Baines, Gary Andrew Interview
Good morning. Today is Thursday 4th November 2021. I am Lyn Sturm, and I have been given the privilege of interviewing Gary Baines of Clive. I’ll hand it over to you now.
Thank you, Lyn. My name is Gary Andrew Baines, and I was born on Wednesday 20th May 1942. I’m the second son of Arlene … we always called Mum Claude … and George Baines, and I’ve got a brother, Ted, and a sister, Sue.
My grandparents were May and Ted Baines who lived in Hastings, and my great-grandparents were settlers in Ormondville. They arrived there in 1870 on the ‘Hudson’, which was an immigrant ship; arrived in Napier and walked straight to Ormondville. They were supposed to have been assisted immigrants, but they arrived in Ormondville and they had an eight hundred acre farm there … purchased that, so how they got it I don’t know. Any rate, Charles Baines was his name; he subdivided the farm; eight sons got a farm each, and that was in Ormondville. So my great-grandparents were there; my grandfather was born there, my grandmother was born in Ormondville; and that’s my heritage really, is Ormondville. But we actually come from Widdington in Kent [Essex] when they came from England on the ‘Hudson’ in [the] 1870s … 1874 I think it was, yeah. So that’s my heritage, is English.
My mother’s side … my mother was a Baxter, and her mother was a Mahoney. Her mother was a mystic that [who] travelled the circuses reading crystal balls etcetera, etcetera; and Mum was very superstitious, [she] could read teacups, and read palms – I can still read palms. [She] came to New Zealand and married my grandfather, Andrew Baxter, from Edinburgh. He was Scottish, so we’ve got Scottish, Irish, English, you name it [chuckles] – a good mixture. But very proud of my heritage that way.
A lot of burials in Ormondville … the cemetery there – there’s [there’re] Baines everywhere; Marshes everywhere, which was my grandmother’s maiden name. Grandfather Baines was on the board for Waipawa Counties, and he was Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge … Freemason … something like that. We’ve got photos of him with all his regalia on. But I’m very proud of my heritage.
Mum was completely different to Dad. Mum was brought up in Welling[ton]; she was the Dux of Wellington College; she taught ballet; she was a writer under the nom de plume of ‘Casper’ to [for] Wellington newspapers; stuff like that. And she shifted from Wellington to Napier … to Richmond which is Maraenui … and Dad was born and bred in Ormondville. When a young boy [he] was shepherding; stuff like that, and loved his motorbikes – which I still do. Complete opposites, Mum and Dad, but they were such a … never heard one argument. Never one squabble; just complete opposites. Mum was so clever, and Dad was just so clever with his hands, but just easy going; beautiful man, you know, so I had a beautiful, beautiful childhood. Yeah … very, very happy. I don’t think I ever heard Mum and Dad ever have one squabble – ever. And yet they weren’t ‘yes and no’ people, but they were excellent people. So I was lucky all the way through, yeah.
So Mum and Dad shifted from Ormondville to Hastings and they lived in Mahora in a State house. I went to Mahora School; ‘Piki Haere’ [Keep on Climbing], and from there went to Hastings Intermediate when they first opened – I was a foundation pupil there. And I was twelve years old when I went to high school. And I went to Third Form; I was in General, but then they selected the top five students in the General classes in those Forms – at Hastings Boys’ High [School] it was then – and they put me into the Professional class. So I went in 4PG which was the sort of class that was ‘up there’, so we thought.
But I was very good at art; I could sketch; you know, paintings, that sort of [stuff] – I sold a painting when I was twelve; an oil painting. So I was very good at art, and Mr Fuller … Geoff Fuller … he actually came round to Mum and Dad [and] said, “This boy’s got to go overseas to get that …” Mum and Dad didn’t have the money so I didn’t go.
But anyway, I was studying – what would you call it? Not clerical, but office sort of management side; stuff like that. It’s got a name now, hasn’t it? That side of it. And I was in the Fifth Form – I’d sat all my exams, did what I had to do and that sort of stuff – and this opportunity came up to work as an office junior to a parts company, EW Pidgeon & Company, which is a New Zealand-wide company. And Mum and Dad, I remember Mum wanted me to keep going, and Dad said, “No, here’s an opportunity for him to do that”, so that’s how I got involved with automotive. Completely different to what I was going to be, yeah.
