Barbara Joan Haywood Interview

This is Erica Tenquist, interviewing Barbara Haywood at Stoneycroft for the Knowledge Bank, and the date today is 16th October 2017. She’s been a resident in the district for most of her life and she has had connections with the Hawke’s Bay area all her life. Now over to you, Barbara.

My name is Barbara Joan Haywood; I was previously a Wilson. I now live on an orchard in Twyford, and I was a nurse before I retired. I wanted to do this interview for two reasons – one is, I have a great affection for Hawke’s Bay. I’ve known it my whole life. My grandparents moved up here, I think about 1930, after my grandfather retired from the Railways. I remember coming up to Hawke’s Bay at least once a year to visit them. Usually we drove up by car, and it was about a six hour journey from Lower Hutt, where I was living. I remember coming up once on the train with an aunt. I remember driving up we would always know we were getting near to Napier where my grandparents lived, when we saw the radio aerial up on the hill just south of Hastings, and I still go past that and remember the car trips. I remember picnics by the river; we used to go out … and I’m not sure which of the rivers it was, but by a bridge we used to come. The bridges used to have bumps in the middle where they’d been laid; we were told where they’d been laid about the war time, and you’d go bump, bump, bump; and we could count the bumps across the river. I remember visiting the bird sanctuary at Greenmeadows, and I believe that’s still there although I haven’t actually visited it since we’ve been back. We used to come up and watch the Blossom Parades, and we used to come up for the Highland Games.

How many of you were there … children?

There was myself, my brother and my sister. I was the eldest. My [grand]parents lived in a house on Shakespeare Terrace which had an access by lots of stairs right down onto Shakespeare Road, so you could walk to town by going down all these stairs, and then Shakespeare Road and into town.

I don’t remember much of my [grand]parents’ connections within Napier; they were [went] to St Paul’s Presbyterian, and I believe … and there’s a photo at home and I’ve looked for it; can’t find it … where my grandmother had some award for Order of St John, and I know she’s in one of the record books as belonging from 1938 to ’58 which would be the time in Napier, but I’m not sure what award she received there. And if I research it and find it I’ll add it to this later. So that’s my grandparents.

Now one of the real reasons I wanted to do this is because of my Auntie Maisie. Now Auntie Maisie had a private hospital called Langsyde. It was in conjunction with a surgeon but I cannot remember who the surgeon was. Originally it was in Clyde Road, and it was in Clyde Road in 1946, which was the year I was born, and I have been told about visits to the Clyde Road hospital as a child.

What was her full name, please?

She was Maisie Helen Wilson. She was unmarried. And then the one I remember was in Lincoln Road, and Lincoln Road’s got a bend in it, and you went down a little driveway down to the hospital. Now the private hospital there, after she sold it, became motels, and now I believe it’s just flats or apartments; I haven’t been there because it’s got ‘Private Road’ up, and I haven’t wanted to go down to pry.

Do you know how long the hospital actually ran for?

I was trying to remember that – I’ve looked at it quite a bit. Auntie Maisie died in 1981; the hospital must’ve closed about 1959-‘60. After she closed that she went to Pukeora Hospital out of Waipukurau for four or five years, as the matron there.

She would be involved with the TB patients there?

She was involved with disabled patients … disability people there. In 1958 it became a hospital for the disabled, and so it must have been either the last of the TB or the beginning of the disabled that she was there, so if it was ’58, she probably was [there when it was] the TB before it changed to disabled; about the changeover, but I haven’t been able to find out exactly how much was there.

The things I remember about staying at the hospital … ‘cause we would go in at Christmas time when they weren’t doing surgery … there were little things I remember. I remember her commenting that she had a young, beginning nurse there at some stage, and she got a phone call from this young nurse’s mother who was very upset – being the girl was very upset -because the matron had told her to take the bloody sheets out. But they weren’t ‘bloody’ sheets as a swear word; they were bloody ‘cause they were covered with blood. [Chuckles] I remember that clearly.

