), or alternatively take the ferry to meet them on the roof garden of Farmers Trading Company in the city.
Visiting Farmers was always a highlight, as the rooftop cafeteria had good sandwiches and cakes, but importantly had a playground with tricycles and other toys and a goldfish bowl with huge goldfish swimming around (Farmers is still my 'go-to' store after 70+ years).
A vivid memory from the time spent at Tiverton Road was roast lamb and vegetables (usually Christmas dinner) cooked in the traditional wood fire oven and served with loads of gravy and mint sauce, followed by ice-cream and jelly with sugar sprinkled on it. This evokes strong memories even today.
Zilpah came to live in the family home at Archers Road, Glenfield, after Harry became ill and she could no longer care for herself. She died there on 17th November, 1959, surrounded by family. Harry died at Carrington Hospital, Avondale, three weeks prior to Zilpah on 2nd November, 1959.
Our one regret is that we didn't make more enquiries of our parents and grandparents to gather information on our family history, but sadly the opportunity passed us by. The facts of the past, particularly with respect to our mother's family, have been gleaned from Myheritage.com, and also importantly from our cousin, Colin McPherson who has done extensive research and has very good documentation of birth and death records. Many family stories from those eras, however, will never be known.
 All Ways Uphill, the Story of a Settler Family in NZ, G.W. Winter (1995) Wharton and Hughes, Western Australia
 Winter Family Stories, Winter Family Reunion, 1996
 Winter Family Stories – story by Jan Hands, daughter of Pat Cox, p29
Huddington Court, Worcestershire, where the Winter family lived in the 1500s – we are direct descendants through our grandmother Jessie Winter.
Plaque on Huddington Court, Worcestershire, naming the three Winter brothers who plotted with Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament – infamous relatives directly linked through Robert Winter.
Maternal grandparents – Zilpah and Harry Colquhoun Marr.
Mother, Grandmother and older sister Margaret.
James George Cox (1832-1914) - paternal great great grandfather
Susan Louisa Scarth (1826-1892) - paternal great great grandmother
James George Coleridge Cox (1852-1918) – paternal great grandfather
Mary Ann Nicholls (1859-1934) - paternal great grandmother
Walter James Cox (1880-1960) - paternal grandfather
Harry Colquhoun Marr (1877-1959) - maternal grandfather
Zilpah Petch (1982-1959) - maternal grandmother
Elizabeth Petch (1864-1926) - maternal great grandmother
Grand Uncle George (Nick) Winter – Winter and O'Loughlin Contractors – Bushwhacking at Moawhango, Manawatu-Wanganui, 1920. Ref: All Ways Uphill, GW Winter (1995) Wharton & Hughes, WA
Harry Colquhoun Marr and Zilpah Petch on their wedding day 15 August 1907.
Head stone at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland
Winter family c.1839. Back from left: George and Sarah Winter (paternal great grandparents), Front: Jessie Winter (grandmother), Sarah Winter Senior, Lily, John, Millie. Ref: All Ways Uphill, GW Winter (19905) Wharton & Hughes, WA
Winter Children in 1900. From left: Lily, baby George, Jessie, Olive, Millie, John.
Flying Flea flown by Kenneth Walter Cox on his fateful flight.
- Chapter 3 -
Growing Up in Archers Road
My birth is recorded as taking place at East Coast Road Obstetrics Hospital on 22nd December 1946, the seventh child of Alfred Walter Francis Cox and Linda Mary Colquhoun Marr – a girl after five boys may well have been a cause for celebration.
Margaret is the oldest sibling, born in 1938, the twins Keith and Walter were born in 1939, Barry in 1941, David in 1943, Owen in 1945, me in 1946, Bev in 1949, Kevin in 1955 and Jenny in 1956. A baby born around 1950 did not survive which caused our Mother huge grief and distress.
As a baby I was allergic to cows’ milk and was going to die – the doctors could not offer anything to help. My father was desperate and asked the farmer next door for some goats’ milk and my life was saved. Formula did not exist in those days and drinking goats' milk was unheard of and would have been repugnant to most people - our father was ahead of the times.
Owen recalls spilling a tin of Coleman’s mustard over me in the crib when he was ‘investigating’ what was in the tin. By all accounts it was a life-threatening situation, but I managed to survive, much to his (and no doubt the family’s) relief.
The world was a very different place in 1946, this being the first post-war production of World War II babies, known as the baby-boomer generation. Peter Fraser (Labour) was Prime Minister of NZ and Sidney Holland was Leader of the Opposition (National). John Allum was Mayor of Auckland. This was a period of recovery and NZ was relatively small with a population of 1.8 million (with the loss of 11,625 New Zealanders during World War II).
Following the family's move from Alverston Street, Waterview in around 1941 the family lived in Archers Road, Glenfield, on an 8-acre block of land (later to become home to Frank Allen Tyres and then other industrial businesses). There was plenty of space to explore and play. The property included glass houses, a huge duck run, chickens, fruit trees, a large vegetable garden and bee-hives to make our own honey – we mainly lived off the land.
Compared to our schoolmates we were country hicks and they used to ask us how many cows we had (I cringed not wanting to be a country hick and denied having cows), but with the benefit of hindsight they probably envied us!
We never learnt to swim and even as an adult I can only manage a few strokes and am at risk of drowning if out of my depth (and almost drowned on a Gold Coast visit in 2006). Going to the beach was a very rare treat in those early days. Taking 10 children to the beach would have been a difficult undertaking. We do have recollections of buying ice creams at the shop at the bottom of The Strand, Takapuna, and likewise at the beach store opposite Milford Beach Reserve (now a large modern house).
We had two house cows which Mum milked until around 1951 when Dad bought a milk run from the McFetridge family (of strawberry growing fame), delivering milk cans. Dad converted his Hudson car into a truck for the milk delivery business. Glass milk bottles came later.
There are many fond memories of growing up which includes the following:
- My mother’s kind and calm demeanour, never getting ruffled, a calming influence, just quietly going about being a good mother and homemaker – nothing was too much trouble.
- Our father’s industriousness – a mover and shaker, always inventing and patenting things – he would likely have been an engineer if he had the chance to get an education.
- A father who educated himself through books, atlases, encyclopaedias, and National Geographic magazines; with a keen interest in the world; exploring communism and socialism as an alternative to capitalism.
- A father who visited Singapore with me in 1977 and then took a strong interest in the Asian region and China in particular, researching Chinese history, Rewi Alley’s link to China and embracing the ancient Chinese practice of Acupuncture.
- A family that instilled strong values of the importance of family, respect, honesty, and hard work.
- Growing up with a chaotic but secure and happy family (chaotic only because of the number of children), playing bowls in the basement and billiards on the family dining table.
- The glasshouses on the property where our Father grew tomatoes commercially while at the same time having a milk run and helping neighbours by repairing their machinery.
- The concrete washhouse where my mother slaved over a washing board to keep us in clean clothes (later replaced with a washing machine with a clothes wringer). The clotheslines always full of clothes flapping in the wind.
- The possum coming down the chimney and into a cupboard full of bottled fruit. There was mayhem with crashing and banging, broken glass and bottled fruit everywhere as the possum fought valiantly to escape.
- Roast duck for dinner up to three times a week, and fresh fish when dad and the boys went fishing. The fish gutted under the lemon tree and chickens and ducks being beheaded, defeathered and prepared for our meals at the same spot.
- Picking and eating ripe figs straight off the tree, stone fruit, orange, quince and lemon trees laden with fruit, loquat bushes, the garden always full of fresh produce.
- The goats and the twin kids, and the horror when the twins were served up for dinner. Our father’s fury when no-one would eat them.
- The milkman arriving every morning after our father gave up the milk run – pint glass milk bottles had to be cleaned and put out ready for the next delivery (we must have gone through many pints daily).
- Never going hungry, hearty meals always finished off with bread and butter, rice, tapioca or sago puddings or pumpkin and rhubarb, apple or blackberry pies and in the summer homemade ice cream which we used to beat until it was creamy (sneaking scoops during the beating process).
- One bath a week with bathwater shared with siblings coming before or after. We only got a shower (over the bath) in later years, and daily showers were strongly discouraged – a waste of power and water!
- Sharing a bed with my sisters – head to toe, kicking and creating a fuss – (in those days sharing a bed was a practical response to an over-supply of kids – not a poverty indicator!)
- Much later getting a separate room for the girls – luxury with sharing a room but not beds.
- Getting a tea set for Christmas and playing with it for hours on end.
- Having to iron up to 22 shirts before going out to play while the boys looked after their motorbikes.
- The bird aviaries our mother kept with pet budgies in a hue of colours. The family cats and Rover the dog who had to be put down after he attacked a neighbour.
- The huge gum trees planted by our father as saplings, which created a border between our property and the dusty Archers Road.
- The motorcycle track on our land, with hair pin bend, which was the first track for the North Shore Motorcycle Club, and brother Barry racing around the track to win against all comers in fortnightly race meetings. Selling home made lemonade and ice blocks to the people who attended.
- Being asked to burn some rubbish and lighting the fire close to the shed where Barry stored his motorbikes and the high-octane fuel he used for racing. Frantic efforts by Barry succeeded in putting out the fire and saved the day.
- My brothers stripping down and then reassembling a motor bike in the lounge (where there was barely room for people let alone an assembly line).
- My brothers with endless modelling of aeroplanes and boats from plywood kitsets which were very popular in the day.
- The twins in the Takapuna City Silver Band playing euphonium and tenor horn, and the pride my father took in their efforts (our father played the piano accordion).
- Answering the phone from a girl chasing Walter and saying, “Walter said to tell you he is not at home”. That went down like a lead balloon.
- Seeing the twins dressed up in their turquoise blue pants and white shirts, off on another night on the town, with girls’ keen to date the twins (and the twins swapping dates without telling the girls).
- Sunshine Health Farm, which was at the other end of Archers Road, where girls went for respite from dysfunctional families or illnesses.
- The Pellow’s who offered me the first ever cup of tea when visiting with my mother (probably aged around 10 years) which was so repugnant not a drop of tea has ever passed my lips again.
- Playing for hours with Peter Burns and friends in Porana Road, our nearest neighbours, and hours spent at McKay's Brickworks in Porana Road with off-cuts of clay to work into moulds and goodness knows what else.
- The McFetridge family in Sunnybrae Road – considered close neighbours in those days – and the endless supply of strawberries picked from the fields.
- Fields opposite our home which flooded in heavy rains. When it was not raining, we would watch the rabbits and sometimes animals that grazed there.
- Our father using a rotary hoe and accidentally slipping under it causing untold injuries to his legs, then driving himself to hospital to get fixed up.
- Earning money by delivering newspapers around the neighbourhood on a bike (with widely dispersed homes).
- Being a sporty kid, always on the go, with roller skating, marching, netball taking up my spare time.
- Walking down to Bayswater Hall to do roller skating and the Green Door in Barry’s Point Road. Sewing my own costumes, learning tricky routines and loving the white boots.
- Walking to Takapuna Grammar early every Saturday morning in winter to attend netball umpires’ classes; taking the Wilson Home children with disabilities for a walk in their wooden trollies; umpiring a game of netball; playing a game or two of netball and walking all the way home again.
- A sense of enormous freedom to explore far and wide without safety fears. Browns Bay, Takapuna Grammar School, Bayswater just all part of the neighbourhood and bus rides to Orewa during my more adventurous teen years.
- The phone with an exchange line shared with other families in the area (people in the exchange manually plugged your call in). Picking up the phone to see if anyone else was using it before dialling out (and being tempted to listen in to conversations).
- Walking over the Harbour Bridge when it opened in May 1959 with our father and family members.
- Getting our first TV set in 1963 while studying for School Certificate – the sheer excitement after years of anticipation.
- The family car – early adoptors I believe – a service car capable of taking a few of us at a time. Going to the movies at Northcote Point (now the Bridgeway) and occasionally as a family to Takapuna or Milford Beach as the numbers living at home diminished.
- Margaret leaving home to train as a nurse and never coming back to live with us.
- The boys getting various jobs and then moving on to the next job without a moment’s thought if there was something better (full employment for those that wanted it).
In later years, the family home was converted into an office and headquarters for North Shore Carriers which my father established. Brothers Walter, Owen and Kevin worked in the business. Owen owned and managed the company for several years; Kevin had a life-long career as a carrier in NZ and Australia; Walter spent most of his working life as a carrier before turning to lawn mowing to earn a living.
Although completely unaware of it at the time, my parents must have made many sacrifices to pay for all the activities – marching, skating, netball, as well as motorbikes, brass bands and plywood modelling materials for the boys.
Our mother did not sew or knit and hand me downs from the neighbours’ kids were not particularly welcomed (our grandmother knitted garments for us all). The only way was to get out, earn money, buy fabric, and learn to sew from around aged 12. There was a good school sewing programme and learning to sew french seams, button holes and insert zips at a young age ensured a reasonable final product.
Winter clothes meant putting on an under garment (a bodice) and perhaps a cardigan on top of summer clothes. Shoes were not generally worn until we went to high school and had no option. Even in winter we walked to school in bare feet – sometimes the wooden bridge at the end of Archers Road was covered in ice and we would skim across it and be on our way to primary school.
The ‘fashion’ in the 1960’s was something like you saw in the movie Grease. Full gathered skirts in a range of colours – Ming Blue being my favourite with a white top and pumps for shoes. When these were worn is hard to fathom – school uniform during the day, netball, roller skating and marching training at other times – took up most of the time.
We were never told we were poor – maybe we were and maybe we were not. In those days there was no visible upper class or distinction between rich and poor. It was a very egalitarian society. There were no designer labels so no-one envied what anyone else had.
Neither our mother nor father drank alcohol. A bottle of port wine was kept for exceptional circumstances and special visitors. An exception was the twins 21st
birthday when our father overindulged. It became a talking point for years to follow.
For several years, our father played bowls at the Glenfield Bowling Club and volunteered for greenkeeping duties. He was proud when he won club titles and bowls was quite important to him for a while. His interest in bowls was a life-time interest but with 10 children a bowls mat in the basement was the only outlet for this interest while the family were young. Our mother played indoor bowls in her later years.
In many ways our parents were very alternative. Olive Oil (purchased in 3 litre cans) was a staple in our family at least 30 years before it became popular. The oil was used in cooking, poured onto mashed potatoes in place of butter or drank by the spoonful. Mum put Eucalyptus leaves in our bed if we had a cold. Butter was home-made in the churn. Even soap was home made, and if one of us got an infection then our father made a poultice from Sunlight Soap and Epsom Salts. Before his passing, at aged 80, our father got on a pushbike to take him where he wanted to go as he felt unsafe to drive after a medical event. We had never seen him on a bike before but off he went.
After most of the family had grown up our parents moved to McKelvie Street, Grey Lynn. Dad’s sister introduced Mum to horse betting and it became a life-long interest, much to our father’s absolute horror. In her later years Mum filled many an hour betting online and watching the races or listening to music. She would be very excited when she won a race, sharing the joy with family.
Mum and Dad then moved to Onetangi, Waiheke Island, with a property on the beachfront not far from Charlie Farleys (imagine what that would be worth now). They then moved to Oneroa up on the hill overlooking the Art Centre and Library.
This started my life-long family connection to Waiheke Island. This includes regular trips down to the Island to walk via the road and tracks from Maitiatia to Onetangi - around a 3 hour walk with lots of hills to navigate - (sister Margaret walked with me until she could no longer handle the hills).
After a health scare (there were no Doctors on the Island at that time), our parents decided it was time to return to Auckland. They settled for a while in Glenfield Road then Greenhithe before their final family home in Chivalry Road, Glenfield.
Our mother loved to go shopping with family. Every trip would result in a new pot plant and usually a new CD as well (she loved music and had around 100 CDs). When ATM's were introduced this was very exciting to our mother. Although she never learned to use an ATM she would get us to withdraw money, perhaps not fully understanding it was her own money coming out of her own account.
Our father died peacefully on 29th
February 1988 at North Shore Hospital after a relatively brief illness. He retained his sense of humour to the last, asking us to tell his friends he had a new address. He died as he would have wanted with his dignity intact and family there to support him.
Our mother continued to live at the Chivalry Road address until aged 90 when she had a relatively brief stay at North Shore Hospital. She then went to live at Beechworth Resthome in Albany and died there peacefully on 14 April 2011 in her 98th
year, with my brother Owen at her side. She was much loved by all her family who visited her on a regular basis – having 10 children certainly has its advantages as she had visitors every day and always looked forward to those visits.
There are many of my father’s qualities and failings in my genetic make-up. Never stopping to smell the roses, driven, a workaholic, a political animal, multiple projects on the go at once, impatient, opinionated, curious, a yearning to learn and grow and explore the world. But also ever evolving, open to new ideas and concepts, willing to have a go and explore places and things I have never done before. A love of family and a strong connection to the community.When I come to my last hour on earth,What will matter most to me will beWhat I meant to people andWhat they meant to me.Not the things I possess or have done for myself,But what I have done for others.How I cared….loved….listened.Don Oliver, OBE
Mum and Dad in their earlier life together at the homestead in Archers Road.
Mum and Dad on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Dad's brothers and sisters – Ella, Dad, Ivor, Bill and Patricia. Absent: Marjory and Kenneth.
Family home in Archers Road – home of North Shore Carriers.
Fay aged around three.
Fay aged around two years – learning to ride a tricycle.
Fay aged around eight and Beverley aged around seven.
Fay aged about two with Owen, about three years old.
Bev, Margaret, Jenny and Fay.
Mum's 90th birthday celebrations
Fay, Kevin, Keith, Jenny, Bev, David, Walter, Owen, Barry and Margaret at a family get together
Family photo at Mum and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary 1987 – Back row: Beverley, Owen, Walter, Fay, Keith, Margaret and David. Front row: Jenny, Mum, Dad and Kevin.
Twins Keith and Walter celebrate Walters marriage to Maureen.
Bev and Fay dressed for an occasion.
Our father and Owen outside Auckland Hospital, 1950.
The family at our parents graveside, 2011. Rear, left to right: David, Keith, Barry and Jenny. Front, left to right: Margaret, Owen, Fay, Beverley, Kevin and Walter.
McKelvie Street – now a high end fashion store – Deadly Ponies, 2020.