Any rate, I started at EW Pidgeon & Company as office junior in 1958. I was promoted at twenty-three to Branch Manager of Napier, the youngest Branch Manager they’d had there. In 1970 Motor Traders took over the operation and I was promoted as Hawke’s Bay Area Manager; and then Andrews & Beaven took over Motor Traders New Zealand Limited, and I was Hawke’s Bay Area Manager for Andrews & Beaven Limited.
In 1983 that company changed to AB Equipment Limited, which is still going – a big corporation in Omahu Road, Hastings. So I started that branch there in ‘83; I opened the branch there and I retired in 1997; got to fifty-five. I said, “That’s enough of too much pressure.” I’d had the two biggest forklift rental operations in New Zealand based in my area; made a lot of money, and thought, ‘Well I don’t need to work, I’m quite happy.’ And the company said, “You’re not going to retire”; they spent $30,000 on a farewell do at Ormlie Lodge with bands and flowers … [chuckles] and paid me two years as a consultant, not to go anywhere else, not to go to the opposition. So I was a consultant for two years, floating round … don’t know what I did, but I had to sign up not to go to the opposition.
But the company were really, really good to me. I had a new Toyota Camray [Camry] – they gave me that as a sort of plus … you know, bonus and that sort of stuff, so I was very well looked after. But in that period of time when I was there, I was a Council member for the Institute of Materials Handling; Diploma in [from] Geoff Barton Associates for Sales Management; Diploma for [from] JP Young & Associates for Creative Salesmanship; Diploma from Dale Carnegie in Human Relations; Diploma in [from] Dale Carnegie Public Speaking; Diploma in [from] Xerox for Focused Selectional Interviewing of staff; won a lot of competitions – travelled the world with competitions, and went to the Italian Grand Prix – all paid for. Trips to Thailand, trips to Japan through Toyota which was one of the franchises we sold … Toyota forklifts and heavy machinery … all paid for by the company, so I was really well looked after. But, fifty-five … ‘That’s it, I’ve had enough.’ So I mucked around for a little bit doing fishing and fixing up classical motor bikes.
And … I suppose [I] had to do something; so my niece was working at Birdwoods Gallery in Havelock North … art gallery and stuff in Havelock North. She was doing the gardening, and she said, “Uncle Gary, I need a hand!” So [I] went out there, and I was muckin’ round doing [a] lot of fixing; and Louise Stobart, the Zimbabwean lady that [who] runs the whole operation – and they’ve opened in Parnell; they’ve opened in Arrowtown actually now, Birdwoods – she come [came] and said, “Oh Gary, can I see you?” And I said, “What for?” She said, “Oh, how about ..?” And I said, “Not really, I’m too busy fishing and [chuckles] riding motorbikes, and drinking beer and chasing women.” [Chuckles] Any rate, she said, “Come into the office; can I see you?” So I didn’t have a show, and I’ve been there fifteen years now; and I work two days a week. I’m just part of the crew, I just do what I’ve got to do; bring a lot of work home; fix antique chairs and tables and a lot of African art; I fix a lot of paintings, I fix a lot of sculptures. I fix a lot of stuff in the gallery like electronic stuff – old games and bits and pieces – I do them all up and they resell them. So I’m very … love doing it; keeps the brain working. So I’m still working but I retired twenty-five years ago. [Chuckle] Right, that’s basically my work history.
Sport-wise … I like my sport, cross-country, stuff like that. I remember I won the Junior, Intermediate and Senior – no, I was second, second, second – at Boy’s High at cross-coun[try] – there was always one chap always beat [me], David Beard. Could never win it; might be four hundred boys – always second. That was David Beard. But I loved my long-distance running, athletics, and the rifle teams at Hastings Boys’ High. And then when I left to start work as an office junior I joined the Hastings High School Old Boys’ Rugby Club with all of my mates; got into that sort of stuff. I was never big enough, but I played
Hastings Junior Rep [Representatives] as a second five [five-eighth] – quick enough but not big enough. I played Senior Rugby for Hastings High School Old Boys for four years, I think. Here again, I enjoyed it – quick but not big.