I remember she used to go down Pakowhai Road and buy fruit from all the fruit stalls and take them back to the kitchen in the hospital, and bottle the fruit for the next year, for the patients. She used to make the most wonderful bottled fruit salad, and when I mentioned this some years later to her she laughed at me because the fruit salad was the scraps left over from [chuckle] all the bottles, combined all together. And I recommend that if you’ve got some spare bottling stuff – bottled fruit with a sliced banana in, and it was really yummy fruit salad. I remember her doing that.

I remember we could get a sheet and stand on the porch of the hospital … Langsyde Hospital … and wave to our grandparents – from Shakespeare Avenue [Terrace] you could wave the sheet across, and we could see it. We would do it for fun – it would be prearranged, but there was a signalling system we could’ve used if we’d wanted to.

And about how many patients would they have at any one time?

I’m trying to remember; you’re talking about a time when I was … up to about fourteen or fifteen.

Did they have one cook or two?

They had one cook; that was Miss Grace.

So it’d be about twenty people possibly?

Possibly – if as many as that, it may not be quite that big. Miss Grace was the cook, and my aunt was friends, or had a good friend with her called Elsie McSherry. Now she wasn’t a nurse, she wasn’t trained, but she did some of the office work and the stuff in the background. So sit was Auntie Elsie – we used to call her Auntie as a courtesy, Auntie Elsie.

They also, while they still had Langsyde, they opened a Rest Home called Beaufort down the other end of Lincoln Road, and that would have had about eight to ten older people in it. I’m not sure what happened to that or how long it ran for, but it was for people needing some sort of support and care – they were not fully disabled or demented; they just needed care. So that was Auntie Maisie.

And she died 1991?

No, 1981. Now the story about her which I went away and did a bit of research on and found my grandparents were probably living here in 1931, was that Auntie Maisie was on night shift at Napier Hospital, but she’d gone home to sleep that day … of the earthquake … and because she had, she missed out on getting injured, because I believe a lot of the nurses on night shift … the Nurse’s Home was badly destroyed. So our family story is that she missed out on that ‘cause she happened to have the night off.

And the other interesting little bit that is another family story – and I’m ninety percent sure that it’s right – is that Lord Cobham, who was the Governor-General, one holidays his children came up to have their tonsils out. Now which children, and how many, and which year, I’m not sure; but apparently he must’ve known the surgeon that was operating there, and I know that it was the Cobham children went and had their tonsils out one year. But it was very common [for] the children to have that in those days. So they apparently came up and in Langsyde, and had their tonsils out.

The building – was it all wood, or was it brick or stone?

It was mainly wood. You drove down, and there was a parking area out the front. It was mainly on one storey, although there was the two-storey piece at the end which was where the cook lady, Miss Grace, had her little flat; so she lived underneath it.

You don’t know her Christian name by any chance?

Miss Grace – she was always Miss Grace.

So she might’ve been Miss Grace something …

No, no, Grace was her surname. We were very polite in those days. [Chuckle]

Yes, all right, yes. We might be able to pick that up from the newspapers.

Might be able to. She did get married some years later, but she was well in her fifties or something, and I remember the aunts saying, “Imagine! At her age!” [Chuckles] I wish I could remember what her married name was.

Did she cook for you people as a family when you were up there at all?

Oooh. I don’t remember eating much there. I remember having one or two overnight stays in this room at the front which would’ve had four beds in; I remember sleeping in the hospital so I suppose we ate there, but I don’t remember having meals there – but remember we stayed at my grandparents’ mainly, who were further down the road in Shakespeare Terrace – or round the corner.

Did they have an ambulance attached to it?

Not that I’m aware of.

And how did they heat the building? Any ideas ‘bout that?

Oh goodness me, I don’t know!

I just wondered if they had gas, ‘cause part of Napier had gas.

I don’t remember fires.