Our Uncle Horace, Aunty Dorothy (Mum's sister) and Mum as bridesmaid
Cousin Barry McPherson and brother David at Farmers Carpark c1948
- Chapter 4 -
I attended Milford Primary School from aged 5 until aged 12 or 13 and then went straight to Westlake Girls High School. We lived in the same house, grew up with the same friends and neighbours, and had a sense of security and stability throughout childhood and our early youth. Life was very simple in those days.
Milford was the closest school (about 3 kilometres from our Archers Road home) and Westlake Girls High School was even closer. The older siblings attended Glenfield Primary School, Northcote College and Takapuna Grammar School.
We walked to Milford School every day (Owen and Beverley also attended Milford School), with Mum walking to and from school with us during the early years (always with a toddler in tow). There are very happy memories of the staff and my time at Milford School – I recall Principal Mr Clifford and teachers Mrs Murphy and Mr Isbister.
Girls played netball for the school in winter and softball in summer (some also played tennis but not for the school). Playing netball for Milford School was the start of my netball journey.
On a school visit to Milford beach, a friend (Jenny Mitchell) and I asked the teacher if we could walk across the bridge that linked the beach to East Coast Road. The teacher said yes and off we went – quite some way from where the other classmates were. Except the teacher did not mean yes – more like are you kidding me? I think we knew that but by the time we got back there was a search-party underway and we were in big trouble.
Milford School was established in 1926 on the edge of Lake Pupuke. In our school days access to the water was forbidden. Interestingly the Water Safe programme which became popular throughout New Zealand was started at Milford School and all the pupils now have the opportunity to learn boating and water safe skills.
Milford School looks exactly the same now as it did when I attended school. The old classrooms are still there – painted in the traditional white with blue trim. There is now a school hall and some other classrooms and also a school swimming pool. Periodically the school has reunions. In 2001 Owen and I attended the 75th Jubilee celebrations. We caught up with old friends and reminisced about the happy times spent at Milford School.
There were no intermediate schools in those days, so the next step after form 2 at Milford School was high school – a big leap. Westlake High School had only been open for 3 years. Brother David was a foundation pupil, Owen attended the following year and Beverley followed me to Westlake.
My first year at Westlake was co-educational, but then the boys left to go up the hill and we were on our own. The lack of distraction appealed to me with more time to focus on netball and other physical activities. This commitment led to selection in school netball and softball teams.
Placement in the A and B streams at Westlake to score good marks was a catalyst for my hard work throughout secondary school. Being better than half the classmates was the aim, and more often in the top 10 in the class. Hard work meant passing school certificate with a highest mark of 83 in bookkeeping and the lowest 38 in geography.
Westlake had fairly basic sports facilities compared to what is now provided. We had asphalt netball courts and a school hall but the covered courts, the covered sports complex and the hockey turf didn't exist.
Westlake required all pupils to wear a school uniform so this was pretty new and exciting. A green tunic, red jumper, panama hat in summer, green romper shorts for sports and thick grey stockings in winter were compulsory. I recall the panama hat ended up in Wairau Creek a few times which didn't go down well with the school hierarchy. My parents did not put a high value on education beyond secondary school. University was never spoken about as a possibility for any of us children – I thought that this was not something that our family did. No one in the whole extended family had attended university.
Out of 10 children, school certificate was the highest qualification on leaving school – not that others were not capable it was just not a priority whereas I was driven to succeed at school. The boys were encouraged to go into the trades and subsequently all became mechanics or similar.
At the end of 5th form, as soon as legally able to (very few pupils proceeded beyond 5th form in those days), school was left behind – burning schoolbooks in a pile and turning them into ash. Looking back, I was probably at my zenith as far as school went and was ready to get out into the real world and earn some money.
The choices for the girls in those days was to work in a bank, work in an office or go teaching or nursing. It was unheard of for girls to be engineers, lawyers, doctors, builders, electricians or plumbers (or anything else for that matter).
After leaving school and starting work in an office at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, attendance at AUT campus night school classes provided me with an opportunity to gain Pitmans qualifications in shorthand and typing (a valued qualification in those days). A friend met up after classes to go to the Auckland University campus for a meal at the canteen. This was my first introduction to university life – a place that was mysterious to a curious teenager and held great possibilities.
Coming home from the bus after attending ATU campus in the city was terrifying. Walking the length of Sunnybrae Road (about 2 kilometres) in the pitch black (no streetlights in those days) with the noise of cows grazing scared me witless. Our father refused to pick me up from the bus as I failed the first semester and he thought I was wasting my time and his! It was good to prove him wrong and pass all other semester exams.
Milford School Netball Team, 1959.
Milford School 1953 with favourite Teacher Mrs Murphy.
Brother Owen and I at the Combined Westlake High School Reunion, 2005.
Milford School Reunion 1977
Westlake Girls Softball Team, 1962.
Westlake Girls High School, class 4A 1961.
Although it says basketball, this was a Westlake Girls Netball team,1960.
Westlake Girls High School, class 5B, 1962.
- Chapter 5 -
Flatting at Northcote Point
Shortly after turning 17 it was time to go flatting and I secured a flat at 30A Queen Street, Northcote. I was barely out of school and on my own. This was the beginning of the opportunity and desire for independence and I grasped it with both hands.
Home life had not been happy for some time and I think my father had great difficulty in seeing his "little girl" grow to be an adult and start dating. On reflection I was undoubtedly a stroppy teenager and very determined to live my life on my terms.
From the time I went flatting it was essential to be self-sufficient, caring for myself, cleaning, shopping, getting to work on time and most importantly budgeting and handling money so as not to get into debt - there was no turning back and asking parents for a hand-out was a non-starter.
The inside of the flat looked dowdy so a coat of paint was applied – an ugly green that is completely unforgettable – no doubt the landlord had to repaint it before anyone else came into the property.
There were magnificent views to the sea from the lounge window of the flat at Northcote Point which were only appreciated by me when pointed out by others. The bedroom was down a hall by the laundry and a cold bathroom, and the whole place was dark (the basement of a house). It was very scary being so young and living alone.
Northcote Tavern was almost opposite the flat but, even if I had been interested, I was too young (the legal age for drinking alcohol was 21 at the time).
While living at the flat, the bus from Northcote Point provided daily transport to work in Auckland City. I felt so grown up boarding the bus, heading for the back seat and lighting up a cigarette – imagine that in today's world.
The ferry now leaves from the Northcote Wharf which is about two minutes from where I lived. Had the ferry been running in those days it is more than likely I would have caught the ferry into the city to work rather than a bus.
Northcote Point is now a high priced residential area with stunning harbour views from many of the homes on the point, with the ferry continuing to provide a direct link to the city.
Northcote Tavern is a destination of choice for many Aucklanders wanting a relaxing Sunday afternoon or a pint after work. Bridgeway Movie Theatre is also a destination of choice for many theatre goers.
My boyfriend Tom taught me to drive during the flatting days. There were only manual cars and bunny hopping down the road was part of the experience much to my (and his) embarrassment. Eventually the skills were mastered, and a driver’s license was obtained.
Tom and I married while living at Northcote Point and Teresa was born while we were living at the flat. When labour was progressing it required a short walk up the road to a phone box to ring the hospital to let them know I was coming (no cell phones in those days and I didn't have a landline).
We were resilient in those days – we had to be to survive. There were no parents getting us from A to B. If we wanted to go somewhere, we figured it out for ourselves. Growing up in a large family you had to find your own place in the pecking order, and this was not always easy with five older brothers - I had learnt to be resilient. When you left the family home to go flatting there was no changing your mind, and no-one to dig you out of a financial hole if you fell into debt. I think however that this has been good preparation for what was to follow.
- Chapter 6 -
Early Work Life
Kids growing up in those times always worked as soon as they turned 15 and while at school. My earliest job was at a dairy next to Martin's corner store in Nile Road, Forrest Hill – a bike ride away from home. That came to a sticky end when paid in sweets and not money because legally, I was too young to work.
Delivering newspapers – probably an early version of the North Shore Times Advertiser – paid for fabric for sewing bought from the home delivery truck. Today trucks going from door to door selling merchandise are frowned upon and seen as exploiting families by offering credit. We saw them as an opportunity to access a range of products which we couldn't otherwise access. Fabrics and textures were there in the truck to explore, and reels of fabric and spools of cotton were purchased to turn into fashionable creations.
My first 'real' after school job was working for Kedgleys’ Drapery in Lake Road, Takapuna. Kedgleys was a family owned general store – everything from sylko cotton and fabric to swimsuits, underwear, nightware, stockings (all young ladies wore stockings to cover their legs in those days). Working at Kedgleys was fun – such kind people – but retail was not my calling and an office job was in sight after leaving school.
I applied for, and was offered a choice of two office jobs. The Auckland Chamber of Commerce in Courthouse Lane, Auckland City was more appealing than what I saw at the time as a dull job in a lawyer’s office (lawyers' offices in those days were very drab and austere). Who knows where a job in a law practice could have led given a later interest in law.
The job at the Chamber of Commerce involved doing basic office administration work and typing on an old Olivetti or Remington typewriter. It was an interesting enough job in a small office working alongside Jill Bosley who was a great mentor and supporter.
The Chamber of Commerce was near Chancery Lane, High Street, and Vulcan Lane. This was in the trendy part of Auckland and it was exciting working in the inner-city and being right in the midst of the action, with the central library, the university and the art centre also not too far away.
I earned just enough, with careful budgeting, to search for the best fabrics with which to make elegant and stylish clothes. These were complemented by a very stylish winter coat and Lucca Lamb hat with David Elman shoes purchased from their high class store in Vulcan Lane. A lifelong interest in fashion was evident at this early stage in my career.
There were no computers, no printers, no photocopiers, no tablets, no internet, and no cell phones in the 1960s. For multiple copies of a document we had to type onto waxed paper to go through a gestetner to print (with a handle to painstakingly churn out copies). If you made a mistake you used pink correcting fluid and re-typed over it. Those were very different days to the high-tech world we now live in. If a page got too messy you had no choice but to start typing the whole document (or page) again.
While the place and the work were memorable there were also influential people. An older man (he seemed ancient at the time) insisted on washing dishes in a strict order – glasses, cutlery, plates, pots and pans. To this day the dish washing order has never changed from what I learnt at aged 17.
The Auckland Chamber of Commerce was a great start for a young person to the disciplines of a working life, but then all too soon came time to start a family.
- Chapter 7 -
Raising a Family
New Zealand in the late 1960s and 1970s was a very different place than today. The Auckland population was just over 500,000. When a house on Milford Beach sold for $100,000, thousands of people came to stare at such opulance. Auckland Mayor, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson, proposed light rail from the CBD to the Airport which decision-makers thought completely potty. We paid a 50c toll to go over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Women wore hats to town. Men wore mid-thigh length walk shorts, collar and tie and sports jacket – no one laughed. Flared jeans came into fashion. Mini-skirts were in. House of Flackson in Karangahape 'K' Road was the place to go for fashionable clothes in Auckland (House of Flackson also came to Glenfield Mall when it opened in 1971). We had a choice of TV1 and TV2. Coronation Street arrived in NZ. Petrol was 10c per litre and postage stamps cost 5c.
Cars were imported from the UK and Australia – Austins, Hillmans, Fords and Holdens. Japanese imports were snubbed as being inferior. European cars had not arrived in NZ. On a rare occasion we would see a Buick or Cadillac imported from the USA.
When travelling overseas an application for funds had to be made to the bank at least four weeks in advance of travel, explaining the reason for travel and how much funds were requested. It was a nervous wait to see if the funds would be approved or not.
In those days it was expected that people would marry young (if you were still single in your early twenties you had missed the bus!). True to form in early 1966 at 19 years of age Tom and I married, and a family soon followed. Teresa was born on 9 October 1966, followed by Joanne on 28 October 1968 and Kerry on 28 June 1971.
After Teresa was born we moved to a rental property in Archers Road, Glenfield (just up from our family home), as the cold, dark basement flat at Northcote Point was not suitable for a new baby.
In 1968 we purchased our own home at 28 Camelot Place, Glenfield, and moved in when Joanne was just two weeks old. Camelot Place was your typical quarter acre section with a modest single level, 120 square metre, 3-bedroom dwelling. It was part of a much larger development aimed at first-home buyers.
We bought a house and land package for the sum of $14,000. The deposit included cashing in future child support payments – paid by the government to the mother for each child born (to avoid money being squandered by men!).
We chose a right-of-way section because it was cheaper than a front section. Owning your own home was a birth right in those days, and within reach of all young families.
Glenfield Mall had not been developed at that time and the suburb was full of young couples with children just like our own. It was a great place to raise a family, with the kindergarten at the top of the road, Glenfield Primary School just through a fence out the back, Glenfield Intermediate a short-cut through the Primary School to Chivalry Road, and Glenfield College up past where the mall was eventually built.
There was no insulation in our brand-new home. For at least half the year the windows were wiped down daily with towels to remove the condensation and became wringing wet. Ceilings were mouldy – it was a constant battle to keep the mould under control.
There was no concept of damp homes in those days but looking back it is not hard to see why son Kerry suffered from Bronchitis throughout his childhood – cold, damp homes are certainly not conducive to good health.
The clothesline was a wire between two poles (circular clothes lines came later). Shortly after arriving home from hospital with Joanne, and with the clothesline full of nappies (only cloth nappies were available in those days), the poles collapsed leaving the nappies in a big muddy heap on the ground. The section hadn’t been developed into lawn and was in its raw state. Things were not easy, but you just had to pick yourself up and move on.
Maintaining a quarter acre section was a challenge. As the kids grew older they pitched in to maintain the boundary gardens and also helped with mowing the lawn. The large back section sloped down and was perfect for creating a water slide. Neighbours children came over and the kids played for hours on the slide during summer – the lawn would be in a mess and take time to recover but they were good times.
Tom worked for the Post & Telegraph Department when we got married but then became a fisherman. He would go off for 2-3 days to the Firth of Thames or beyond to get a catch of flounder or snapper, or fish around the Manukau Heads.
Sometimes when he got home there would be a shark sitting on the back seat of his car. Nets would be strung out across the section to be dried out and repaired. Learning to gut, skin and filet fish was par for the course for me as was mending a fishing net.
As was common in those times, the children’s clothes were home-made – right down to their underpants and pyjamas. All their knitting and crocheting was also home-made. The girls were always dressed up in pretty dresses – usually matching. They always went out looking immaculate!
There was not a bought biscuit or cake in sight as the kids were growing up – all home baked and the tins always full. After school there was often freshly cooked scones or pikelets waiting, and hot chocolate during winter months. Eventually Kerry and Joanne also learned to make pikelets and scones.
We had great neighbours including Jean and Ivor Clarkson, Maureen and Jim McQuillan and Selwyn and Sheila Johnstone. There were many happy times within the neighbourhood, including shared Christmas celebrations, and a great sense of community spirit.
The children thrived in that environment and did all the usual sports such as athletics, gymnastics, marching, netball, hockey, rugby league and rugby. It was a very busy and active household.
I was a stay-at-home Mum while the children were young and supplemented our income by sewing toilet bags and other items which was a necessary evil as money was always tight (income from fishing was unpredictable and money sometimes spent on things other than family). I also did other jobs such as a census enumerator, trawling around the neighbourhood giving out and collecting census papers, usually with family in tow, just to be able to make ends meet.
When the weather was not so good, the kids played huts endlessly – sheets over the dining room table, cushions, pillows, and their favourite games. We made playdough (flour, salt and food colouring) and had a dress-up box which kept them entertained for hours.
Bedtime was special. Bored with reading books, I invented a character named Pinky the Elephant and created stories around day to day events. If one of the kids was going to the dentist a story would be invented around Pinky going to the dentist to make the visit less scary. The kids loved it and I loved inventing stories they could relate to.
Every Saturday during winter we would walk the three kilometre route down to the Netball courts, playing “I Spy” on the way to make the journey more enjoyable. Joanne started umpiring netball and both Teresa and Joanne played netball for a time. Kerry used to sit on the side-line watching me umpiring and once picked up a stepping I missed – a small voice on the side-line saying ‘stepping’ and he was right. He would have been about eight at the time.
Money was always tight during this period. There were times when we went for a walk to get out of the house, littlest kids in the pushchair, and not even enough money for an ice-block and as a Mum it was my job to put on a happy face, play games and pretend all was well.
The only game of basketball I ever played resulted in torn ankle ligaments. Following that accident, and with no other choice, it was a matter of hobbling painfully up the road, children in tow, onto a bus to the nearest supermarket in Birkenhead and then a very painful journey home.
Our Christmas tree was a tiny Norfolk Pine in a bucket that we decorated (cheaper than a tree each year). Each year it would grow a bit more until it got too big for the house and we planted it outside. Eventually it got too big for the section, but we left that for the next owners to resolve.
Christmas was always a happy time and there was never any shortage of gifts. Even on a tight budget there would be plenty to go around and good food on Christmas day including my Grandmother’s recipe for a traditional Christmas pudding in a cloth.
Unfortunately, our marriage broke up when Teresa was 13 years old and I was left to bring the kids up on my own. It was hard work and all I can say is that I did my best under the circumstances, but it was not easy and the kids deserved better in their young lives.
There are things I regret during the time when I was a single parent bringing up the three children, when I should have put their needs before my own:
- After we separated their father agreed to look after them while I was at netball on Saturdays. Unfortunately, they were either left at the movies (to watch the same movie week after week) while he went to the pub or they were left in the car outside Northcote Tavern for hours on end.
- I attended Netball meetings when Teresa was old enough to babysit, but she had little control over the other two. One night I got a call to say the goldfish tank was broken and Teresa was using the vacuum cleaner to suck up the water; another time I arrived home to learn that the two girls had convinced Kerry that he was adopted!
- The kids went to family and friends while I was on netball trips when they would have preferred to have been home with their mother.
- I went on a trip to Hawaii and Los Angeles with Don, Teresa, Grant and Brent (Don’s two sons) but Joanne and Kerry were left at home (Teresa was able to save for her trip but Joanne and Kerry didn’t travel for financial reasons).