[Chuckle] So … you’d get KR Tremain, I was playing against [chuckles] … “You all right, sonny?” [Chuckle] But I enjoyed it and did well, but I was never big enough to go any further; with junior stuff I was all right.
Then I left when I [was] promoted to Napier; gave up the rugby, and I coached Taradale Under 21s for eight years … rugby. Had some good teams, we used to go and play rep rugby. And then my son started playing for Tech, [Napier Technical Old Boys] and I coached them for a little bit; and then I was patron of Haumoana Rugby Club. [Chuckle] I was the only honky [chuckle] in the club; but they’re defunct now, but I sponsored them for a long time.
After that … okay, got older. Got onto a few old classic motorbikes, and that’s been my hobby ever since – I just do up old bikes. I’ve only got twelve left at the moment, from Indians to Triumphs to Valocettes to Sunbeams – really old stuff, worth a lot of money in the shed. I sold two of them recently – sold a [an] X75 Hurricane for $37,000, a motorbike; and another BSA Goldstar, Isle of Man race bike, went to a museum in Japan. Kathy, my wife, said, “That’s a lot of money”, and bought our motorhome with two motorbikes that I couldn’t start because they were too big for me. [Chuckles] I still go ‘bout twice a week, still riding bikes; just don’t do the big distances now. We used to go out to Ākitio and stuff like that, riding bikes all the time. I’d take the Indian out all the time; my cobber’s got that at the moment. Got to pick that up this afternoon, the Indian … 1941 Indian.
So you belong to a motorcycle club?
Hawke’s Bay Classic Motorcycle Club. I was secretary/treasurer there for many years when they first started their clubrooms. Now there’s a hundred and fifty members and it’s [a] very, very strong social club, yeah. And that’s why Pauline’s husband, Maurice, rang me about his Mobylette – I’ve got his Mobylette in the garage there; that was Maurice’s old bike. He knew I was in Classics and knew me when he was with Kiwi, [and] that I was interested in old bikes, and he said, “Come and pick up this bike.” And that’s in my shed now; it’s a Mobylette. I always say, “It’s a French bike, ‘bout 1950; it was owned by Bridget Bardot.” But it wasn’t. [Chuckles] We had a bike show there at the Showgrounds just recently and a TV crew comes round, and they interviewed myself with the Indian; and I had the Sunbeam and other stuff … “What about this bike?” And I said, “Oh, well that’s Bridget Bardot’s”; and all of a sudden they’re, “Oh, was it really?” I said, “Well I say it is.” [Chuckle] It was French, come from the French … wherever, you know – it could’ve been.
You did say you were Irish, didn’t you?
Yeah, [chuckle] yeah. And the LE Valocette which is an old cop’s [police] bike, I still ride that round. That was interviewed at the show too, so … yeah.
I’m secretary of the Clive Surfcasting Club which is just locals. We meet in the Clive Hotel, but we’ve got our own club behind the Clive Hall. Up the top behind the curtains there’s another little room up there – or quite a big room – that looks out over the river. It’s all done up, and that belongs to our Club; we don’t pay any rent, but I do the lawns, so that’s the rental, so by looking after it we get free rental there. But it belongs to the community, so what the hang? But I look after it and do the lawns for the Clive Surfcasting Club, which I’m still doing. So I go fishing quite a bit; love my fishing. Don’t catch anything.
So do you have a boat?
No – we go to Waipatiki in the motorhome every year, and all my nephews’ve got a Thundercat, which is a surf rescue boat which they can get out in the sea at Waipatiki. I fish off the beach now [chuckle] – let the young fellows go out ‘cause they’re in mid-air, and smashing around; so we go and use that. We stay every year for ‘bout three weeks over Christmas, about thirty of the family, and fish up there. We take the motorhome; got a tent, and the grandkids come, and …
That sounds awesome.