So they must’ve had some form of heating …

And I don’t remember any handymen or men about the place. That’s not to say there weren’t, but I don’t recall that.

And so the doctors would come in and visit, do the operations and then go?

Then go, yes.

And then it was over to Aunt Maisie to look after them.

Yes – to look after them. And I don’t know how many surgeons worked from there. And I really don’t know … I wish I’d asked her all this, but I didn’t think I would ever need to know. [Chuckle]

Did they have [a] metal drive, or was it ..?

No, it was a bitumen … sealed driveway. And the parking area I think was sealed out the front, and I know it had a porch that looked … from the porch you could look straight down Shakespeare Road; so if you’re driving up Shakespeare Road you could look straight up at it. I went looking on some maps to see if I could … you know google [the] thing, but google misses it because it’s down this driveway, so I can’t … I can see the driveway on Google Maps but I can’t get down.

One other thing with Maisie – where had she done her training, do you know?

Think she trained in Wellington. I think she trained in Wellington ‘cause my grandparents lived in Wellington until they moved up. And they went to school in Wellington. My grandparents had three girls and two boys, and my father was the youngest, and all of them went to school in Wellington.

I’m wondering, and it’s a critical question really, how did she afford to have a hospital?

Well, that’s where I think my grandfather retiring in 1930 … and I found some information about him, but he retired on superannuation. And my guess is that was the bulk of it. But you didn’t discuss that with your grandparents back then. [Chuckle] And I don’t know whether other people supported her as well. At the time of her death she owned a house and there was some money in the bank but not an exceptional amount. Yes, so whether the surgeon … whether there was a surgeon attached I don’t know, but we always knew it as hers.

And the nurses would all be in nurses’ uniform of the time?

Yes. And they were trained nurses but there were also a lot of nurse aides.

So it sounds as though it was quite a well-run place?

Well, I think it was – I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. And as I say, if the Cobham children went there it must have been reasonably … [Chuckle] It had a reasonable reputation even if it’s somewhat small.

The other one that I didn’t catch up on was your father’s occupation, or your grandfather’s?

Oh. My grandfather was a … Railways – New Zealand Railways, but once he moved to Hawke’s Bay he had nothing to do with Railways – he’d retired by the time he got here. He’s actually got his own interesting background, but because it’s not related to Hawke’s Bay I didn’t …

Oh, and did you ever come across June Opie? One of the people that lived there at Pukeora … ‘Over My Dead Body’ …

I loved her stories. Yes. And there was a secondary book as well, wasn’t there? Yes – I read about that about ten times when I was young.

When Auntie Maisie moved to Pukeora I don’t think I had any … that was a job she went to and we didn’t visit there. I have been there since but in a different role in my own right, but that was long after Auntie Maisie had been there.

Now the other interesting aunt I had was Auntie Flora, who was Auntie Maisie’s sister, and she has a very interesting … she’s Flora Macdonald Wilson and she was a missionary for the Presbyterian Church. And she went to China and in 1943 she was interred [interned] by the Japanese, along with other people from her [?] She was released in 1945 and returned to New Zealand, and went back to China in 1947; she was a fluent Chinese speaker. And when the missionaries were expelled by the Communists she came back here and worked at St Paul’s as a deaconess. And she taught at Napier Girls’ High School for a while as well. She had lived with my grandparents and looked after that for a while. Did I say she taught maths at Napier Girls? She taught maths; she also had some home students that she used to teach Chinese to, or she used to teach the Chinese English. She was quite an interesting lady; I remember little things about her at that house in Shakespeare Terrace. When she boiled water in the jug, she would save the rest of the water in the thermos so you couldn’t waste the water … you couldn’t waste the heat. And that was a normal reflection on her time where she was interred. [Interned] She would heat the water in the hot water tank once a week ‘cause that was for her bath … remembering back then we bathed once a week; the rest of the time you had cold water. She’d hardly use any water to do the dishes in – she’d have a bowl and she’d put a little bit of water in, just enough, and she’d eke it out. She was very economical with water, is my big impression of her.