Throughout the time at Camelot Place, as a single parent, we were living on the breadline and using “jam jar accounting” to make sure there was enough money for the egg man, the bread man and the milkman. Sometimes there was so little money for food that small quantities of flour were bought to make sausages in batter or even sliced luncheon sausage in batter, just to fill the hungry tummies.
We had a battered old car. Teresa recalls being mortified because we had the only car on the road with a little wing that popped out to signal a turn (supported by arm and hand signals), and not indicators as modern cars had. We always went out hoping we would make it back!
Our Friday night special wasn't fish and chips (which we couldn't afford) – it was a French roll with ham and cheese followed by ice cream and boysenberries. We actually really looked forward to it and the kids didn't miss what they never had.
There were also good times, with many a day spent at the Point Erin Pools or Milford Beach sometimes with Tom’s sister Rosie (while Tom and I were together) and family or friend Linda Jones and family, driving in the battered old car. Time spent on walks through Le Roys Bush, Birkenhead, listening to the birds and connecting with nature was a popular family activity.
In their early teens the girls had paper runs and we pooled the money to enable us to have family holidays at Kerikeri and Rotorua – staying at Youth Hostels because that was all we could afford. We used to head off from home each morning in the pitch black during winter and the kids would split off into their paper runs, and I would go for a run and then meet up with them back home.
Teresa said that when she was a child, she just wanted a 'normal' mother who stayed home to knit and cook – I did all of that when they were much younger.
However, I was not your average mum, focusing solely on family growing up. I always had something on the go – running, netball umpiring, netball or marching administration, study and a million other things.
Tom and Fay's wedding, March 1966.
Tom and Fay, 1966.
Teresa as a cute baby around six months old.
Teresa with Santa, Christmas 1966.
Teresa on her bike, around 1970.
Teresa in a school photo, around 1972.
Kerry on his bike, 1972.
Kerry with Rugby League Trophy, 1977.
Kerry's school photo, 1977.
Teresa with Santa, not too happy about it!
A day at Pt Erin Pools with Joanne, Teresa and Kerry.
Joanne, Teresa and Kerry in front of the old car.
Teresa, Kerry and Joanne with Santa.
Teresa, Joanne and Kerry at Milford Beach.
- Chapter 8 -
Grown ups and Grandchildren
Eventually the children left home and created independent lives of their own. Both Teresa and Kerry produced grandchildren. Thus began a new chapter with grandchildren enriching our lives and hopefully being able to have a positive influence on their futures.
When she left school Teresa worked for Oceanbridge Shipping before leaving on overseas trips, living for periods of time in Sydney, Australia and in London. In Kensal Rise, London she had a bedroom that was as small as a broom cupboard, and she bedshared with a flatmate who worked at nights. The bed was never cold!
I was fortunate enough to go and stay with Teresa at her flat in Kensal Rise (and we revisited the flat in 2019 while in London together). During my stay we did numerous trips around London taking many photos to record the occasion (no digital cameras in those days). We dropped the negatives off to get printed at an underground station, and then couldn't recall which station. It took us almost a whole day to retrace our steps and remember where they were. We also had an adventurous weekend in Paris. In Galleries Lafayette I dropped a piece of jewellery which broke. We feared the store announcements being made in French were directed at us and hid amongst the aisles until we could make our escape.
After returning from London to New Zealand, Teresa reunited with her boyfriend Geoff Grey. They never married but had two beautiful girls. Gemma-Lee was born on 16 April 1993, and Natalie was born on 14 October 1995.
Teresa trained as a beauty therapist after Gemma-Lee was born and has worked in home care and in beauty therapy clinics specialising in wax services. She lived in Australia for many years with the girls and in 2020 moved to live at Red Beach, north of Auckland.
Geoff lives in Townsville, but prior to that lived in Nerang on the Gold Coast. Gemma-Lee went to live with him when she was nine years old, and Teresa and Natalie followed the next year. They all stayed on the Gold Coast for about nine years before coming back to Auckland.
Kerry worked for Hillcrest Agencies Limited for many years and was able to buy his own home when he was just 28. Kerry and Kylie met at a pub and it seems it was love at first sight. They got married at Alberton House on 6 March 2004. They also have two daughters. Jordan was born on 29 September 2005, and Ella was born on 6 August 2008. As an adult Kerry completed an Information Science and Technology degree with Distinction and works from home. Kylie has a home based beauty therapy business.
Joanne was not a traveller but saved hard and purchased her own home when she was just 27 years old. She worked in finance for Armourguard for a long time. At aged 33 she contracted Bowel Cancer and was unable to have children due to the grueling 12 month long radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.
Joanne got a job with Radio Network when she recovered sufficiently, but 10 years later was made redundant after a merger, and in 2015 sold her Auckland home and moved to Tauranga where she is now a home care provider.
I am very proud of all of them. They have all carved out an independent life for themselves despite the setbacks and challenges from their life growing up at Camelot Place and Eban Avenue. We remain close with regular visits and communication.
When granddaughter Gemma-Lee came back from living in Australia she stayed with Joanne for a while and then needed a home in Takapuna to fit with her work and studies. She stayed with me at The Mon for around seven years which was a great opportunity to connect and for me to learn to be tolerant.
Gemma-Lee worked in production for fashion designer Karen Walker, has a Certificate in Make-up Artistry and a Diploma in Arts from Hungry Creek Arts School. In 2019, she began a career with Flight Centre, only to lose this opportunity in 2020 when COVID-19 struck. Gemma’s first post-COVID-19 job was with Rodney Wayne hairstylist in Glenfield. Gemma-Lee is a highly skilled artist whose work you will see in chapter 25. In 2021 she began studies to complete a Bachelor of Naturopathic & Herbal Medicine.
Natalie worked for Whitcoulls for a number of years and then settled into a role at the Orewa Medical Centre while also developing her artistic talents. She has built a great following on social media with her Georgie Bouy brand (after studying interior design). When COVID-19 struck and her hours at the medical centre were reduced she started making face masks and sold them all over the world including throughout Australia, London and New York as well as within New Zealand.
Jordan’s creative flair in the kitchen is extraordinary and she will have a great future in the creative industry while Ella is a real all-rounder who is destined for a great career, possibly in design engineering or some other similar discipline. She has represented North Harbour Softball with distinction in their age group representative teams, and also loves netball and dancing.
As I reflect on the past, and look forward to a positive and healthy future I realise that perhaps I am heading (at aged 75) kicking and struggling into old age (with strong resistance to the notion)!
When I am an Old Woman
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week.
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.
Teresa and Geoff with Gemma-Lee, 1993.
Gemma-Lee, Teresa and Natalie, around 1997.
Gemma-Lee in Queenstown, 2018.
Natalie on the Gold Coast, 2016.
Gemma-Lee on the ski slopes of Snow Planet, 2016.
Joanne, aged 19.
Fay and Joanne at Tauranga Races 2019
Joanne in Queenstown for her 50th birthday.
Joanne and Fay enjoying the sun in 2018.
Joanne and me in Queenstown, 2018.
Teresa, Natalie and Gemma-Lee with Ollie on Orewa Beach, 2020.
Don, Kylie, Kerry and Fay – Wedding at Alberton House, 2004.
Mum, Kylie and sister Margaret – Wedding at Alberton House, 2004.
Fay and Jordan in Whangamata, 2019.
Ella and Jordan with Santa, around 2014.
Ella in playful mood, around 2017.
Auckland Zoo with Samantha, Jordan and Nicole.
A very proud day when Kerry was capped
Price family portrait taken in 1987.
Above: Jordan's baking for her Grandmother Jenny Twiname's funeral 2020 (aged 13). Below: Jordan's multi-layered Christmas dessert 2018 (aged 12).
- Chapter 9 -
Second Chance Hotel - Freeman family
In 1980 a chance meeting at Auckland Airport ultimately led to a second marriage. Don had just arrived back from Wellington where he attended a Softball NZ meeting, and I was returning from Christchurch after umpiring at a NZ Netball Tournament – luckily the bags took ages to get from the plane to the terminal in those days as we met at the carousel.
At that point I had been on my own for about three years and had not considered a new relationship. We did not exchange names, but I did tell Don I was working at North Harbour Netball, and he contacted me the next day and the rest as they say is history.
Our first date was at the Mon Desir Hotel (where we moved to live in 1996 when apartments were built in place of the hotel). The first people we saw when we entered the hotel was Don’s sister Diane and her husband Ron Ripley. Diane was known to me through a mutual friend, Linda Jones. Linda had been trying unsuccessfully for ages to get me to go on a blind date with Don, so imagine Diane's surprise to see us together.
In 1981 our family moved to Eban Avenue to join Don, Brent and Grant. This must have been hugely distressing for all the children, but my children certainly had more chance of being well-fed in that environment, after barely having enough money to rub two coins together while at Camelot Place in those later years. All the children got on well most of the time. They all had a passion for playing softball so shared a number of friends.
With Don and I and the five children living at Eban Avenue we felt like the Brady Bunch and it was 'full house' for many years until slowly, one by one, they left home. Each of them returned from time to time, and then eventually we were empty nesters.
When I met Don he was working for the UBD group of companies with his father Jim and brother Bruce. In 1983, before we married, Don established a promotional products business, which he named Hillcrest Promotions Limited (his first home after marrying was in Hillcrest Avenue, Northcote). This business was very successful for many years with over 1 million Bic Ball Point Pens sold each year along with numerous promotional and clothing products.
Don was known as the 'godfather' of the promotional products industry because of the 35 years he spent in the business and his huge product and business knowledge. The business took him on annual buying trips to mainly Asian countries, but also to the USA and Germany for conferences and sales conventions. Don was gregarious by nature and a great negotiator and salesman.
Don's ancestors came from Germany between 1862-1864. As far as we know they changed their name from Neugeschwender to Freeman either before or when they arrived in New Zealand. They were aware of the anti-German feelings after World War I and the story goes that the family agreed to Freeman to reflect their new found freedom (free man). The name was officially changed by Deed Poll in 1919.
Don's family was actively involved with rugby and National party politics. In 1977 his father Charles James (Jim) Freeman received a Queen Silver Jubilee Medal from the Governor General Sir Denis Blundell. In 1984 Jim Freeman was awarded a CMG Queen's honour - Companion of the Order of St Michael and St John - for public and community service. This is an honour just below Knighthood.
Jim was very involved in rugby at all levels and a Life Member of both the Auckland Rugby Referees and NZ Rugby Referees Associations. Jim was also a Life Member of both the Printing Industries Federation of Auckland and New Zealand. He joined the board of Radio New Zealand in 1976 and the Broadcasting Corporation in 1977 and was responsible, with Ron Jarden, for restructing and changing financial policy which returned the Corporation to profitability. Jim was also Rob Muldoon's campaign manager in the Tamaki Electorate and a very astute and well connected businessman.
Don was an active rugby referee - he refereed a rugby game in Fiji and also controlled a match on Eden Park - before he took on the responsibility of raising his two sons after the breakdown of his marriage. The family had season tickets at Eden Park and were loyal supporters of the Auckland team. We were present when Eden Park got bombed during the South African tour and ran the gauntlet of protesters outside the park.
I knew little about rugby in those days and less about apartheid believing at that time that politics and sport didn't mix. Thankfully we all learn from our naivety and ignorance.
Don’s family – older sister Margaret, brother Bruce and sister Diane (and their respective husbands/partners and families) were a great support to us and have become life-long friends. Don’s Mother and Father – Win and Jim Freeman – were also great friends and supporters throughout our marriage.
When we married on 16 December 1983, two stepsons and ultimately a new daughter in law and three additional grandchildren were added to the family bubble. Grant and Lorraine produced James who was born on 11 September 1999 and twins Samantha and Nicole who were born on 14 October 2007. James has a career in banking and Samantha and Nicole are working their way through school to develop their own skills and talents. With their love of animals it would be no surprise to see them working in this area in future. While Nicole aspires to be an actress, Samantha has expressed interest in beauty therapy.
While at Eban Avenue all three of my children – Teresa, Joanne and Kerry – got their driving licences. Shortly after Teresa got her license, she borrowed the car and, while looking for the right gear to change into, ran into a trailer that had bags of cement on it (no automatic cars in those days).
Joanne and I went for driving lessons – how easy can it be? After almost missing a ditch out in rural Greenhithe, I panicked at an intersection and Joanne put her foot on the accelerator and went straight down a bank and ended up resting against a tree and fence. Don was not impressed when we phoned him looking for a tow!
Kerry got taught to drive by a professional driving company but still had an accident, running into a fence in Long Bay. His mate was on crutches after getting permanent injuries jumping off Lion Rock, Piha, and the crutch got caught under the brake. I arrived to the rescue to find the mate with a mohawk haircut and Kerry looking somewhat sheepish but largely uninjured (the fence didn’t fare so well).
While at Eban Avenue computers were introduced to NZ. Learning to use a computer was a struggle. It was always the computer’s fault when things went wrong, but it was an essential work requirement. It also meant that instead of re-typing a university assignment up to seven times, the cut and paste and correction features could minimise the time needed. Still no tablets or cell phones in those days, and the hard drive was not part of the computer, but a separate rather bulky box.
Don and I were a great match. We were both passionate about sport and able to support each other as well as understand that sometimes our sport just had to come first! We were great mates, loved to holiday together, loved to go out to dinner, loved having family around and to just hang out at home.
It was also a time for both of us to dabble in the property market. We both bought a rental property at a renovated motel in Princes Street, Northcote Point (sold when we moved to the Mon). I owned a property at Birkenhead which was sold in 2018, and also a property at Stanley Road, Milford, purchased around 1999, and sold in 2015.
Don sold Hillcrest Promotions Limited around 2003 when, due to his failing health, he was unable to continue to manage the business and compete successfully in an increasingly complex market. Unfortunately, Don died on 28 March 2006 aged 66 after being diagnosed, some seven years prior, with Melanoma. His ashes are scattered at Rosedale Park and on Takapuna Beach, in accordance with his wishes.
Don's funeral was a celebration of a life well led. We thought about 100 people would attend but there was at least three times that many from rugby, softball, promotional products industry, family and friends. Don's wish was to adjourn to the softball clubrooms at Rosedale Park, Albany, after the service with $1,000 on the bar and it was an important time to reminisce and share stories.
Don left a legacy through his involvement with the promotional products industry and through the many roles he filled with Softball. He was a Life Member of both Softball NZ and North Harbour Softball. He managed the 1984 Black Sox when they won a world title in Midland, Michigan, and managed the NZ Women’s Softball team on a tour to Tasmania. Don was Chairman and then President of North Harbour Softball, was a founding member of the Rosedale Park Sports Trust, and was on the Board of Softball NZ.
RIP Don Freeman.
Don and Fay on their wedding day 16 December 1983
Freeman clan at Don and Fay's wedding. Jim, Win, Don, Fay, Margaret, Diane and Bruce.
Kerry, Joanne and Teresa at Don and Fay's wedding.
The Brady bunch - Rear: Brent, Don, Teresa, Grant. Front: Joanne, Fay and Kerry 1987
Grant and Lorraine with Samantha, Nicole and James.
James aged around 6 years.
James and Grant at my 70th birthday celebration at Snow Planet.
James in his softball days.
- Chapter 10 -
Life at the Mon
Buying an apartment was a bold move in 1994 as New Zealand had not embraced apartment living, still preferring a single level home on a large section. There was a multi-level building in Milford and one in Stanley Point, Devonport, but no other multi-story apartment complexes around us at that time.
We purchased our Mon Desir apartment unconditionally off the plans after a visit to the site office one Saturday morning. We then had a few sleepless nights as we scrambled to sell other properties to enable us to progress the sale. We sold our home at 123 Eban Avenue and moved in with Don’s Mother at 99 Aberdeen Road, Campbells Bay, and lived there for over 12 months while the development was taking place.
The land at the Mon Desir site was part of a large block originally purchased by the British Crown from a number of Maori tribes, Hapus and individuals by Captain Hobson on 13 April 1841. The beach was originally called Waiwharariki (the water of the common flax).
The grove of magnificent Pohutakawa trees on the cliff was known as the Urutapu (the Sacred Grove), and was greatly revered. All wayfarers paid tributes by placing a sprig of fern or manuka at the foot of a tree as they passed. Allotment surveys of Takapuna were completed by 1843 when the site was part of the holding of all the land east of Lake Road and which itself was part of the one hundred of Pupuke (abolished in 1855) and the Maori Chief Patuone was donated this land by Governor Grey.
The site was then purchased by Danish immigrant Paul Hansen who founded the first Auckland tramway. He named it Mon Desir and built his home on the site in 1890. The Lake Hotel, overlooking Lake Pupuke, was destroyed by fire in 1909 and its license was transferred to the Mon Desir which was then upgraded to a tourist lodge. Trippers visting Takapuna and the Lake via the ferry service from the beach used the Mon Desir as a base.
The old Victorian house was demolished in 1963 and the new motor hotel opened in 1965. This was in turn demolished in 1995 and the present apartments built in its place. This caused consternation for many who wanted the hotel to remain on the site (to this day I hear people talk about the tragedy of losing the hotel on the site).
In its day the old Mon Desir Hotel was a place to be and be seen. Those born in the late 1950's and 1960's will remember it for its wild reputation and party central status. It was a place of liberation and excess. Getting thrown into the pool after drinking (too much) at this spectacular beachfront location was a rite of passage for many.
David Bowie famously stayed for four days of debauchery when he toured in 1978, with his room flanked on all sides with bodyguards (with rumours that some girls got through the cordon).
When plans were being finalised in 1994 to demolish the hotel and beachfront apartments, Kiwi band Hello Sailor played a gig at the Mon, with fans singing along to hits such as Blue Lady and Gutter Black.
Before closing the doors for the last time NZ's best musicians of the time played out a rowdy concert. Midge Marsden, the Al Grant Band, the Rockafellas, Dave Dobbyn and The Exponents helped Takapuna farewell its beloved Mon.
The Mon Desir complex has five apartment buildings with 150 individual apartments. The development is ahead of the game in location and design, with beautiful grounds, mature trees and direct beach access – resort living at its best. Buying at the Mon proved to be an inspired move as Don and I settled into the empty nest phase of our relationship.