Yeah, it’s beautiful. I leave them to it – I go fishing on my own in the morning. [Chuckle] But it’s beautiful, yeah. And the kids’re all growing up now – they used to be individuals, and now they want their girlfriends to come with them, and their boyfriends to come with them so we had rows in one of the sections down below – girls that side, boys that side. Didn’t work … [chuckle] didn’t work. But we enjoy it, and the kids’re just growing up and loving it; it’s good for them, so ‘bout the 22nd I think we leave again this year, for Waipatiki; booked every year.
And then while I was living in Clive, the Clive Lions which is now defunct … there was [were] two people there; there was Darryl Gregory and Brian Sands … they were the president and so-and-so, of the Clive Lions in the area then, and they had the money; they’re locals, and they approached me because they knew I loved history and i had all the photos; I kept showing these boys photos, stuff like that; “What about writing a book?” I said, “I’m not really an author, I can’t write a book.” So they went on and on; they pestered me, and I said, “Well, I’ll have a crack. What do you do?”
My niece is a Gail Broadbent; she’s written five or six books. She works at Moderini [Wardini] Books in Hastings Street. Any rate, she helped and got me started what to do, and … I mean, it was a bit daunting – number one, you had to get the money – you had to have a sponsor behind you to do that sort of stuff; number two, you had to – if you’re going to do it you’ve got to do it properly with the history, otherwise you get blown to bits; number three, they said, “You’re never going to do it – you’re too easy-going sort of thing, you know – you’ve got to be dedicated.” And I said, “Well, I’ve done everything else I want to do, I’ll do that.” “You’re never going to do it.”
Took me a while but I got there, but as you’ll know, Lyn, with history a lot of travelling around interviewing, and knocking on doors and interviewing. And any rate, I said, “Well this is too much for myself.” So through Darryl, and Brian Sands, and Myles Girvan – I drink with Myles on Friday nights; Myles is a local accountant sort of stuff – they set up a trust so Myles could handle the money, and they can hand[le it if it] got too big. And two of the others on the trust wrote to different people like Selwyn Cushing, who was a Clive boy, and stuff like that; the money came in through them; we had the money there all right. I wanted to get it right through from pre-European. I did about thirty pages of pre-European which I thought was pretty good; got bettered by Rose … Rose Mohi. And Rose sort of blew that to bits – “Where did that come from?” I got all my Māori stuff from Matahiwi which is our marae, and through the kaumātuas there … Mickey or Darky Unahi. She said, “No, that’s wrong”, and I said, “Well I got it from my people.” She said, “Don’t listen to them, they’re river people.” She’s from Waimarama, so … Any rate, Rose was nice about it; and I wiped the whole lot – I wiped the pre-European section completely. And I’d done all that work; I wiped it.
So you didn’t include it at all in the book?
No. I did … all the myths and everything, I wiped all that sort of stuff. I did that, I did all the pās …
Oh, the basics.
Lot of the stuff I got from Kay Mooney’s book … oh, the Hawke’s Bay County Council books – you’ve seen those? Did all that; from the pās – a lot of that from there; lot of that from just asking around various people. But the local knowledge now is completely wrong, from even Kay Mooney’s time which was 1960s, sort of stuff. What she says is different from what people are saying now, so … just word of mouth, word of mouth, word of mouth. So I put in there, basically from what Kay wrote in her book, or from County Council records, but I wiped all the pre-European myths and stories. Unless it’s written down, just forget about it.
It’s a shame.
Shame, yeah. It was a lot of work to get that too … wow. But a lot of it is now opposed to what … like, Te Reo is trying to say now with Māori language, stuff like that; like Aotearoa, which was never a name, Aotearoa, pre-European. There were different names for different islands; they were island people, They did not have a name pre-European for Aotearoa; stuff like that. But, you’ve just got to go with the flow, [chuckle] don’t you? I think you do. Any rate, I got that sort of stuff.