We moved into the Mon on 1 May 1996 and Don soon got involved with Mon Desir Management Limited (MDML), the company responsible for overall management of the pool, gardens and grounds and employment of the complex manager. In 2004 there was an opportunity for me to become involved with the MDML Board and my appointment as Chairman of Directors followed in 2006. In 2019 - after 13 years of service - I stepped aside from this role to pursue other activities.
We dealt with some very big issues during my time as Chairman. We clad four of the five buildings at a cost of around $5 million with 100% support from residents, no legal claims’ costs and with generous assistance from the property developer, Manson Development. It was a pleasure to work with building managers Catherine and Peter Levert in the last two years of my tenure as Chairman of MDML.
In the years after Don died three flatmates lived with me at the Mon at different times. Glen lived in Palmerston North with his family but worked in Auckland and stayed for about a year. Rob also stayed for about a year. He had come back from working in Europe, loved to play golf and womanise (not with me) and was looking for a place to stay while he decided where he wanted to buy. Mike was an older guy who lost his wife to cancer and bought up his sons on his own from a young age. Some bad decisions and a relationship gone sour had left him without a home, and he stayed for a couple of years.
Our grandchildren all have a strong connection with the apartment at the Mon Desir. Gemma-Lee was just three years old when we moved to our apartment at the Mon Desir complex and Natalie was still an infant.
Both Gemma-Lee and Natalie spent a lot of time at the Mon while Teresa worked or lived nearby. They had no hesitation in saying ‘Nan it is time to go and buy our summer (or winter) wardrobe’ and off we would go to Westfield Takapuna (Shore City) and into Farmers Trading Company. Then numerous photos would be taken out on the deck in the different outfits.
They learnt to swim at the swimming pool at the Mon and a swim ring purchased in around 1998 is still inflated to this day. We spent many hours at the beach collecting shells and playing in the rock pools looking for crabs. Don's grandson, James, also spent many happy hours with us at the Mon
When the grandchildren arrived for a visit we would always greet them with "batten down the hatches – the kids are here" and in would come their smiling, happy faces. We would always look forward to the fun times that followed.
What a privilege to continue the close bond with all the grandchildren and step-grandchildren built up during their childhood and to share so much time with them at the Mon.
Don was a great role model for all the children and the grandchildren (he died when Jordan, Nicole and Samantha were 6 months old). His only regret was not being alive to see them all grow into adults.
The Mon has served us well. The children and grandchildren enjoy coming around and using the swimming pool, the beach is handy for a walk, and there are restaurants and cafes on the doorstep. It is a short walk to the shopping mall, supermarket, dentist, doctor, physiotherapist, hairdresser, bowling club and to the Sunday markets for fresh produce.
Since 2015, the whole of my apartment has been refurbished. This includes the kitchen, two bathrooms, lighting, painting, carpets and furniture. The Mon is not only a home but also an office and with its beautiful views out to Rangitoto Island is the perfect property in which to live and work.
Gemma-Lee and Natalie after a shopping trip for summer clothes while at the Mon.
Jordan loved the pool at the Mon – aged around two.
Sculpture donated to the Mon – Jin Ling, NZ Artist.
Life at the Mon – Natalie and Gemma-Lee after a winter shopping trip.
This old sign was erected in 1989 and is now displayed in the grounds of the Mon Desir apartment complex.
This old sign was erected in 1965 when the new hotel was built and is now displayed in the grounds of the Mon Desir apartment complex.
- Chapter 11 -
Back to School - University Study
An interest in going to University while the children were growing up seemed an impossible dream – little or no money and just scraping by on the breadline. After meeting Don and getting life sorted with a job at Takapuna City Council (Chapter 13) the thought of University surfaced again.
I enrolled in an entry level introductory course at Auckland University which covered several topics – a test to see if one was capable of university level study. Surprisingly, the course went well and provided the impetus needed to enrol with Massey University which provided a distance learning option.
There was insufficient time in my life to attend lectures, have a family and work, and a course of study using a mix of paper-based, library research and on-line resources proved perfect for the time.
The arrival of a study book in the mail was a cause of much excitement as this presented an opportunity to learn and grow. All the information would be soaked up like a sponge as my knowledge and confidence grew as study progressed.
In 1987 work in the field of community development, steered enrolment in two papers at Massey University - Introduction to Sociology and NZ Society papers. Passing both papers with a C+ was devastating due to my much higher expectation (probably unrealistic).
Continuing to study while working full-time (and being a wife and mother and sporty person) finally resulted in graduating in 1999 from Massey University (12 years later) with a Bachelor of Business Studies with a B+ average.
It was a proud day for my mother, Don, and family, as the parade moved down the main road of Takapuna and they attended the graduation ceremony at the Bruce Mason Theatre.
Studies at Massey University continued, along with full-time work, with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration in Dispute Resolution awarded in 2000, and a Master of Management in Dispute Resolution awarded in 2008.
The Masters Degree study involved attending block courses at the Massey University's Palmerston North campus and working directly with other students, which was very stimulating. My research topic was a comparative study of sport dispute resolution processes in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. This provided good insights into the different approaches taken to disputes that arise – often about athlete selection and allegations of drug doping.
Study created a framework for developing existing knowledge and the confidence to apply that knowledge in different ways. Using the language of accounting when communicating with accountants at work, the language of research, economics and statistics when communicating with senior management colleagues, and applying management principles and good practice in my paid and voluntary work.
The learnings provided a good grounding in marketing principles, employment law, constitutional law, mediation, problem solving and policy development, which have been applied throughout my career.
A Masters’ degree is respected and gives a person some cache to charge professional rates for work completed.
While university study might not suit everyone, it gave me a well rounded education and the confidence to compete as an independent contractor in my later career.
Capping Day, 1999.
Fay and Mum at capping day, 1999.
Master of Management, achieved in 2008.
Bachelor of Business Studies, achieved in 1999.
Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration, achieved in 2001.
- Chapter 12 -
As the children grew, and as a single parent, there was a need to earn money to contribute to the household income in order to meet mortgage costs, feed the family, meet school costs, and all the many other costs of running a household.
The first job after having a family was as office administrator at North Harbour Netball. North Harbour was the first netball association in New Zealand to have a paid staff member (even the Netball NZ office at that time was run by volunteers). This was a sole charge position with wide-ranging responsibilities and an opportunity to learn a huge amount about sport administration.
Netball was a high-stress job at times, and I used to jokingly say that if only no-one turned up to play netball it would be manageable. A big shout out to mentor Margaret Gibson who was a wonderful role model in every sense of the word, and President of North Harbour Netball at the time I started working in the office.
This role created opportunities to attend national netball conferences and to become proficient in understanding constitutions, by-laws and policies and in public speaking when representing the netball association in national forums. These learnings have laid the foundations for future roles in life.
In the beginning I had to write down every word to be spoken and read it when delivering speeches at national conferences. It took a long-time to be able to think and speak at the same time. Over time I became proficient at public speaking which has been a benefit in so many ways.
The children were able to come to work with me during school holidays and had the netball hall in which to run around. On one memorable occasion Kerry lost control of his skateboard which zoomed past then President, Shirley Peacock, as she came through the door. She was a single woman who didn't particularly like children so was not amused.
As the financial situation got desperate I was forced to look for full-time work. The first full-time role after having the children and being a single parent was with Anchor Farm Products. I joined the company in 1982 as Secretary to the Marketing Manager. In May 1983 I was appointed as Management Secretary to the Chief Executive Officer.
One thing this experience taught me was to work with 'products' that you are passionate about. While the work at Anchor Farm Products was rewarding and challenging, I had little or no interest in cheese, butter or yoghurt and the assorted range of products that the company produced.
- Chapter 13 -
Local Government Career
In 1983 I joined the staff of Takapuna City Council as a community advisor. This would prove to be a life and career changing move which provided significant professional development opportunities and impacted the rest of my career choices and promotions.
After leaving North Harbour Netball (and while working with Anchor Farm Products), an approach was made from then Takapuna City Councillor, Barbara Durbin, to apply for a newly created community advisor role in Council. Barbara had met me several times on a professional basis, and for reasons unknown thought the role would suit my skill set.
The local community had lobbied for some time to get Council to create a community advisor role, but they had not anticipated that someone with a sport and recreation background would be appointed, having advocated for many years to establish such a role. To say they were alarmed and disappointed by my appointment is an understatement.
The community advisor role was the first ever of this nature by Takapuna City Council. Northcote Borough Council had a community advisor, and Auckland City Council had several community advisors and there were high expectations from the community that the person in that role would be a game changer.
The community went about 'training me' with Citizens Advice Bureau training providing good context for the work that was to come. I went in with an open mind and an open heart and over time earned the respect of the community development community including the senior leaders at that time - Joan Lardner-Nivlin, John Osborne, Linda Blincko, Glennys Adams and Elsie Tillett.
A publication entitled My Story Your Story Together Builds Communities contains information on the roles that myself and others had in shaping community development on the North Shore. This publication also records the early experience of my appointment to the role of community advisor (copies available at Takapuna Library).
Takapuna City Council was like one big family. Senior staff socialised at the homes of elected officials and vice-versa. The community advisor role sat within the Planning Department which provided access to discussions on planning for what was to become Albany Mall and the big box retail developments nearby. It was fascinating to see urban design planning unfold (on reflection that would potentially have been a good career choice).
There were committed Council members like Peggy Phillips, Genevieve Becroft QSM, Wyn Hoadley and Barbara Durbin who were hugely influential in the 1980's. David Hughes, as head of the Planning Department, deserves special mention for creating opportunities for me to grow and develop to be a better person.
The Council offices were right near Takapuna Beach and lunchtime was for running (showers in the basement). There was a group who met up and headed off to Milford Beach and back around the rocks each day, returning refreshed and ready to carry on working while eating lunch at our desks.
Fred Thomas was Mayor at the time and his daughters played Netball and he would be on the side-line of their games at Onewa Domain. Sometimes, after umpiring one of his daughter’s games at the weekend, there would be awkward moments at the photocopier when we accidentally met (the Mayor did his own photocopying), if he thought an infringement had been penalised incorrectly or unfairly (usually when they lost the game).
The only measure of success that Takapuna City Council had at this time was to have the lowest rates in New Zealand. This meant nearly everything you wanted to do was not possible. Planning for capital projects was pretty much on the back of an envelope and of course the Councillors ensured their favourite projects were included.
The opportunity to take a lead or be involved with several projects while a staff member at Takapuna City Council has provided significant benefits to the community:
- Foundation member of Rose Centre, Belmont.
- Foundation Trustee of North Shore Women's Refuge.
- Executive member of Te Hou Ora Trust in Glenfield supporting unemployed youth.
- Member of North Shore Council of Social Services (now Auckland North Community).
- Founding member of Takapuna Recycling Centre with factory offcuts assembled in one place for recycling by scouts, guides, schools, pre-school centres and art groups.
- The “Community Connections” monthly newsletter which is still in production.
This was a time of huge personal growth and broadened my understanding of the important role that community organisations play in supporting individuals within the community and the struggles organisations go through to get enough funding and other resources to deliver those services.
Managing all the housing for the elderly complexes, and dealing on a day-to-day basis with issues arising was challenging but rewarding. Getting to know the people was important and there were some inspirational people living in those complexes.
During the time at Takapuna City Council an opportunity arose to work with a prisoner studying sport and recreation at Paremoremo Maximum Security. The prisoner wanted to talk to someone who had experience in this field who could contribute to his learnings and inform his research project.
A visit to D Block at Paremoremo Prison was organised. It was unnerving to realise when walking along the corridors before arriving at D Block that the men lining the walls were criminals.
A corner cell in D Block was occupied by Alain Marfart who was convicted of the Rainbow Warrior murder. He stared out of his cell at this strange woman walking the corridor. That was unnerving but exhilarating at the same time.
A guard was present during the first interview with the prisoner I was assigned to work with. He was convicted on a charge of murder (the prisoner said he was present but didn't participate in the murder but was nevertheless found guilty). He had a strong curiosity and loved to talk and learn. At a second visit the guard suggested he didn't need to stay in the cell with me and the prisoner but this offer was quickly and politely declined.
North Shore City
In 1989 Takapuna City Council was merged into North Shore City Council, and the opportunity came to move into a management role. Appointment as Manager of Leisure Services followed, with responsibility for three swimming pools, four recreation centres, 20 community centres, 16 community halls and 458 rental units for the elderly.
Ted Melton, Geoff Chamberlain, Richard Hollier and I formed a formidable community services team and together we achieved so much more than we could have individually.
This was a complete culture change from Takapuna City Council where almost nothing was possible, to an environment where anything was possible. It took a while to make the shift in culture, but it was well rewarded.
The reforms moved us from back of the envelope planning to putting in place well structured strategic and annual plans and the process of consulting with the community began. These were transformative times. It was exciting to be part of creating history and the vision for a new city.
The first group of Councillors, following formation of North Shore City Council, under the leadership of Ann Hartley, left a huge foot-print with Bruce Mason Theatre, North Shore Events Centre, North Harbour Stadium and support for the first stage of the Millennium Institute (cinder track) being initiated during that first term in office, and I was fortunate to have been involved with all these projects at some stage or other.
Key responsibilities during time with North Shore City Council were:
- North Shore Leisure (a business unit of North Shore City Council) recognised as a leading NZ leisure unit, getting ISO accreditation, winning Recreation Aotearoa awards and earning a reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Glenfield Leisure Centre transitioning from private management to council management.
- North Shore Events Centre management structure, including personally managing the centre for the first year of its operation.
- Bruce Mason Centre (theatre and conference complex) planning and implementation.
- North Harbour Stadium (now QEB Stadium) in Albany appointment of the first Board of Directors.
- Takapuna Aquatic Centre incorporating a fitness gym, spa pools and sauna.
- East Coast Bays Leisure Centre, Osborne Pool and Beachhaven Squash and Tennis Centre management to increase utilisation
These were inspirational times as the North Shore Leisure team worked together to build a strong network of leisure facilities meeting the needs of the North Shore communities. There was a strong emphasis on marketing and programming and together we achieved extraordinary things with huge passion and commitment required to do so.
Gordon Soper, Takapuna Aquatic Centre Manager, said that before formation of North Shore Leisure, they used to open the doors to the swimming pool and hope people turned up. Now they had a range of programmes and offerings that were attractive to people and a captive audience for swimming lessons.
Jill Nerheny from the Kaipatiki Community Facilities Trust deserves a special mention for her work in the community - she strengthened our role in important areas of community development and leisure services and continues to have an impact to this day.
In 1996, Manukau City Council approached me to work for them as part of a restructure they were undertaking. I was duly appointed to a Library and Community Services role that involved managing 12 libraries. This evolved into leading some important projects within the regional libraries network such as collective buying of books and electronic resources.
During time spent at Manukau Libraries the culture was completely changed from a very conservative approach to a more enlightened approach. The suggestion of 7-day week library opening (already happening on the North Shore) had staff saying there was no demand and staff would not be willing to work. It worked and was very successful.
Staff were all so proud of this and other innovations at the time e.g. music CDs, etc. We also addressed the $1 million owing for fines and books not returned, and got stock moved from storage to the Libraries in double quick time.
Other responsibilities included managing the art centre network (Nathan Homestead, Otara Music and Arts Centre, Mangere Arts Centre, Te Tuhi in Pakuranga), community centres, Citizen Advice Bureau, housing for the elderly and community development functions.
Another significant role followed as manager of Manukau Leisure Services, with responsibility for 12 swimming pools and leisure centres, and the Manukau Memorial Gardens. Planning for future leisure facilities was all part of the role.
A lot of time was spent at Manukau Memorial Gardens, putting staff onto fair and reasonable contracts and creating a workforce that felt cared for. Their meeting room was down past the ovens and grinder and a macabre interest in the goings on was supported by many a story which cannot be repeated.
The role of a leader is many faceted. This includes inspiring other to achieve their very best. Always surrounding yourself with positive people so that together we are all achieving more. You never usually know the impact you have had on people, but the following email was very special:
Lesley kindly told me last week that you would be leaving in March, and I thought I would drop you a line to say thanks.
You came into my working life when my personal life was in tatters and my confidence was shattered. You helped tremendously with your belief in my ability to do my job, with your assistance whenever I asked, and your continual back up of staff whenever needed. This is a special gift and one which was greatly appreciated.
I do wish you all the best. I know I will miss the occasional contact which we sometimes have. Keep well and know that you did make a difference to me.
Manukau City had a strong leadership team, with Mayor Sir Barry Curtis, Chief Executive Colin Dale and Wayne Goodley, Community Services General Manager. Enduring friendships were formed at Manukau City, with regular and ongoing catchups with Robin McDowell, Stella Cattle and friend Margaret Simpson still going strong after 20 years.
A career in local government was never on the list but it provided professional and personal development opportunities that have stood me in good stead through the remainder of my career. There is good progression through the ranks for those with aptitude and no evidence of a glass ceiling for women. It is highly recommended for anyone seeking a fulfilling career.
 My Story Your Story Together Builds Communities, Auckland North Community Development, 2016
A fun award from North Shore Leisure staff after another successful year – thanks Gordon, Lisa, Bruce, Craig, Ulrich, Donald and all others for a wild ride, achieving plenty of success along the way with North Shore Leisure.
- Chapter 14 -
My involvement with national elections started in 2005 with appointment to the role of Regional Manager, Ministry of Justice, with responsibility for 12 Returning Officers covering the area from Northland through to Waitakere and the North Shore.
The role included travelling to Wellington every month as we worked through the logistics of an election, albeit with a very high level of expertise and experience from the Chief Electoral Officer and other senior staff.
This involved a lot of travel through the region, making sure that Returning Officers applied national policies, and that procedures and processes were tested, implemented and monitored to ensure smooth running electorates within the region. I was reappointed to the role of Regional Manager in 2008 and in 2011 was Operations Manager for the North Shore Electorate.
Election night was always an exciting time (almost a reward for all the hard work). Being right in the engine room getting election results hot off the press and before the public got to know. It was heady stuff, but you were still on tender hooks praying that none of your staff stuffed up and worrying things were going awry with the count if results were slow in coming in from any electorate.
Given the recent claims of election fraud in the USA it is interesting to reflect on the robustness of the New Zealand electoral system (which I am sure is also reflected in other jurisdictions). Every polling booth throughout New Zealand has books of voting papers and an electoral roll for every other electorate in the country. At the conclusion of the election all of those electoral role copies (with those who have voted crossed off) are returned to the relevant electorate.
Each electorate office creates a master copy of an electoral roll for that electorate that captures every vote cast. If someone has voted twice this will be identified within 3 days of election day, their voting papers will be pulled from the count and they will be declared invalid. It is simply not possible to vote twice, at least in New Zealand.
- Chapter 15 -
Freeman Associates Limited was formed in 2001 with myself as the sole director. The work is undertaken in partnership with a variety of associates depending on the job requirements. This may include planners, architects, engineers, accountants, research, web and other design specialists.
The senior management role at Manukau City was very demanding, with long hours, and in 2001 it was time for a change in pace. Feeling completely burnt out and needing some rest and recreation to recover, after a three-month break the phone started ringing and a consultancy practice was born.
Freeman Associates Limited specialises in strategic planning feasibility studies, sport facility planning, community consultation and research, mediation, facilitation and project planning. It is a real privilege to be able to work in an area that I am passionate about.
Since 2001, I have worked with many sports including Archery, Badminton, Basketball, BMX, Bowls, Cricket, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymsports, Hockey, Ice Sports, Martial Arts, Motocross, Netball, Rugby, Rugby League, Roller Sports, Snow Sports, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Tag, Table Tennis, Tennis, Triathlon, Waka Ama, Volleyball and Yachting.
There is always a mix of paid and unpaid work within sport. An opportunity arose in 2014 to be an (unpaid) member of the Board of Director for the World Veteran Table Tennis Championships in Auckland. I knew very little about table tennis. However previous experience as a Director of the 2007 World Netball Championships and the 2013 World Men’s Softball Championships provided a good base for good governance practices.
Freeman Associates Limited has been involved in sport facility projects in Auckland, Waitakere, Franklin, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Ruakaka, Wellington, Whangarei, Hawkes Bay and Palmerston North, sometimes working with local authorities and sometimes directly with sport. Two key projects were also completed for Sport NZ.
Numerous projects were completed in the Northland area including the following:
• Aquatic Strategy and Feasibility Studies for Kaikohe,
Kaitaia and Kerikeri
• Kaikohe Sports Facilities Plan
• Kaikohe Sports Centre business modelling and design advice
• Otaika Sports Park Feasibility Study for Whangarei
• Ruakaka Sports Park Plan for Whangarei District Council
• Otangarei Feasibility Study for Whangarei District Council
• Otangarei Central Park Plan for Whangarei District Council
• Northland Hockey Strategic Plan
• Whangarei Netball Centre Feasibility Study
• Kerikeri Gymnastics Club Feasibility Study
I also worked with the Tindall Foundation and the Five Good Ideas project. The Foundation identified that community organisations receiving grant funding sometimes lack capability to deliver on projects for which they receive funding. My work took me all over Auckland working with around 60 community organisations providing essential support to the community. This work involved assessing their capability and providing support to improve capability e.g. governance, financial, technology, marketing, management, legal.
I also worked for a time with the North Shore Women's Centre who, under the wise guidance of their Centre Manager, Tracey Swanberg, provide critical and essential legal and counselling services for women within the North Shore area.
An appointment in 2013 as Acting Chief Executive for Softball NZ required weekly travel to Wellington for 10 months work. This was really rewarding and left Softball NZ in a good place when Tony Giles joined the staff as Chief Executive Officer.
In 2019 when the Triathlon NZ Chief Executive Claire Baird went on maternity leave, a CEO support role was created and a year at AUT Millennium Institute provided more learning opportunities, particularly in the high-performance environment where I worked closely with the legendary triathlete, and Olympic Gold Medalist Hamish Carter.
Since 2017, Community Leisure Management (CLM) has contracted Freeman Associates Limited to provide services to sports clubs in South Auckland – strategic planning, business planning, governance training, marketing and grant funding to name a few areas of work. A huge thanks to Craig Carter and his staff for providing the opportunity to partner with me on these projects.
Age is no barrier, as knowledge and experience are essential requirements for doing work that makes a difference to the many sports and community groups that I am privileged to work with.
This work will never be more important than in the period following the COVID-19 crisis – the time when this book was published. Sport will need to reinvent itself if it is to prosper in the future within a very different economic environment. I have been very fortunate to work in sport and am proud that I am considered an expert in this field and have been able to make a difference to so many sports groups and clubs.
Recognition from World Veterans Table Tennis 2014
- Chapter 16 -
A by-election in 2006 created an opportunity to get elected to the Takapuna Community Board. From 2007-2010 I served as Deputy Chair. A background in local government in both North Shore City and Manukau City Council, plus work as an independent consultant provided very good insight into the role and responsibility of this position.
As with any role, it is important to make a difference. Seeing Hurstmere Green develop from a swamp to a well-used recreation space, provision of a new bridge from East Coast Road to Milford Beach, developing the track and bridge from Francis Street through to the back of Bayswater Cemetery, involvement with the design of Anzac Street West and advocating for a sculpture park at the Lake House grounds were some highlights.
An expectation of a Community Board member is to become a Resource Management Commissioner, making important decisions on resource consent applications. A role as planning commissioner provided the opportunity to be involved in decision making for projects such as Surgery on Shakespeare, the Spencer on Byron hearings and the Centennial Park Management Plan approval.
In 2011 I stood unsuccessfully for a position on the newly formed Devonport-Takapuna Local Board following the amalgamation of Takapuna City Council into Auckland City.
I also stood unsuccessfully for a position on Auckland Council in 2016, representing Auckland Future – a National Party supported collective. Trying to bring national interests to a local body election process didn't work - people just weren't buying into it, although a Labour leaning council was duly elected.
My personal views were not always popular. There was an orchestrated campaign to retain the caravan park at Takapuna Beach Reserve, whereas, as a resident, it seemed logical that the land should be accessible to all residents and not just those who could pay for the privilege. A good outcome is development of a completely new holiday park design.
I support the Anzac Carpark redevelopment but there was a proactive campaign opposing it. Fortunately, the protestors lost this argument and Takapuna will be developed for the benefit of future generations.
The cut and thrust of an election campaign is very exciting. Lobbying in shopping malls, in main commercial and industrial areas, bus stops, ferry buildings and at traffic lights is great fun when done with other equally enthusiastic people. The joy of meeting so many nice people but always respecting the opposition are memories that will stay with me for a long time.
During a career in local government, it was not possible to get involved in local body politics - no political bias could be on display. After ending a career in local government, and being somewhat removed from politics with the Freeman Associates Limited consultancy, it was time to get involved (in a minor way) with National politics.
A role as Events Coordinator for the North Shore branch of the National Party was a chance to contribute yet again as a volunteer. Whether it is delivering pamphlets, knocking on doors, manning the phone lines or out on street corners waving the banners, it all helps to raise the profile of the candidate prior to an election. Firstly with Maggie Barry from 2016-2020, and then with Simon Watts from 2020. This is an important contribution to democracy.
First year candidate Local Government Elections, 2006.
Auckland Future candidate Local Government elections, 2016 – campaigning at Takapuna markets.
Campaign trail 2016 – talking to a captive audience at a local pub.
Recording a video at Westhaven Auckland during 2016 campaign.
In full campaign mode 2016 Local Government election campaign.
On the campaign trail in Birkenhead with Danielle Grant, and Denise Lee.
- Chapter 17 -
Travel, as they say is in the blood. It satisfies a curiosity and a sense of adventure. It satisfies a thirst for knowledge about different cultures, food, languages, experiences, and people’s way of doing things.
Travel destinations were always well researched prior to travel. Intriguing and informative stories were explored. Sites visited and history explored included Sarajevo and its civil war, the history of Dubrovnik, the emperors of China, Hagia Sophia Museum (now Mosque) in Istanbul, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Hunterwasser Museum in Vienna, Terracotta Warriors in Xian, Niagra Falls, Whistler in Vancouver, Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau conncentration camps, Wieliczka Salt Mines in Krakow, Cinque Terre in Italy, the history and mystique of Havana and Cuba, Vietnam with its French colonial and war-torn past, India and the Taj Mahal, Robben Island Prison (including Nelson Mandela's prison cell), South Africa, and Gallipoli.
The 2012 Intrepid travel visit to Gallipoli for the ANZAC Commemorations with sister Margaret and friend Sarah Dunning was particularly memorable. We travelled by ferry boat from Istanbul to Eceabat and then past Anzac Cove Beach to the ANZAC Commemorative site.
We had heard so much about the commemorations, and had the usual advice about sleeping until dawn. Huddled in our sleeping bags we stayed awake all night viewing documentaries on the big screen and listening to music from amazing Australian and New Zealand school choirs and bands as well as military musical performances.
Through documentaries we heard about the tragedies and triumphs and left with a much better understanding of the sacrifices made on the battlefields by our ANZACS. We soaked up the atmosphere - had we slept we would have missed out on so much - don't do it!
On the day we arrived at the commemorative site we visited the Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial. We visited the graves of the fallen solders and saw the trenches. We heard the stories about the friendly exchanges of rations between the enemies - thrown from one trench to another - as they were just metres apart. Coffee, chocolates, sweet treats and cigarettes shared amongst men who respected each other as they fought for their respective countries.
The dawn service was spine tingling as it brought home to us the sacrifices made from the many brave soldiers who needlessly lost their lives at Gallipoli - men from Turkey as well as Australia and New Zealand.
After the dawn service we attended a memorial service at the Chanuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial which bears 850 names of New Zealanders lost in battle. Each year when we commemorate the Gallilopi campaign with ANZAC services I am reminded of this amazing experience.
The first ever Intrepid journey was from Rome to Paris. We travelled via Pisa, Florence, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Milan, Lucerne, Dijon and Reims. In Lucca we enjoyed Opera excerpts in a centuries old church with perfect acoustics and biked to the countryside outside the walls. In Reims we visited the Veuve Clicquot winery and visitor centre established in 1909, going underground to see where the champagne is stored and of course sampling fine wine. In Paris we visited the Sacre-Coeur Bascilica church at the top of the hill in Montmartre and were fortunate to listen to the Nuns rehearsing - exquisite and unexpected.
Margaret and I often stayed at hostels before or after tours for around $25 per night with some interesting results. In Munich we stayed at the youth hostel in mixed accommodation. We were sure the four young Italian men were not expecting to be sharing a room with two old ladies. One snored all night and there were pillows flying around the room. In Singapore we stayed in the Indian quarter in a rickety old building. We shared a room with two young Chinese boys who were amazed we were travelling (they probably thought we were ancient) and compared us to their own mothers who would not have left their province let alone China. In Hong Kong we stayed centrally next to the markets in a safe room with few facilities and a shower over the toilet. In London we stayed at the YHA Earls Court property a few times, and also at Safeways in Holland Park in Westminster (close to where Jimmy Page and Robbie Williams live).
At the beginning of my travel journeys, after a first taste of travel on the 1977 tour to Perth and Singapore, and because of my dire financial situation, opportunities to combine travel with netball events was the only option. This included travelling with local and national netball teams. I progressed to be a tour guide at various world netball championships.
Don and I travelled to the UK, Dusseldorf, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, South Africa and Australia at various times. I always hankered for adventure travel, but we had quite different ideas about an ideal holiday – cycling in the South of France appealed to me while Don preferred luxury hotels.
The first visit to London with Don had a profound impact. The Lonely Planet Guide had been well researched and a list of things to do drawn up well prior to travel, and the excitement had built. London had a certain allure that was hard to define.
Arriving in London for the first time was powerfully emotional – for me it felt like coming home and it was a big relief to have arrived. It is difficult to describe why this feeling came about, and it was entirely unexpected, but I can only think it was because this was where my ancestry began.
We were lucky in London to come across an older man looking for someone to help. With our maps out we were approached to see what help was needed and he took us on a 7-hour tour of the best of London. He took us to places which on our own we would never have seen. He was happy to get a free lunch and head off on his own at the end of the day.
While in London I bought a leather pig for 200 pounds from Liberty department store. This was a large amount of money at the time but it was one of those things I just had to have. Recently I was watching Salvage Hunters on TV and saw that the leather animals from Liberty of London are now collectors' items worth a considerable amount more than I paid. Kerry has inherited the pig and will pass it down the generations through his daughter Jordan. Who would have thought I was buying a heirloom – I just thought it was a pig!
After Don died and feeling the need to start travelling again, the company Intrepid Travel came up in a google search. Intrepid offer a down-to-earth, no frills travel experience and the chance to meet other like-minded people at a reasonable price. Fancy hotels and business class travel do not fit with my down-to-earth upbringing and life.
My sister Margaret joined me on many of the Intrepid trips and we bonded and were very comfortable and compatible travelling companions. Intrepid journeys took us to many places:
- Turkey - Istanbul, Cannakale, Troy, Pamukkale, Termessos National Park, Cappadocia.
- Vietnam, including Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh.
- India - the triangle with Delhi, Jaipu and Agra and then Goa in the south.
- Spain, Portugal and Morocco via Salamanca, Combra, Lisbon, The Algarve, Tarifa, Chefchaouen, Fes and Marrakech.
- Vienna to Budapest via Cesky Krumlov, Praque, Gory Sowie,Tatra Mountains followed by a visit to Sarajevo and Dubrovnik
- Venice to Rome via Cinque Terre and Florence.
- Paris to Rome via Pisa, Florence, Lucca, Cinque Terre, Milan, Lucerne, Dijon, Reims.
- Barcelona to Berlin via Avignon, Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, Amsterdam.
Every day was an adventure on these tours as we visited places off the tourist trail accompanied by enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides. In people’s homes, in rural schools, riding push bikes out into the paddy fields, riding in rickshaws, and on the back of motor bikes. Vietnam was the most intriguing and the least expensive of the Intrepid journeys.
In 2014, Margaret and I went to the Edinburgh Tattoo at the end of a Back Roads tour from London to Edinburgh. The journey to Edinburgh included visits to Oxford, Cotswolds, Worcester, Chester, York, Lake District and the Welsh Border. What an amazing trip and what great memories – Edinburgh Tattoo had been on the bucket list for ages.
In 2015, Margaret and I had our final trip together on the Sapphire river boat from Amsterdam to Budapest through the Rhine, Mein and Danube rivers of Europe. We visited Bonn, Wurzburg, Rothenberg, Bamberg, Nuremburg, Regensburg, Passau and then onto Melk and Vienna in Austria before arriving in Budapest.
In 2017, a family holiday to Hawaii with Kerry, Kylie, Jordan and Ella was very special and another visit to Hawaii was booked for July 2020 but thwarted by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Plans are now on hold until 2022 or beyond.
In 2019, there were two very memorable trips for different reasons. Grandchildren, Gemma-Lee, Natalie, Jordan and Ella went with me for an experience of a lifetime to Disneyland, California. It was very special to have this time together. On 16th April we celebrated Gemma-Lee’s 26th birthday with a meal at the Cheesecake Factory in Anaheim and of course a visit to Disneyland.
The 2019 World Netball Championships were held in Liverpool, UK, and Teresa toured with me from Prague through to Venice where we picked up a tour to Rome and then off to London and up to Liverpool. It was an outstanding trip and a great time for Teresa to visit places where she lived and played when she was doing her OE.
Had we not travelled together on these two trips in 2019 the opportunity might never have arisen in what is now a very uncertain future for international travel.
Meanwhile New Zealand beckons and I have booked on a Grand Rail Tour in November and in October a Wellington Wearable Arts tour (now cancelled) which also takes us to the Wairarapa including Greytown and Martinborough. Everything is an opportunity - you just have to look for it.
Kerry and Kylie on the Gold Coast, 2005.
The Rhine 2017 – Amsterdam to Budapest.
Ella and Jordan with Mickey Mouse – Disneyland, 2019.
Don in Canada, 2004.
Kylie, Ella, Jordan and Kerry – Hawaii, 2017.
Fay and Margaret – Swiss Alps, 2008.
Fay in Europe, 2018.
In Burrim Heads, Australia, for Jenny's 60th birthday in 2016. Family, from left: Owen, Margaret, Carolyn, Jenny, Kevin, Jenny, Fay, Beverley, Janet and David.
Left to right: Margaret, Jenny, Beverley and Fay - Byron Bay holiday.
- Chapter 18 -
Marching was a big part of my life as a child with Northcote Stuarts (and later with Val’s Own Guards and Highland Guards). The uniform and the white boots were part of the attraction, but so was the discipline and the amazing brass and pipe band music.
My earliest memories are joining Northcote Stuarts with friend Linda Jones (nee Powle). Getting to training twice a week during summer involved walking from Archers Road, Glenfield to the corner of Northcote Road (about three kilometres), and then catching a bus to training at Northcote Primary School and then the reverse journey after training.
Competitions were held throughout the North Island with the competition split into two sections spread across a whole day. The parks were festooned with tents erected by each of the teams, and it was quite a mission to get everything organised.
The marching music was captivating – Liberty Bell, Colonel Bogey, British Grenadiers – brass bands and pipe bands equally loved. Marching and the music was equally enjoyed by my sister Beverley, who marched with Northcote Stuarts for a number of years.
The uniforms were also captivating with the white boots, Stuart clan tartan skirts, white tops with mandarin collars, red belts and berets (we longed to have busby hats, but the budget didn’t stretch this far).
A desire for perfection as leader of Northcote Stuarts meant training before and after school during my years at high school – repetitive training over a measured distance to ensure when it came to competition there was a chance to achieve perfection and win a medal.
Before starting a family, a new team started up under the guidance of Michael and Jeanette Jones, with Val Neil as leader. Val’s Own Guards trained and competed well, winning several North Island titles.
We also did on an onstage performance with Split Enz during the earlier part of their career which was a memorable occasion. We had an area of the stage the size of a sandwich to work in, but somehow pulled it off.
We spent whole days at competitions, and during the years spent with marching I accumulated 100 marching medals as a team member and leader.
After having a family Teresa wanted to get involved in marching, so a coaching role followed which was very enjoyable. Teresa absolutely loved marching, so getting involved with the team helped her achieve her goals.
Another opportunity presented itself post family with a group of experienced marchers getting together to train and compete under the name Highland Guards and we competed successfully in the Auckland Championships.