Then I started on the very early … so interesting in Waipūreku, which is where East Clive was … where it is; from Barney Rhodes arriving there to Joseph Rhodes opening it up, subdividing it. And all those paper roads are still there – not built on but still there. Collected a lot of old photos, bits and pieces; any rate, just about ready to do something with it and I had a presentation at the Clive Library [for] Landmark[s]; a lady there was running the history side of it in those days. She said, “What about it?” And I said, “I’m not going to do a presentation.” Any rate, she said, “Leave it to us.” So they arranged with [for] the photo bits and pieces …
So where is the Clive Library?
No, this is the Hastings Library, sorry … Hastings Library. We’ve got one in Haumoana, we haven’t got one in Clive. Yeah. Any rate, so I did that presentation and I thought, ‘There won’t be many there’; and it was chock-a-block – you couldn’t move. They had to get extra seats and stuff like that. It was done so well, and I did what I did. Any rate, a chap walked up at the end of it – he said, “I’m Clive [Craig] McErlich; I live in Clive, and my mother started doing the history of Clive. She never finished it and she’s passed away, and I’ve got collections of this, and I’ve got collections of that.” And I … “Whooh! Don’t …” and I grabbed him. And we’re good mates now, he’s been all the way through with me, and without his knowledge it would’ve been bloody hard. Yeah, yeah; so Craig McErlich …
So it was meant to be?
Meant to be. He arrived; he heard there was going to be something about Clive, and he said, “Well Mum started that.” She’d got, you know a long time ago, early photos; she had the whole collection of most of them. So I grabbed Craig and went round his place, and he helped me so much, you know. I sort of got the ball rolling; I got the trust going and got what we had to do etcetera – arranged for this, arranged for that, arranged [to] get it published, and get it vetted by Judy Siers. I gave her the manuscript which I’d done, went to her place, and here again it was hand done. I’d dictate and my niece would write it down for me, and Judy sort of ripped that to bits [chuckle] and said, “Where did that come from?” But here again, she said, “You’ve got to be brutal; you’ve got to be right otherwise they’ll kill you”, so she was brilliant. Judy – we paid her big money to do it – she cut it down from a foot thick to about two or three inches thick; just cut it to pieces, “Don’t need that, don’t need that, don’t need that.” So what’s in the book … I’ve got treble that … The History of Clive. Yeah; sitting somewhere. A lot of that I’ve given to Craig; he’s very good at [with] computers; I’m not. He’s put it all on computer; you just click a button and there’s all the rows and rows and rows and rows of photos of Clive; rows and rows and rows of them.
Do you think he might do another book?
No. No, we’ve talked about it. I was talking to Craig last week actually, and I’ve given him some copies of four books of Kay Mooney’s Hawke’s Bay County Records. No, he wants to do something on the Clive Cenotaph. All those soldiers on there, he’s just about got every single one of them – photos and histories of the men – there’s twenty-three local boys that did not come back, on that Cenotaph [at] Clive. From all the wars, mind you, yeah. That’s a lot, isn’t it, from a little community?
Any rate, Craig’s been invaluable. So we’re good mates; he said, “No, I don’t want to do it.” He said, [chuckle] “Too much mucking around.”
Any rate, we did it; we got the money, got Judy to do it. She said, “Got to be an index.” So we got an index; that cost her $2,000 just to get an index done. Judy did all that; we just left it to her and kept paying the money out to her, and she did a brilliant job. Judy Siers – we were so rapt to have her. She’s written two or three books, really top books.
So where was it actually published? Was it offshore or in New Zealand?
New Zealand, yeah. We said, “Right, let’s do it.” We had the money, we got set on a price, how many we wanted to do; whether we were going to sell five hundred or a thousand … who knows? So right – got it promoted, we’re going to have a book launch; Jimmy Crook was one of the trust members … Jim Crook … he was like a ball of energy. He kept ringing up these people, and “Do this, do that”; and he got the papers and the newspaper reports. He promoted it so well. He said, “Right, we’re going to have a book launch in the Clive Rugby Club.” I said, “Oh yeah – book launch; about half a dozen and a dog.” And we had it there, and there was that many people at the book launch – there was at least five hundred. You could not move, and there was that many cars came in the driveway, and people said, “We drove away, we just couldn’t get in.” [At] the book launch we had four people behind a desk selling the books. We sold every single one within a fortnight, the ones that weren’t pre-booked. We made … with the money that had been donated and stuff like that and the price of the books … we made $37,000, which the trust gave to Clive Rugby Club; the Clive School for their audio-visual …
Gone back to the community …
Went to the community, you name it, just … the community got the whole lot, so …
And you know that you cannot get a copy of that book?