There was also an opportunity to get involved in administration of the sport, and for three years I was Secretary of the Auckland Marching Centre.
Marching is a great sport, teaching discipline, respect, deportment and team work. Sadly it has lost numbers over the years so no longer has the profile or appeal compared to the myriad of other sports that have emerged.
Guard of Honour - Tom and Fay's wedding, 1966.
Northcote Stuarts Marching team.
Teresa in marching uniform - she loved those boots!
Fay aged 15 years leader of Northcote Stuarts junior team
A lifetime of marching medals.
Val's Own Guards with Coach Michael Jones and Manager Jeanette Jones 1966-1967.
Val's Own Guards - named after our Team Leader Valerie Neil
Highland Rifles Senior team - competed successfully as a team of young Mum's
- Chapter 19 -
Netball played a significant role in my life for many years – taking me to England as an umpire with the NZ Netball Team (now the Silver Ferns) and to Australia with the New Zealand Under 21 and Young International teams, and throughout the Commonwealth as a tour guide and spectator at world championship events.
I started playing Netball while attending Milford School, was selected in the school team and played in the North Shore Netball competition at Takapuna Grammar School.
The reasons for getting involved in netball umpiring has been lost with time, but with friends I attended umpire classes at Takapuna Grammar School, at around 8am each Saturday from the age of about 13, then umpired and played games.
My involvement in Netball reaches back almost to 1952 when Netball North Harbour was established (initially as North Shore Basketball Association) at Campbells Bay School. The association moved to Takapuna Grammar School later that same season with 8 teams competing on the two available courts.
Mr K. Kennedy was President, and Mr S.J. (Jack) Probert was Organiser. Game control was initially organised from the back of Jack's car with a megaphone for announcements, until a control room was erected in St Leonards Road overlooking the courts. The old netball control room was moved from St Leonards Road, and for many years located by the swimming pool and changerooms at Takapuna Grammar School.
In 1966 netball moved to Onewa Domain with a new pavilion which contained a control room which also accommodated the umpires. Twelve netball courts were provided (used for tennis in the summer months). I believe this pavilion is now located at Milford Reserve and used by New Dawn Partnership which caters for adults with intellectual disabilities.
The current pavilion was developed in stages - ground floor, top floor and indoor courts. I have a vivid recollection of the hours spent painting and installing ceiling panels. Over the years 12 additional courts have been developed and in 2011 the indoor courts were developed. The indoor courts have proved hugely popular.
Netball umpiring was (and is) an enjoyable activity. In 1962 my efforts were rewarded with a Junior Umpire Badge. I continued to play netball and umpire until I had the children when my focus turned to umpiring. Around this same time, I was appointed onto the North Harbour Netball committee as a junior member.
Working my way up the ladder through the local, regional and national structure, resulted in passing the New Zealand Umpires' Badge in 1972. This qualification meant an application could be made to umpire at national tournaments. A national and international career started the following year with selection to umpire at the NZ Netball Championships in Napier (held outdoors in the cold and the rain). Many more national championship appointments followed.
Netball provides many opportunities for young women to grow as people and learn leadership skills, and laid good foundations for a future career. Many opportunities were provided to learn new skills, to gain knowledge and experience which can be applied to other areas of life. This includes preparing agendas, taking minutes, report writing, relationship management, event management and public speaking.
There are many women who have been role models and created opportunies for me to contribute and succeed in Netball and in life. These include Joyce McCann MBE, Marjorie Jenden QSM, Anne Taylor OBE, Dame Lois Muir DNZM OBE, Dawn Jones CNZM, OBE, Marian George QSM, Taini Jamison, Lady Sheryl Wells, Ruth Aitken ONZM, Waimarama Taumaunu ONZM MBE and Christine Archer, all of whom share with me the title of Life Member of Netball New Zealand. Locally Shona Cooper was a huge support and mentor and assisted greatly in developing my skills as an umpire.
Following is a summary of Netball experience, qualifications, and appointments:
International Netball Administration Experience
1995-1998: INF Executive meetings, Birmingham, Ontario, Barbados and Commonwealth Games, Kuala Lumpur
1995-1999: Finance Director – International Netball Federation
National Netball Administration Experience
1979-1988: Board Member, Netball NZ Umpires
1989-1992: President, Netball NZ Umpires and Member of the Rules Board
1988-1992 & 1994-1996: Netball NZ Board Member
2002-2007: President, Netball New Zealand
2006-2008: Director, World Netball Championship 2007
2012-2013: National Working Party for Netball Restructure - Local, Regional, Provincial
1972-1987: Vice-President, North Shore Netball Umpires
1996-1999: Board Member, North Harbour Netball
1992 to 2003: Chairman of the Board, Netball North Region
2010: Acting Chairman, Netball North Harbour
2008 to 2012: President, Netball North Harbour
Netball Umpiring Appointments
1973-1992: New Zealand Tournament (17 years)
1985-1992: International Panel Member – Top Four
1983: NZ Under 21 Team tour to Australia
1982: NZ Young Internationals Team tour to Australia
1987: Third Test NZ v England in Auckland
1988: Silver Ferns Team tour to England
Back in the 1980s there was no such thing as independent umpires for international test matches, and each team provided one umpire. This considerably limited the opportunities to travel and umpire as the incumbent NZ umpire was at the top of the pecking order for several years before retiring.
There were several career highlights. Domestically there were appointments to umpire top level televised matches throughout the season, awarding of the top umpiring award at the NZ Netball Championships in 1975, attending local and regional tournaments and umpiring at 17 NZ Netball Championships.
My mother and family loved to watch television and see me umpire games (my mother would say this was the only time she saw me during these busy periods).
There were two overseas trips as an umpire with North Harbour teams. We planned a trip to Fiji to play games against local teams. We worked hard at fundraising – car raffles, pub raffles etc and raised $7,000. On the advice of one of our members we invested the money in a finance company – then it went broke and we lost all our money and had to start again. We were all exhausted but knuckled down.
We arrived in Nadi and had to bus to Suva – except there was a cyclone so we were forced to stop at Naviti Resort. We had been cut off from Nadi and then the road to Suva collapsed. This became the unbeaten tour of Fiji as we never played a game. By the time the roads were fixed it was time to go back to the airport and fly home.
In 1977 Netball North Harbour did a trip to Perth and Singapore, playing games at both destinations. The competition in Perth was tough and we had some good match-ups. The heat of Singapore slowed the pace of the games but we were too good and won those games.
Those not involved in umpiring or refereeing a sport at national or international standard may not be aware of the effort that goes into preparing to officate at this level. Daily reading of the netball rule book over many years ensured an indepth knowledge and understanding of the rules.
An umpire must be both physically and mentally prepared. This involved running to maintain fitness and also training with teams – shadowing individuals to work on movement and timing. Mental preparation involved developing a tool kit to cope with the pressure of situations and ensure one remained calm and able to see a game in technical terms as rules were applied or advantage decisions were made at speed.
Analysing a match after each game was an important part of the process – what went well, what could be improved on (all written down in a notebook over many years). This enabled me to describe in my own terms what a perfect game would look and feel like. In all the hundreds of games umpired there was only one game where I considered I achieved perfection. The Waikato coach congratulated me after the game. It was a good feeling.
The Netball Umpiring manual I produced – how to apply the rules and read a game – was a 'bible' for many umpires in New Zealand for many years.
The 1988 NZ Netball Team tour tour to England was scheduled to also include Jamaica but there was a huge cyclone in Jamaica which wiped out infrastructure. With Lois Muir (later Dame Lois Muir) as Coach, Monica Leggatt as Manager, Tracey Fear as Captain and Waimarama Taumaunu as Vice-Captain, it was a team of super-stars on the 1988 tour.
For one of our early warm up games, we arrived at the stadium after a long-drive from our hotel to find a carpark full of cars and tour buses and realised within a short-time that what we thought was going to be quiet warm-up was in fact a full-on exhibition match. I remember Lois calming everyone (including myself) by saying – you have all played before a big crowd before, so this is no different – just get on with it.
We played test matches at Wembley Stadium and then travelled up to the border with Scotland to Gateshead for another test match. The streets and football pitches in Gateshead were covered in ice and we had to walk cautiously on the pavement to avoid slipping. The Silver Ferns won all its matches, returning home triumphant.
While travelling up to the Scottish Border the heating in the bus broke down. The driver was very apologetic and provided blankets to keep us warm until the heating could be fixed. The NZ Herald suggested that England Netball had deliberately turned off the heating so we would get sick – the beginning of a cynical view of the truth told by the media.
In 1975 came appointment to umpire at the NZ Netball Championships held on the North Shore (the year I took out the highest honour in Netball Umpiring) and we got time to attend the World Netball Championships being hosted by Auckland at Windmill Road courts. The World Championships was a joyous occasion, all played on outdoor courts at Windmill Road in Mt Eden, at times sheltered under tarpaulins as the rain came down.
That event set off a chain of events which combined my interest in netball and love of travel to create opportunities to attend World Netball Championships in several countries as follows:
1979: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – tour leader
1983: Singapore – tour leader (Don supported me on that tour)
1987: Glasgow – missed due to illness
1991: Sydney, Australia – tour leader
1995: Birmingham, England (appointed INF Finance Director)
1999: Christchurch, NZ (technical advisor for INF)
2003: Kingston, Jamaica – with Don, his last overseas trip
2007: Auckland NZ (Director of 2007 Netball Limited)
2011: Singapore (attended as a guest of INF)
2015: Sydney, Australia ( a guest of INF)
2019: Liverpool, UK (a guest of INF)
2023: Cape-Town, South Africa – planning to attend.
My appointment as Finance Director for International Netball in 1995 was a highlight. International netball is gifted with educated, intelligent, articulate, and proud women from throughout the Commonwealth including the Caribbean Islands of Antiqua, Barbados, Granada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Australia, England and Canada.
Things we took for granted in NZ were not so easy to come by elsewhere. The role of women in sport is still not well supported in many countries. The women who represent these countries are courageous and committed to promoting netball for young women in their home countries and throughout the world despite the challenges they often have to overcome.
A role as Director of 2007 Netball World Championships was an opportunity not to be missed. After Fiji had to pull out of hosting the event, we had just 10 months to pull together a world class event. This was a time of great learning and personal growth as part of a highly skilled group of people. Sarah Lumins was an inspirational Chair of Directors, well supported by her deputy Don McKinnon. The event was an outstanding success and left Netball in New Zealand well placed financially.
Appointment as President of Netball NZ was an honour. This was a four-year appointment from 2002 to 2007 and an opportunity to be part of the Board of Directors, but also separate from it, to influence decision making but not be responsible for it.
In 2021 work will commence on researching and writing a history of North Harbour Netball, to be published in time for the 75th anniversary in 2027. While I will lead the project I expect to be assisted by my fellow North Harbour Netball Life Members.
The contribution to Netball in NZ has been honoured as follows:
1998 Life Membership North Harbour Netball.
1998 Life Membership North Harbour Netball Umpires.
2002 Life Membership Netball New Zealand.
A memorable tour to the UK with the NZ Netball team (Silver Ferns) playing and winning three tests.
In the early 1950’s a Control Room (big enough for 3-4 people) for North Shore Basketball (now Netball) was located in St Leonard’s Road overlooking the Takapuna Grammar School courts.
In 1966 Netball relocated to Onewa Domain and established a new control room incorporating an umpires area (the building is now on Milford Reserve).
The current facility was constructed in three stages – lower level, upper level and the indoor courts (opened in 2011).
Left column: International Federation Executive badge, Netball NZ Service Award, NZ Umpires' badge, NZ Badge (highest honour for umpiring at the time), Netball NZ Executive. Middle: Netball NZ Life Membership, Netball NH Life Membership, Netball NH Service Award, Netball NH Umpires Life Membership. Right column: NH Softball Life Membership and NH Softball Service Award.
Netball Prize-giving, 2018.
Netball Prize-giving while campaigning for an Auckland Council seat, 2016.
- Chapter 20 -
Softball was my favourite summer sport at Primary and Secondary Schools. A mid-week league at Becroft Park, Forrest Hill, was further opportunity to play softball. After meeting Don in 1980 the stars aligned. Teresa, Joanne and Kerry all started to play Softball (in addition to Don’s sons Brent and Grant) so summers were spent at Rosedale Park, Albany.
A talented softball player I was not. On one occasion as a young player I got under the softball to get a high catch only to have the ball slip through my hands and result in a bloody nose. However the game was sufficiently enjoyable to continue to play in the mid-week league at Becroft Park when the children were small.
Shortly after we met, Don was overheard saying to one of his friends ‘I think I have found a Secretary' and so it was, with Don as President and myself as Secretary of North Harbour Softball from 1981-1987.
In those early days North Harbour Softball operated out of a tin shed, which was totally inadequate to meet the needs of our growing membership. We provided a pie warmer and a barrel of ice and beer and not much else! It took five minutes to sweep out the dust at the end of the day.
Don and I were founding trustees of Rosedale Park Sports Trust and worked with North Harbour Hockey to build a clubroom for hockey and softball which was officially opened in 1983. We later raised the money and extended the clubroom adding an upstairs area with viewing deck over the softball diamonds (with plans at the time to build another deck over the hockey fields).
When Hockey moved from Rosedale Park north to establish their own headquarters we partnered with Albany Football. In 1987 we opened the new international standard softball diamonds with floodlights, just in time to host, for the first time, a national men's softball championship.
In 2001, Mike Walsh asked if I would be interested in managing the NZ White Sox team. This was an opportunity not to be missed. The role combined my love of travel with a relatable skillset in a sport I was passionate about. This role included several tours to Australia, Canada and the USA including an Olympic qualifying event and 2002 World Championship.
The 2002 World Championship was a qualifying tournament for the 2004 Athens Olympics. It was devasting to lose a match to Chinese Taipei when we out hit them and out played them, but under the pressure of the occasion made two vital errors in the field. The Olympic dream slipped out of our grasp.
Following Don’s death in 2006, there were gaps in Softball that I was able to fill, and Netball took a backseat. I became involved in the Northcote Softball Club that Don founded in 1979 with his friend Jack Howe, and have been Secretary since 2007.
In 2012, I was an integral part of the group that developed the international softball stadium at Rosedale Park, Albany, having previously been involved in establishing the clubroom (as part of the Rosedale Park Sports Trust) and the international diamonds during the period from 1981-1987.
For many years I wrote softball match reports for the Sunday News, the 8 O'Clock and Sunday Star Times (softball got coverage in those days). Deadlines were met and the stories had to be slightly different for each of the papers. On one memorable occasion I was asked by the newspaper to cover a cricket match. That was challenging but I got the job done.
Highlights of softball administration include being Chairman of the Board of Directors for the 2013 World Men’s Softball Championship held at Rosedale Park, Albany, and Co-Chair of the World Baseball/Softball Confederation Men’s Softball Cup which is scheduled to be held in 2022.
An opportunity arose in 2018 to be Chairman of the Committee established to organise softball, as part of the World Masters Games. Softball was the biggest sport (next to football) and it was a mammoth effort to organise the event over three venues (with Claire Baird as Event Director and her team doing an outstanding job). The masters games event produced a healthy profit of $70,000 for North Harbour Softball (masters games participants know how to party!). A bonus was paying for a special event booth as part of a new beer garden created at the stadium (the money came from the World Masters Games Committee from their surplus). In 2014, I joined the board of North Harbour Softball and roles as chair and deputy chair followed before dropping down to be a board member again and chairing the Finance and Audit Committee. I have been Event Director at numerous national championships held at Rosedale Park, and for 19 years was Tournament Controller for the Dean Schick Memorial Tournament.
Bob Leveloff MNZM, Ray Tibbits, Sharon Kawe, Trevor Smith and Raewyn Judson have all given outstanding service to North Harbour Softball over many years and deserve special recognition.
Once again a love of travel was combined with attendance at Softball World Championships in New Zealand and other places:
1986 Auckland, NZ (Women)
2000 East London, South Africa (Men)
2004 Christchurch, NZ (Men)
2008 Saskatoon, Canada (Men)
2013 Auckland, NZ (Men)
2016 Surrey, Vancouver, Canada (Women)
2020 Palmerston North, NZ (Boys U18 World Cup)
The contribution made to Softball in NZ has been honoured as follows:
1987 Service Award North Harbour Softball
2013 Life Membership North Harbour Softball
2013 Softball NZ Volunteer of the Year Award
2016 Softball NZ Distinguished Service Award
Ella in action on the mound for Northcote, aged 10.
Ella catching for Northcote, aged 8.
Jordan at bat aged 12.
Kerry, aged around 11, enjoying softball at Rosedale Park, Albany.
Canada Cup, 2004, Mike Walsh Coach and Dean Rice Assistant Coach.
Northcote Committee with me absent on the night.
- Chapter 21 -
Harbour Sport evolved from an idea planted by Marian George, QSM, around 1970. Marian was working as a netball coach for the Rothmans Sports Foundation at the time and talked about all the general sport knowledge she gained through her work that could be potentially be shared across sports.
Wanting to explore how we could share knowledge and information across sports, we organised a meeting of several sports including netball, rugby, athletics and basketball, and it was agreed that there were several areas where sports could come together, and all be strengthened. Agreement was reached on the following aims.
A strong North Harbour identity – people were confused about the identity and geographic location of representative teams from this area (some sports were named North Shore and rugby had emerged as North Harbour at the time).
Common colours for North Harbour teams – there was a variety of uniform colours from green and white to blue and red and everything in between.
An annual awards function – to recognise and celebrate success and distinguished contributions to sport within the North Harbour region (a local service group had been organising sports dinners up until that time).
Forums to share knowledge and information – collaboration rather than competition between different sports.
A sports house where several sports could co-locate and share services such as reception, photo copiers, meeting space, sports library, sports science.
Founding trustees were Marian George QSM, Dave Norris ONZM, former All Black Kevin Barry, Ralph Roberts MBE, and myself. Ultimately, after many years of struggles in advocating to Government for resources to establish a sports trust, the government of the time agreed to support formation of sports trusts throughout New Zealand and provided funding to support establishment of what is now Harbour Sport.
Harbour Sport fulfils its original purpose, and today sports trusts remain an important coordinator and leader for community sport as part of a national network of sports trusts.
The Legends of Harbour Sport recognises outstanding sporting achievements by Harbour athletes and coaches who have made a significant impact on North Harbour’s sporting heritage.
My involvement as a judge for the Legends of Harbour commenced in 2007 and has continued until 2022. The judging panel has changed a little over the years and includes sporting elite – Dave Norris ONZM, Rob Arblaster, Angela Subramaniam (nee Walker), Peter White and myself. Marian George QSM, was also a panel member until she moved from Auckland.
The contribution made to sport has been honoured at the North Harbour Sporting Excellence Awards as follows:
2002 Sports Administrator of the Year
2003 Services to Sport Award
2002 North Harbour Sporting Excellence Awards – Administrator of the Year Award.
2003 North Harbour Sporting Excellence Awards – Service to Sport Award.
- Chapter 22 -
Justice of the Peace
Service as a Justice of the Peace seemed an obvious progression of service to the community and provided opportunities to man service desks, serve on the bench at District Courts and conduct registry office weddings.
Conservators, Wardens or Keepers of the Peace have existed in England since ancient times. In 1361 a statute during the reign of Edward III described these people as Justices and gave them power to try felonies. To this day Justices are lay people who are assisted in England by Justice Clerks and in New Zealand by court officials.
The first appointment of a JP in New Zealand was in 1814, when Governor Macquarie of NSW appointed the missionary Thomas Kendall as a Justice “in the Bay of Islands in NZ and throughout the islands of NZ and those immediately contiguous thereto”.
In 1840 after NZ become a British colony, the first regular appointments of Justices were made. The Royal Charter of 1840 which constituted NZ as a separate colony required the Government to include in the Legislative Council three senior Justices of the Peace.
The functions of modern Justices in NZ are now more limited than in former times. However, the office remains an ancient and honourable one.
In 1997, after going through the required training, my appointment as a Ministerial Justice of the Peace was confirmed, becoming one of around 7,000 members of the NZ Justice of the Peace Association. Work began mainly certifying copies of documents, taking statutory declarations and administering affidavits sworn under oath on the bible.
There has been significant change over the years – there are over 700 entries in the book of people who have come to my home to get documents signed or witnessed or to take affidavits or statutory declarations – very few people come nowadays.
Since 2016 JP services have been provided at service desks in shopping malls, Marae, universities, Citizen Advice Bureau and community centres – much more convenient for those who want the services of a JP. No appointment needed, just turn up and get the service. No risks to those living alone.
In New Zealand around 400 Justices work within the court system as Judicial Justices – working in Remand and District Courts. Remand Courts deal largely with the fall-out from Friday nights – people arrested and in a cell for the courts to deal with them on Saturdays.
District Courts deal with traffic and minor offences – which is where my voluntary JP work took me. After a period of university standard study and training I was appointed as a Judicial Justice of the Peace in 2016.
We can impose a fine, we can award reparation, but we cannot send someone to prison, or remand them in custody. We have a variety of cases to deal with, but by far the most frequent is people driving without a license or with an expired license, driving in a bus lane, speeding, or careless driving usually resulting in an accident with one or more vehicles.
Some people are just plain irresponsible, but others cannot afford to get a driver's license, or may have tried several times and failed (English is a second language for some). This affects their ability to get to work or do shopping or get the kids to school and in many instances it affects their ability to support their families. Much more assistance is needed to get drivers licenses and keep people out of court and into employment. Thankfully in 2021 a trial is in place to support and enable drivers to get their licence and avoid the Police and court processes - but you have to be caught driving without a licence first to be able to get into the scheme!
In 2013, a trial was commenced in Auckland with Justices of the Peace authorized to conduct registry office weddings at The Hub, Henderson. I was one of four Justices in New Zealand selected to provide this service. Weddings were conducted each Friday on the trial which lasted until early 2020 when the service abruptly ended with the COVID-19 epidemic.
The number of weddings varied from week to week, and season to season with eleven being the most I conducted in one day, but more consistently around 5 - 6 per day. This was an amazing life experience and honour.
Same sex marriage has been legal in NZ since 2018 and it was a real privilege to meet some amazing young couples and an honour to officiate, especially with people denied this basic human right in their home countries.
For many of the mainly heterosexual couples choosing a registry office wedding this might be one of 2 or 3 ceremonies. Their church pastor may not be authorized to conduct weddings, or the couple may have had a big unofficial wedding in Las Vegas or the couple might travel home to where their extended family live, and have another ceremony (or more than one ceremony if they are from different countries).
There are many arranged marriages – from Fiji mainly – which might come as a surprise to some. Sensitivity was needed and you could not refer to love or suggest the groom kiss the bride. It was simply not appropriate for the occasion. There is no reason to believe that these unions are not successful, the parents having put a lot of thought and effort into ensuring a good cultural, economic, social and spiritual union.
Wonderful stories were shared about couples who have been together for years but not married. One couple I had the pleasure of marrying had their own children and grandchildren present but had never married – they felt the time was now right. It was truly a special moment of joy to share with them.
Some couples dress for the occasion, and some come in shorts and T shirts. One young man wore a T-shirt that said “Cannibal Corpse”. I wondered at the time how much time he spent working out what he would wear.
Pacific weddings usually involved prayer or music or both which could easily be accommodated at the Henderson venue. Stricly speaking we were supposed to keep to the basics but I always bent the rules - it was their special day not mine and I tried to make it really memorable.
Sharing these special moments with around 500 couples over seven years, and enabling families to embrace their own cultural practices on their special day has provided many joyous memories. On many occasions an invitation was issued to have a photo taken with the happy couple, so the occasion has been captured for posterity.
- Chapter 23 -
Law Society & Ministry of Justice
My appointment as a lay member of the Auckland District Law Society’s Standards Committee from 2010 to 2015 contributed to ensuring the integrity of the legal profession was maintained. Lawyers who, in the eyes of the complainant, had breached standards expected of them went through a process of rigorous examination of their actions by a panel comprising lawyers and lay people.
Around 80% of complaints were found to be without substance (sometimes people just simply don't like the outcome of a court case or have more colourful reasons for complaining) while around 20% were proven. Even when proven this did not necessarily mean the accused lawyer had intended to commit an injustice.
The most difficult cases involved families at war, perhaps a mum and dad making their children both executors and beneficiaries of a will in the ‘certain knowledge’ that their kids would work it out. The result might be that one sibling blamed the lawyer for inflicting an injustice if they did not get a bigger share or didn’t think the lawyer had acted in their best interest.
In 2015 an appointment by then Minister of Justice Amy Adams as a lay member of the NZ Lawyers and Disciplinary Tribunal provided an altogether different experience. Occasionally the behaviour of a lawyer was found by the Standards Committee to be so extreme the matter was referred to the Tribunal which had the power to impose significant fines, suspend or strike off a lawyer.
Tribunal hearings were formal affairs, with a retired judge as Chairman of the Disciplinary Tribunal Panel, two experienced lawyers and two lay people. Hearings would last up to two days as lawyers fought for their professional reputation and careers.
The detail of these hearings is of course highly confidential. But there were some intriguing cases including, even at this level, a complaint that was vexatious in nature, but the lawyer had erred in not taking complete notes and trusting the relationship between client and lawyer and paid the price.
This appointment came to an end when Labour was elected to power in 2017, when the Minister at the time wrote to say he did not intend to renew my appointment.
- Chapter 24 -
Lake House Arts Centre
The Lake House Arts Centre is a very important place on the North Shore of Auckland where hobby as well as emerging and established artists come to display their work and where children and adults can develop their skills as artists.
The Lake House art precinct comprises three relocated and renovated historic buildings: Lakehouse and two Fort Cautley Army Barrack buildings relocated from Narrowneck.
The Lake House building started life on a site at the northern end of Takapuna Beach and functioned as a family home and seaside boarding house. The house dates to 1896, with a top storey added in 1909, bringing the total number of bedrooms at that time to seventeen.
The original house was used briefly as a hospital during the 1918-19 influenza epidemic, then used as a holiday home, and then a boarding house, with many hundreds of occupants passing through its doors and the house gaining something of a ‘bohemian’ reputation.
The original house was due to be relocated south of Auckland when the owner decided to redevelop the site (where The Sands apartment block now sits), and local community members stepped in to prevent this happening. The house was moved onto Barry's Point Reserve where it stayed, cut up into pieces, for around 12 months, while a mammoth court battle ensued to establish the right to establish it on the site.
The Lake House eventually opened on its current site at Barry’s Point Reserve on 19 November 2000 as a community arts centre available to the public for the purpose of promoting arts, culture and heritage on the North Shore and beyond.
My involvement with the Lake House Arts Centre commenced around 2004 when, as part of Freeman Associates Limited, an opportunity was provided to work with the Committee to develop a strategic plan. The Lake House had an instant attraction for me - I came and never left.
Genevieve Becroft QSM, had the foresight to invite me to be a member of the committee when they were due to write the next strategic plan but lacked money to pay for it to be done! This sparked a long association which culminated in my appointment as Chair, a position I held for five years, and continues to this day as minute secretary.
There were many changes during the time I was involved. The committee structure changed to become a governance board with a clear focus on vision, strategy, programming, risk management and sustainable practices (financial and environmental) and a highly competent manager and staff focused on delivery.
A change in strategy from shoulder tapping willing or unwilling people to serve on the committee to advertising through Better Boards to attract high quality board members was an inspired move. The board is blessed with talented professional people willing to commit their time and expertise to ensuring the Lake House is well run.
Good decision-making around appointment of the Lake House Manager was another critical point in time. Employing Grae Burton as manager created many new opportunities to learn from other centres and grow the stable of high-quality tutors and artists offering programmes at the Lake House.
Grandchildren Jordan and Ella Price participated in programmes at the Lake House for many years and really enjoyed the high-quality holiday programmes. They produced some complex and intricate pieces of art sculpture. Gemma-Lee has displayed and sold art at the Lake House. Jordan and Ella learnt to do sculpture and painting at the Lake House.
A legacy from my very early involvement with the centre is the sign on the roof of the centre – easily seen from the motorway – LAKE HOUSE ARTS CENTRE AND CAFÉ. The roof provided a blank canvas which was just waiting to be filled but no-one had thought of it as the need for effective marketing was not widely recognised back in the day.
The contribution made to the Lake House Arts Trust has been honoured as follows:
2019 Life Membership.
Lake House Arts 20th
Anniversary Programme, 2020
By NZ Artist – James Pickering. A Gift from Devonport-Takapuna Local Board.
- Chapter 25 -
A love affair with art started after the purchase of our home in Camelot Place when an extremely modest purchase was made of an original painting of a yacht in Auckland Harbour. For many years art was a passion I could not afford. Paintings and sculptures have been aquired over time to form a much loved but modest art collection adorning the Mon Desir apartment.
Following our move into the Mon Desir complex Don and I met a neighbour who collected art. He moved to Devonport and invited us to his property for afternoon tea. It was like a pandora’s box of art covering all the walls throughout the house – around 1,000 pieces of original art by New Zealand artists collected over a lifetime.
He asked if I was to choose one piece of art what would it be. A Brian Dahlberg painting of a church in Towai (north of Auckland) with a Bedford car outside was exchanged for $1,700 (now worth around $8,000). My neighbour had met Brian who told him this was the church he attended during his childhood, and the Bedford was the family car. Brian’s work still consistently sells at the International Art Gallery in Parnell.
Don didn't share my love for art so there was very little purchased during our marriage. After his death, paintings and sculptures were accumulated to form a much loved, modest but highly valued collection adorning the Mon Desir apartment.
Another Brian Dahlberg painting was purchased from my former neighbour, for a little higher price, and other favourite NZ artists were added to the collection – Rebecca Shawyer, Rebecca Rose, John Papas, Len Castle, Darlene Meiring, Tanya Blong, Mike Morgan and Jeff Thomson.
Another favourite piece of art is a caricature by Rod Emerson of the Rolling Stones, completed after their visit to New Zealand in 2014. My nephew worked for the NZ Herald at the time and asked Rod on my behalf for a copy of a front page from the NZ Herald.
The original art was forwarded to me by Rod Emmerson with clear instructions not to distribute or sell the artwork but use this for personal use. A few bottles of wine in gratitude were conveyed to Rod who is a legendary and award-winning NZ cartoonist.
Gemma-Lee shares my love for art (Jordan and Ella are also handy young artists) attending Hungry Creek Art School and producing quality works which are displayed in my home. Gemma-Lee is a talented young artist with a promising future. She has sold a number of pieces and will no doubt sell well in the future.
Photos of favourite art pieces, which hopefully will be handed down through the family for centuries to come, is included in this book.
Gift from Manukau City Council – artist unknown.
Tanya Blong – NZ artist.
Yi Ming Lin – NZ artist.
Rebecca Rose - NZ Artist
Nick Fedaeff – NZ artist.
Brian Dahlberg – NZ Artist, Towai Church.
Robyne Stewart – NZ Artist.
Jack Prangnell – NZ Artist.
A treasured piece by Maria Rudavska – Cross Sculpture on a wooden plinth. Fletcher Brown Built Pottery Award - purchased from Webb's auction.
NZ artist – Harry Goodwin 2012. After Harry's death a number of pieces were sold at Lake House Art Centre.
Rebecca Shawyer – NZ Artist based in Dargaville who sells one-off pieces around the world.
Ian Webster – NZ Artist.
Gemma-Lee Grey – NZ Artist 2018.
Always a Rolling Stones fan - Rod Emmerson - NZ Artist
Darlene Meiring - NZ Artist (formerly from South Africa)
Len Castle – NZ Artist.
Jeff Thomson – NZ Artist.
Street art London 2019
Sculpture in Earls Court, London
Street art in Italy 2019
Street art in London 2019
Teri Parat – NZ Artist.
- Chapter 26 -
Running and Yoga
There was no intention to become a runner. My aspiration to become a NZ Netball Umpire involved a commitment to being fit, so I started with a one-kilometre course leading into the netball season. Then came the opportunity, in 1977, to go on a netball trip to Perth and Singapore which, because of the heat, required a new level of fitness.
Women didn’t run in the 1970’s and were a very rare sight and I was subject to some pointing and mirth. A common refrain from well-meaning people was that running would lead to life in a wheelchair. The opposite has proved true with (at the age of 73) bone density of the spine of a 20 to 30-year-old woman, bone density of the hips at the level of a 60-year-old pre-Osteoporosis woman and a blood pressure that would be the envy of any young athlete.
Around the Bays was the first ever event I entered, completing the 11.27 kilometre course in 51 minutes and 50 seconds (hardly spectacular). From that moment I was hooked and many more Round the Bays events followed, and then bigger goals were achieved.
During a Round the Bays run, and unbeknown to me, I was being shadowed by legendary Silver Fern Yvonne Willering. Yvonne said she thought she would easily catch up to me (she didn't have huge regard for umpires). She thought I would tire and she would pounce, and couldn't believe that I never tired, just keeping up the same even pace throughout the run and no matter how hard she tried she couldn't catch up.
During my first half marathon, someone suggested a full marathon was achievable. As a result of this encouragement, in 1979 I struggled to complete my first Marathon at Wiri in the unspectacular time of 4 hours 46 minutes. Another runner asking if I was going to run the whole Marathon on my toes! As a netball umpire, I was used to being on my toes and did not know any better!
The following year my time got down to 4 hours and 6 minutes over the same course, then that same year a respectable 4 hours 12 minutes was achieved at Rotorua’s undulating course followed the next year by a 4 hour 35 minute Rotorua Marathon while suffering a heavy cold (and probably overtraining).
The 25 kilometre “Gut Buster” got ticked off the list plus City to Surf runs in Sydney in 2004 and 2005 and two ultra-marathon events from Swanson to Whatipu with Ulrich Buhs, a work colleague at the time.
The Auckland Half Marathon over the Harbour Bridge was completed 20 times (the last in 2020 aged 73). My final flurry was to be the 2020 New York Marathon but the COVID-19 virus scuppered those plans.
A highlight was the Great Wall of China half marathon in 2017 (aged 71). The course included 2,582 steps along the Great World – a breath-taking experience. It also included weaving through small villages with enthusiastic and supportive local villagers there to cheer us along.
Iyengar Yoga has been a passion for 20 years and provides a perfect counter-balance to running. It improves upper body strength and helps maintain flexibility and mobility. Use it or lose it comes to mind as yoga supports good posture, improves back strength, and the relaxation period balances body and mind.
So why run? Running provides a sense of complete freedom – meditation in motion – not achieved through other exercise. It is thinking time and planning time. A complex problem can be broken into achievable parts. Not knowing where to start with a project can easily be solved while on a run. Family or other problems can be put into perspective, so burdens are lifted.
Running “saved” me when Don was winding down his life. An early start did not impede in any way on him (he was not a morning person), so there would be regular exercise, lots of greetings to people I met and a positive attitude to facing the day.
There were bumps and bruises along the way and a broken rib. The worst injury was torn ankle ligaments in around 1994 caused by having too much fun trying to beat the tide on Milford Beach and landing on an unseen rock. All the rest of the trips and falls were entirely preventable – probably just absentmindedness and tiredness on long runs.
The ageing process meant that running morphed into walking and a course that could previously have been completed in 2 hours 10 became a three hour run/walk. Even in my 70’s every Saturday morning I head down through the green route from the Mon Desir to Devonport, along the waterfront, around North Head, back through Narrow Neck and onto Takapuna Beach to my home (around 18 kilometres). Running is pure joy!
Lockdown in 2021 provided time for new adventures, with regular walks around the coast from Takapuna to Browns Bay, or more often Torbay added to the repertoire sometimes with walking mate Graham Dorreen. A bus ride from Browns Bay or Torbay to Milford and then a walk around the rocks to Takapuna finished the walks – around three hours walking in total.
Dean Karnazes, Ultra Marathon Man says “I run because it always takes me where I want to go”. He said that running is a simple, primitive act but in its subtleties lies tremendous power. While not in any way wanting to compare myself to this maestro, reading his book finally gave me the answer to the question of why I run.
Expending energy creates new energy and I am lucky enough to have it in spades. The sense of freedom and isolation but also connectiveness with nature and the local community is powerful. It creates a fine balance between good mental health and good physical health.