You can’t get it.
More scarce than hen’s teeth.
Yeah, very, very … I still get phone calls for that book. The Hastings Library ordered twenty of them, and I said, “Twenty?” I know the lady that did the order and she said, “You watch, you can’t get it.” And now the books are lost; they pay the fine and get the books. And they’ve cut them down ‘cause there’s only a few that are left; that’s how they get the books. Can’t get them, so … That’s bad, isn’t it?
Isn’t it? But that’s the way to get them, yeah. And books have been on TradeMe, stuff like that, for sale; $100 for a copy.
And what did you sell them for?
$35. Yeah, and they just – bang – that’s why they went so quickly. Families are buying … “Give us four”; “Give us three”, and we’ll send them to Australia to the kids. And they still come up in the pub, “Oh, got any more books? My grandson wants one”, or something like that. I said, “No, you’re not going to get any more of those.” So that’s what happened in [with] the book.
And I’ve sort of helped out a few other people where I could; ladies like Lyn Sturm [chuckles] … stuff like that, ‘cause I appreciate the trouble that happens with writing history, even like Lyn has done. It ain’t easy. And sometimes you have people from Australia … one or two of the girls that were going backwards and forwards to Australia … they come back, “You finished that book yet?” [Chuckle] “Finished that book yet?” And drive me nuts, but you know, now they say, “Well congratulations – you did it.” Yeah. Family didn’t think I’d do it, but I did it.
Well I can now put this on record, that thanks to you, Gary, you made it so much easier for me when I did write that book. The day that I came here and spoke to you and you described how you had that big pile of information; and so I was aware of that so I didn’t have to go through that process myself. There was just so much that you told me from Papers Past and everything – it made my job so much easier.
And I do really, really appreciate that.
It was my pleasure. Yeah.
But I’ve made a lot of new friends through doing what I did, and there again, Craig is a very good cobber now, you know – him and his family. ‘Cause I was always round there; he’s round here. It was a real experience; an expedition experience, and you name it – it was amazing.
So are you regarded now as one of the grandfathers of Clive?
I am the heirachy [chuckle] of Clive [chuckle]. Yeah. [To] the Māori people in Clive I’m ‘Mr Baines’; even now if I go in the pub all the girls out the back, the Apiatas, Christies … they’re all good people. There’s always, “Hello, Mr Baines”, you know; always come up and give you a hongi, or “Come on, Mr Baines.” Even the men, ‘cause I looked after them and helped them and that sort of stuff, and really appreciate them, give them my respect, and you know, appreciate who they are, what they are, and ask them questions. And now I’m ‘Mr Baines’ to all those people out the back, you know. I take my bike in there – might be an Indian or a Triumph, something like that – and I might park it out the back. And, “Don’t touch that bike – that’s Mr Baines’ bike.” That’s how much respect they have there, yeah. Which is good, isn’t it?
It is really good.
The thing that we haven’t covered is your own family …
Yeah – well I told you about Mum and Dad and my grandparents and great-grandparents; I was so proud of them. My mother with her writing – you know, she was an authoress too; and my niece is an authoress.
So therefore it’s got to be in the genes.
My son, Matthew … Matthew’s my eldest. Matthew was born in 1966; he was a very clever boy. He was going to play merry hell, too; he ended up just surfing the world … travelled all over the world, to Samoa and … you name it. Got on well with Matthew, but I’d split up from my first wife, Angela, then, and Matthew sort of blew it from then. He went and lived with his mother, ‘cause I was living with my sister down in Clive for two years, on my own. Didn’t want to know woman [women] around like that. And Matt lived with his Mum, and he sort of chucked it all in and beggared off overseas. He was very clever academically; we’ve never had an argument, we get on so well. We’re good mates. Any rate Matt was in Germany, and he worked in Switzerland … Zurich … and then he went to Berlin. And he met this girl over there – he was a single boy, Matt was probably about twenty-seven, twenty-eight, something like that. And he met this girl, Rose, who was a communist, brought up in East Berlin. And couldn’t do much about it – lovely girl, Rose, any rate; so they got married, Rose and Matthew. Matthew got crook over in Berlin, and he had bladder cancer. Big, strong boy, twice as big as me, but … very nice boy. But Rose worked … theatre nurse in Berlin, and she and all her mates were doctors in Berlin; and he got the best top specialists’ attention in the world, for nothing more or less in Berlin. And any rate, they got married in the end, Rose and Matt, and they shifted down to Tikokino; bought a section, and shifted a house on at Tiko. Kathy and I went down and did it all up inside for them and that; we did all the outside for them, helped them along. And Matt and Rose are still in Tiko; they’re always popping in and stuff like that. They’re good mates. She was brought up in East Berlin; her father was a professor. He was captured by the Russians in the Second World War, and survived that. Imagine it! [Chuckle] He was very lucky, yeah; but because of his knowledge and that – who he was. But Rose was a Griepentrog; but she’s [a] good girl. They’ve got no kids, Matthew couldn’t have kids because of his problem. But he’s working for Mr Apple in Tikokino now, he’s a foreman down there; runs a big complex down there. And Matthew always had women chasing after [him], Matthew did. He’s a good boy, yeah. That’s Matty there.
Oh, he’s very smart.
He is; a lovely kid, yeah – beauty boy, nice kid. That was Matthew. I spoke to Matt a couple of days ago, actually – he rung me,“How’re you doing?” stuff like that. And he’s doing very well, so no problem with Matty.
Rebecca, my baby … Rebecca Louise Fleur, my little baby … she’s forty, something like that. She had two kids early, very young – Jessie and James. Didn’t work out with both partners, so she went back to EIT [Eastern Institute of Technology] and studied nursing, with two young kids, and we helped her along there; got all her diplomas, stuff like that. Went into Hastings Hospital for a little while there and then went over to Australia. I think she did midwifing [midwifery] for a starter, but now she’s in two operations in Toowoomba … two separate hospitals; on call all the time. Just bought a big property outside Toowoomba, a house as big as Ormlie Lodge; new Alfa Romeo car, so she’s doing very well, my baby, eh? She’s always on Facebook all the time to me, and she gets on well with Matt. And all the kids get on well with Kathy, not their mother – it’s [she’s] their step-mother. That was Kathy.
But I hate these phones and things [where] they talk to each other on their screens. She can do it from Australia, any rate; I said, “I’m not going on that damn thing.” [Chuckle] “When are you coming over?” I said, “I can’t go to Australia now because of Covid.” “Oh, all right.” No, Becky’s good.
Now my eldest daughter, Susannah Marie – she’s my wild one. She’s motorbikes, wild parties and you name it – she’s …
Chip off the old block. [Chuckle]
… she’s the wild one. We get on so well together, but she’s always been in trouble. She’s on her own now. Her oldest son’s coming for tea tonight with my great-granddaugter – Michael, Nevada, and the twins … yeah, so there’s …
How many grandchildren have you got?
Grandchildren – I’ve got seven, and I’ve got three great-grandchildren. I’ve got a fourteen year old great-granddaughter … fourteen? She comes and works for me at Birdwoods; I take her out there, you know, to fix things and meeting ladies and gallery stuff which is good for her, isn’t it? At that age.
Louise looks after her, and … “What are you doing now?” And they’re all top ladies; they’re lovely people, so she feels like … School holidays she rings me, “Any work?” “Yeah, come on.”
Yeah. So that’s good for a fourteen year old, yeah.
But Susannah … she never had an argument with me. She fights with Kathy now and again – both strong-willed; but she’s different completely, yeah; very clever, here again an artist, poetry and that – beautiful poetry. When Mum passed away she got up and said a eulogy for Mum that she’d written about Ormondville; and Nana Claude she called her, and the button jars … She’s a very clever girl, yeah, but just wild; [chuckle] a wild kid. She’s grown up, she;s about fifty or something now, but … drove me to drink, that girl. [Chuckle]
Still riding bikes obviously?