Friendships are formed – people who share the passion and understand why there is a need to run who you meet up along the way. Steve Green, John Anderson and more latterly Clive Sligo (a walking pal) – salt of the earth people who had running in their veins, who I was lucky enough to meet up with on the journey and who to chat to while away the hours.
 University of Auckland, Medical and Health Sciences, Bone Marrow Study 2019
 Dean Karnazes, Ultra Marathon Man, Confessions of an All-Night Runner (2005), Allen & Unwin, NSW Australia
Rotorua Marathon 1980
- Chapter 27 -
A love of music is innate, and I am more rock chick than culture vulture. Our family grew up around music and even in her 80’s my Mother would buy a CD almost every time we went shopping. Music provides great inspiration and my taste in music evolved through popular, country and rock n roll.
The first ever concert was Dire Straits Brother in Arms concert in 1985 with my daughter Teresa. That was a momentous occasion and many other concerts followed – Bryan Adams, Andrea Bocelli, Garth Brooks, Eric Clapton, Leonard Cohen, Joe Cocker, Cold Chisel, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Guns n Roses, Nathan Haines, Highway Men, Billy Idol, Chris Isaac, Hugh Jackman, Elton John, Lenny Kravritz, Kris Kristofferson, KD Lang, Lyle Lovett, Fleetwood Mac, John Mellencamp, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Robert Plant (in Sydney), Queen, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Rolling Stones, Santana, Sole Mio, Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain and Neil Young to name a few.
There was always a curiosity about the artists and reading books to learn about how and why they developed as musicians became a passion of mine.
A home library includes biographies or autobiographies of Bono, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Dave Grohl, Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jagger, Dave McCartney, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Lou Reed, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend and Neil Young.
What I learnt from reading these books is that professional musicians are dedicated to their craft, they spend endless hours seeking perfection, they are artistically talented and highly committed to their art and performance. They also have interesting and fulfilling lives outside of music - Brian May CBE, Queen guitarist, has a PhD in Astrophysics, was Chancellor of Liverpool John Moore University from 2008-2013, was a 'science team collaborator' with NASA's New Horizons pluto mission, and has an astronoid named after him. Musicians are also of course husbands, wives, partners, fathers and mothers and some have complex lives.
There were also the musicals – Cats (London, Sydney, Auckland), Chess (London), Les Misérables (London, Auckland), Phantom of the Opera (New York, London, Auckland), Jersey Boys (Auckland) and School of Rock (Auckland). There is no favourite they are all wonderful stories set to music and performed by the most talented people on the planet.
My friend Sarah Dunning introduced me to ballet and we enjoyed performances from Cuban and Russian dancers and dancers from other exotic places as well as our own NZ Ballet Company. Cinderella was an absolute favourite performance – it was riveting.
I tell my grandchildren that (as well as people) the most essential elements of a home are Art, Books and Cool music. These have nourished and inspired me throughout my life.
The final journey will hopefully be a celebration of the gift of music with a selection of favourite artists and songs:
Eric Clapton – Stairway to Heaven
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Bob Dylan – Knocking on Heaven’s Door
Jack Johnson - New Paint
Ed Sheerin – Supermarket Flowers
Neil Young – Peaceful Valley Boulevard
School of Rock concert with Ella - it was a blast
- Chapter 28 -
In 2007-2008 an opportunity was provided to work with Kerry Clark OBE, Chief Executive of Bowls NZ, on a project to try to address issues identified within the sport. There were a diminishing number of members and an increasing number of casual participants involved in playing bowls (nothing has changed since).
Travelling around the country visiting the many bowling clubs and hosting discussion groups became a way of life for a time. Significant reports were produced, and agreements were reached but it was hard to persuade an entrenched view that things were okay as they were.
There was also an opportunity around this time to work with Auckland Bowls on a facility plan to resolve issues around the number and placement of bowling clubs. Whole communities had changed with a culturally diverse population, and bowling clubs were not necessarily in the right place, and as a result many clubs were struggling to be sustainable. Again, it was difficult to get movement and some clubs suffered death by a thousand cuts.
When seeking new activities to get involved with (as work slowed down), in 2019 I joined Takapuna Bowling Club. If I had a calling in bowls, I left my run too late, but nevertheless enjoy the friendship and comraderie of my bowling club members. Sometimes I play well but there are lots of forgettable moments as well. I suspect if I started earlier and dedicated myself to bowls, I could have been a handy bowler. I did manage to win two club titles in 2021 - Graded Fours and Junior (years 1 - 5) pairs with Margaret Hooker - so will have my name on the honours board for posterity.
The club has excellent leadership in Graham Dorreen and is thriving, with a growing membership and some younger members. In 2020, the club was seeking new Board members and thus another chapter has opened up. My role is to bring some new thinking to the Board to complement the skills of existing members. All part of giving back to the community.
Bowling at the Takapuna Bowling Club in 2021.
- Chapter 29 -
Rotary describes itself as a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders and problem solver's who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.
Rotary International promotes peace, fights disease, provides clean water, sanitation and hygiene, saves mothers and children, supports education and the environment and grows local communities. It truly is an impressive organisation with volunteers who give enormous amounts of quality time.
An invitation to join Rotary came at a time when I was looking for organisations that provided opportunities to socialise while contributing back to the community. Rotary talks about people who are Rotary in ‘name only’ and that probably aptly described me for several years until a decision was made to become President of North Harbour Rotary.
Rotary rotates its office holders, so it was an 18-month commitment of time and energy culminating in a first-ever combined North Shore Rotary stand at the Home and Garden Show with a raffle for an e-bike, an e-scooter and gift basket which raised funds for all of the participating Rotary clubs.
There were lots of other activities during my Presidential term including Ronald McDonald House dinners, Tuff Crater environmental project, Mitre 10 fundraising BBQs, Browns Bay market stall, support for Hospice, Kids Can and other charities. All in a day’s work.
I am enormously proud of what North Harbour Rotary has achieved. This includes hosting Rotary Exchange Students in New Zealand, sending Rotary Exchange Students overseas, supporting the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, being actively involved with the ROMAC programme (children with mainly heart defects coming to NZ for surgery), JR McKenzie Trust supporting children with school uniforms and books, and in its earlier days supporting establishment of the YES Disability Centre.
In 2021 my services to Rotary were rewarded with a Paul Harris Fellowship which 'recognised and appreciated the tangible and significance to furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations amongst the people of the world'. This is the highest honour a local Rotarian can receive and an acknowledgement from fellow Rotarians of the value of the service provided.
North Harbour Rotary change-over in 2020 – back as a Director for another year.
- Chapter 30 -
Pinewoods Holiday Park
Pinewoods Holiday Park is on a 34 acre site on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, with its own private beach and spectacular views to Orewa and Red Beach. There are 246 baches at Pinewoods with shareholders who have the right to live there, or use them as holiday homes. There are also 68 annual site holders who live or holiday at the park as well as many casual campers.
In 2018 an opportunity came up to buy shares in Pinewoods Holiday Park, with a view to creating a home for daughter Teresa. We set about stripping it out and rebuilding it into a quality home, with new kitchen, bathroom, lounge and kitchen and fully insulated throughout. Teresa did a great job with the interior design and it really is of show home standard.
The views from the cliffs at Pinewoods Holiday Park are phenomenal. The Park stretches from Red Beach at the southern end to Orewa Beach and beyond at the northern end of the park. From Teresa’s bach it is a short walk to Jacob’s Ladder and down to a private beach known as The Cove. There is an easy walk at low tide around to Red Beach or along Orewa Beach.
When we bought shares in Pinewoods there was an opportunity to serve as a Director of Pinewoods Holiday Park Limited and my appointmernt was confirmed in 2019. The park is well served by its Chairman, Warren Rogerson.
My contribution to date has been knowledge of the process for applying for Resource Consent for removal of Pohutakawa trees at the Mon Desir site, which has been applied to the situation at Pinewoods Holiday Park.
At the Mon Desir property we had 8 Pohutakawa trees to manage (4 of which fell). At Pinewoods there are 248 Pohutakawa trees, some of which cause structural damage to the Baches. An opportunity to lead the project included working with a planning consultancy, engineers, geotech specialists, arborists, iwi and Auckland Council staff in order to prepare a resource consent application for removal of the trees causing the damage.
Mediation in disputes and ensuring responsible management of the cliff face were other activities where I could take a lead. Using knowledge about swimming pool management has enabled me to prepare a report on a proposal to establish a swimming pool at Pinewoods. There are many ways to contribute to life at Pinewoods Holiday Park and as a shareholder it is a privilege to be involved in shaping the future of the park.
Teresa’s Bach at 1 Neptune Avenue, Pinewoods Holiday Park
- Chapter 31 -
Tattoo(s) and Fast Cars
In 2016, while attending the Women’s World Softball Championships in Surrey, Vancouver a beautiful tattoo was produced by local artist Andrea Hart at White Rock Tattoo Studio. It was more than a spur of the moment decision. The idea had been rattling around for some time. Don would never have approved – neither would our mother or father!
It was purely an expression of freedom to make my own decisions about my own life, without reference to anyone else and answerable to no one! A decision made and never regretted.
Apologies to my family if the grandmother has set a bad example for the grandchildren!
After the rattly old cars I drove during my younger years, and after many years of being provided with a work vehicle by firstly North Shore and then Manukau City Councils, it was time to own a car of my choice.
My first quality vehicle was a gun-metal grey Peugeot 207 which was a nippy little car but impractical as there was hardly any room in the back for the children. I used to get the grandchildren to get into 'yoga cross-leg' poses to fit into the back seat.
The next car was a white Fiat 500 which surprisingly had more leg room than the Peugeot. I named the car Matilda or Tilly for short. I looked everywhere for a car that was different than the run of the mill cars - they all looked the same - and found a brand new Italian manufactured Fiat for $20,000. It was love at first sight and probably the quickest sale the salesperson ever made - all style over substance. If it looked good I assumed that what was under the hood worked! Unfortunately after a couple of loved up years someone ran into me at an intersection while I was stationary, and the Fiat was written off.
I searched everywhere for another Fiat but couldn't find one with a low mileage and no more were being imported because the price had risen to a point where they were considered unaffordable.
I had to have a vehicle so bought a Suzuki Swift - black with silver stripes. It is a great car and easy to drive. But it wasn't a Fiat so I kept looking until I found a black and red Fiat convertable on Trade Me for $15,000 with only 20,000 kilometres on the clock. Every family has 2 cars right? So now I have a summer car and a winter car. If you have to be sensible when you are 70+ then there is something wrong with the world!
That tattoo – freedom of expression.
First Peugeot in election finery.
Proud new Fiat 500.
The Suzuki Swift 2020.
Suzee Swift 2020.
- Chapter 32 -
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped New Zealand in its tracks. My family working in travel, tourism, hospitality, medical services and beauty therapy were unexpectedly unemployed (or under-employed) with little chance of being employed within the short-medium term.
The country was ravaged by the impacts of this disease, and although few lives were lost the economic impact will reverberate for years to come. Borders were porous and 100% of those who spread the virus came through the border (and continue to do so) with insufficient controls in place to prevent the spread.
The Government’s message was ‘go early and go hard’. They went late and everything got too hard for them. Insufficient personal protection equipment for front-line workers was provided throughout the pandemic, they struggled to close the border, they struggled to get community testing in place, and they scrambled for answers and came up empty.
There were businesses closed that need not have been – butchers, greengrocers, and bakeries – and people were herded into high risk supermarkets where there was panic shopping. The impact on people as we entered a lock down of five weeks was enormous. The damage to the economy is inestimable and the fall-out from mental health and social issues potentially huge.
According to former NZ Reserve Bank Economist Ian Harrison flawed modelling, which failed to include the impact of contact tracing, testing and isolation, resulted in a prediction of between 8,600 and 14,400 deaths if the initial eradication policies failed. Correct modelling would have resulted in a prediction of 160 deaths.
As a result of this flawed modelling urgent cancer treatments and other critical medical treatments were deferred as the hospitals were emptied out and sat largely idol while the lockdown measures were in place. People were at risk of dying or had traumatic and completely unnecessary delays in getting medical assessment and treatment because of the Government's actions.
Mothers gave birth without support from their partners and family (including those who lost babies at birth) and were traumatised. It was completely unnecessary and an over reaction to the risks faced. For families suffering bereavements it was equally devastating as families couldn't have funeral services.
The Wriggles were granted special exemptions while at the same time a New Zealander dying of cancer who wanted to come home to see his Mum was denied entry (later reversed after public pressure). Husbands and wives of essential workers in New Zealand were trapped overseas, while the government let people in to watch the Americas Cup.
MIQ hotels were porous and New Zealand used as a gateway to Australia by some who abused the privilege of a government paid 14 days in isolation, while other deserving cases were denied.
The Government set up a hot line for people to report non-compliance with lock-down rules. This set neighbour against neighbour, mate against mate, family member against family member. Around 6,000 reports were lodged in the first lockdown. This is so appallingly contrary to our values and incomprehensible why people bought into this socialist state rhetoric.
Never has there been a time in New Zealand’s history when freedom of speech was so compromised. ‘Group think’ took hold and anyone who disagreed with the Prime Minister was vilified. Two people were arrested for threatening to kill then leader of the opposition, Simon Bridges, because he dared to question the government's actions. People were irritated if the media questioned the government. Meanwhile Rome burned.
There will no doubt be a study of the psychology of this response but a possibility is people were so frightened by what was happening that the consequence of the Government being wrong was incomprehensible so they weren’t prepared to listen to any contra views.
As an older person, in a comfortable financial position, the impact is relatively minor, apart from the social isolation after a busy life. It does not matter if there is work to follow. Older people are not about to lose their homes and their shirts.
The people who will pay for this are the young people who are out of work and scrambling for their futures and who will pay for the $100 billion of government borrowing. Many have lost their ability to pay rent and are suffering food poverty with reliance on handouts to eat while they wait for the economic recovery.
Writing this memoir would not have happened if not for COVID-19 as there was not time with a busy schedule of work, voluntary roles, court work, weddings and an active social life.
There was more time to go walking and running and throughout the lockdown a daily ritual of 2-3 hours outdoor activity was maintained. This helped fill the hours in the day, it provided a routine, and made things much more manageable.
In our neighbourhood – stretching from Milford to Devonport – there were literally thousands of families out cycling or walking the beach. It was a time of really connecting and slowing people down to enjoy a new pace of life.
The family and friends were incredibly supportive, checking in to see if I was okay (and me checking they were okay). It will be a time never to be forgotten as we lived in our own bubbles and practiced social distancing.
The second lockdown in September 2021 was a direct result of the government's slow and soft approach to the vaccine roll-out (the slowest in the world), no plans in place for Delta, and a leaky border. MedSafe was inexplicably and inexcusably slow to approve the vaccine, the government did not enter into the first supply agreement until 6th October 2020 for delivery in February 2021. The second agreement was signed in March 21 for delivery in the second half of 2021. Delta arrived in the first half of 2021 and we were unprepared. People queued for 7 hours or longer for a test and suddenly and belatedly the government decided we should all get a vaccine as quickly as possible. Home testing has never arrived, rapid saliva testing is banned, MIQ management is in disarray, essential workers are locked out, people cannot get home to work or be with their families, and the government refuses to commit to a vaccination target (but is happy to piggyback on the media's target). The government's mismanagement is beyond belief while businesses suffer, people lose their jobs, and the mental health of people declines.
Words of Wisdom
Influential and Other Quotes
Quotes have influenced, inspired, and challenged me throughout my adult life. These have been most influential in shaping me as a workplace and community leader:
- What ever made you successful in the past won't in the future
- Everything is an opportunity.
- Always think you can - never think you can’t.
- Bring me solutions not problems.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Criticism is an opportunity - not a threat
- It is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.
- Fake it until you make it.
- Always keep your eye on the prize.
- You never know how strong you are until you need to be strong.
A book I highly recommend is Avoid Retirement and Stay Alive (2009), Bogan, D. & Davies K, Harper Collins. Retirement (withdraw from society) was dreamed up by governments as means of putting us older folk out to pasture to make way for younger and stronger recruits. Now we have a skills shortage. The pressure to reach a certain age and stop working is huge - it is what people believe is expected of us.
I am not and never will be 'retired'. I am actively living and enjoying life too much to withdraw from society. I may choose to do less paid work and more unpaid work and have more time for family, to travel, to walk, to listen to music, to meet friends and play bowls, but I am very definitely not retired - it is not in my vocabulary.
Many people wait until they are 'retired' to do the things you want to do. Drink it while it is fizzy. If you want to and can travel, do it, buy a campervan, spend more time with family, dance like there are no tomorrows.
At 75, I am still a work in progress. There have been several drivers in life. Coming from a large, stable family taught resilience and instilled an unbreakable work ethic. The financially distressed years of an early marriage and then life as a single mother of three built a determination to be financially independent. Resilience and hard work were the right ingredients to achieve this.
My advice to my younger self would be as follows:
- Be the best possible version of yourself you can be.
- Constantly reinvent yourself – try new things, be inspired at any age.
- Life is an adventure - enjoy the journey.
- Make mistakes and learn from them.
- Always be inquisitive and enquiring.
- Be resolute, be hopeful, be tolerant and be kind.
- Whatever you do, do to the best of your ability.
Having strong support from family throughout life has been very important. Parents who cared, strongly held values that sustain one throughout life, a loving family, a good network of friends who care, a strong connection to the community – always giving and not taking – have led to living a full and rewarding life.
These are quotes that provide personal motivation.
- I am not sitting around waiting to die.
- If not me then who, if not now then when?
- Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional.
- If it is unkind, untrue or uncalled for, don't say it.
- Live each day like it is your last – one day you will be right.
- If life hands you a lemon make lemonade.
- The more you give the more you get in return.
- Every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.
- Keep your moral compass pointing north.
- Live well, love much, leave a legacy
This book is a legacy and my blessing for you. It provided a chance to explore and learn about our family's history and to share that information for the benefit of current and future generations; it documents a life that has been well lived; it provides an opportunity to acknowledge people who have been influential in my life; finally it documents the importance of my own family and the love they have provided that has both driven and nurtured me in life.
Nga mihi nui and Kia Kaha to all.