No, she’s not now. She can’t; she[‘s] hopeless, she couldn’t ride. She’s a shocking rider so she’s not allowed to ride now. Lost her licence speeding or something; she hasn’t got a licence. But the Indian, which is my Indian, it’s hers when I die. But she won’t ride it, she’ll have to put it in the shed. That’s my Indian there – that’s me, I’m Father Christmas on it. It’s a beautiful bike, yeah. That’s one that’s at my cobber’s place being fixed now.
So that’s my family, and my grandkids and great-grandkids; so they’re always hangin’ round … [Chuckle] They’re good, beautiful now – I’m very lucky, touch wood.
How many years have you lived here in Clive?
When I first got married I rented a house off [?Kumi?] Kupa in Middle Road, Havelock North. It was a farmhouse up in the hills, a small two bedroom cottage, and he let me have the rental there. But I used to go on the weekend nodding thistles and that sort of stuff for him, while I was working; and weekends I’d do that for him … work for him for no rent. I did it all up, painted it all up. I shifted from there to Ngatarawa Road in Bridge Pa, and I was about twenty-three then I think, just married sort of stuff … no, must’ve been about twenty-four then. But I’d been promoted to manage Napier branch; I had to shift, so I rented a house in Elbourne Street, [Taradale] then got enough money together to buy another house in Elbourne Street. I was making more money so I bought a house in Napier Terrace … a big architect-designed house in Napier Terrace. I thought I was Jack the Bear, but [chuckle] … the house, it didn’t make you any happier. [Chuckle] And any rate, things happened … split up; and I said I walked out with a suitcase and went and lived with my sister in School Road in Clive, and that was ‘bout forty-one, forty-two years ago … lived with Sue in Clive, and got on well with Robbie and Sue and the kids. I worked with Becky, who’s one of the twins that I lived with down there, sort of stuff. And we go to Waipatiki with the other daughter, so we’re very, very close.
And I was down there on my own, living there, and didn’t want to know woman [women] and things; I was too busy fixing bikes, and doing what I was doing – fishing and that. And Kathy … I employed Kathy a long time ago as a van driver. Her father worked at Firestone, and we had tyres and stuff like that; we used to sell tyres. And he said, “Oh – my daughter wants a job.” And I said, “All right, send her over.” I was looking for a van driver, and Kathy applied for the job. Got her there, and she was working away there; and I was happily married with Angela, and I didn’t know that she was keen on me. But any rate, she went overseas – she went to New Guinea and Australia, and she did some travel round; she didn’t get married or like that. She found out from her sister who lives in Napier that Gary Baines was on his own now. And all of a sudden I go to these dos with all my mates and that, and she started hangin’ round … [Chuckles]
It was meant to be …
“Where the hell did she come from?” And we always got on all right … and trapped me into marriage, you see. [Chuckles]
You love it!
Yeah. And best thing that ever happened to me … couldn’t’ve been happier, eh? It’s just fate, isn’t it?
Yep – paths are meant to cross …
How was that meant to be? Her father said, “Oh, what about … you know, an office girl, or junior?” And I said, “Oh” – ‘cause Kathy’s twelve years younger than me – so I said, “Oh yeah.” And she’d never got married; she wanted me and she couldn’t get me, so she buggered off. And she come [came] back and got me. Bloody woman! [Women] [Laughter] How do I know what’s going on? [Chuckles] And thank God – just fate, isn’t it?
That’s life; so it’s been a good life, hasn’t it?
You have had a very good life, Gary, and a very interesting life.
I love it, yeah.
And I’d like to thank you very, very much for spending this time with us and telling us about your life; really appreciate it, and we wish you all the very best …
Thank you, Lyn.
… for the rest of your retirement.
Original digital file
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ).
Commercial UsePlease contact us for information about using this material commercially.
Interviewer: Lyn Sturm
- Gary Andrew Baines