And she never married?

No, none of those three girls married. The rumour in our family was that if a man wanted to take one out he had to take all three. [Chuckles] And this Auntie Flora was also dux of Wellington Girls’ College in her time.

And did she live a long life … finish training?

Well in 1964 she went back to Hong Kong and taught at Hoh Fuk Tong College, then came back here and she died in 1988. So she was born in 1902 or ’03 …

So she had [a] good life …


I’m wondering if she met Rewi Alley at all, because that’s when he was in China?


A cousin of mine, Mary Jamieson – she was a missionary there …

Well they must’ve known each other.

from Palmerston North …

She had met Rewi Alley – I remember that she had. The interesting thing is the third daughter, who had no contact particularly with Napier … my Auntie Iris … she was a deaconess as well. Did I mention the cards on Sunday?


My grandparents, having two daughters who ended up as deaconesses within the Presbyterian Church, I can remember one day as children after church and dinner, we went to play with the Minister’s children who lived up … somewhere up Napier hill, I can’t exactly remember where. But we had a lovely afternoon there and played with the children; came home and we were having tea I think, and my grandmother said to me, you know, “What did you do?” And I said, “Oh, we played cards.” Well! The calamity … the horror! “You didn’t play cards! At the Minister’s house! On a Sunday! Oh!” [Chuckle] I mean, we had only played Old Maid or Snap – I’ve forgotten which – nothing like ‘cards’, [chuckles] but oh, dear! You’d have thought the roof had fallen in! [Chuckles] That would be no good at all. [Chuckles] But Sunday was a real day of rest.

Did they all get on with each other, or were they … different as chalk from cheese?

No, I think they all got on – my Auntie Iris died very young; she had breast cancer. She died in 1952 or something. That’s the one that was in Christchurch … the deaconess down there. We’ve said Auntie Flora and Auntie Maisie; my uncle Gavin that we haven’t mentioned, he was in Wellington. His funeral was the day of the Wahine storm, and one of his wife’s family from Christchurch was actually … one of them was drowned on her way across to the funeral. That’s a whole story, the Wahine storm, but that was when he died. And then my father lived ‘til sixty-eight or sixty-nine, I think – he was the youngest of them. And I remem…

And what was his occupation?

My father was an accountant in Lower Hutt.

Did he do accounting up here too?

No. No, Dad’s never lived here; just my grandparents, and they must’ve moved up when Granddad retired, so that’s why I’ve tried to … just relate to Hawke’s Bay.

Then we come to me. I’ve always quite liked Hawke’s Bay. I was brought up in Lower Hutt and married a man from Mataura, which for those who’re unaware, is in Southland, just south of Gore, and we lived and had three three children living in Silverstream. And he was working for a company called UEB Industries. We got transferred to Wanganui, where we were for a couple of years …

What sort of business was it?

Cardboard box manufacturing.

And then we got transferred to Invercargill, and we were down there for two or three years; and then in … end of 1988 we got transferred up to Hawke’s Bay. And I moved up just before Christmas, 1988. I was quite delighted to come to Hawke’s Bay; I mean I … well warmer, yes …

[Speaking together] And your grandparents … yes, yes.

… and once you’ve lived here you’d never go … and because I was familiar with the place – I’d been up here at least once a year for the first twenty years of my life – I mean it was just part of what we did.

[Speaking together] And did you help with the box factory?

No. It was UEB Industries, then it became Kiwi Packaging, then it became Amcor Packaging and now it’s Oroco. And it’s still here, and when he moved up he was the manager of the factory in Henderson Road there, and it was the old Morrison factory where the … Morrisons, who made mowers and bikes, I think it was. But he was manager of Kiwi Packaging there – and then it was Amcor – of that, where they made cardboard boxes. A lot of it was for the fruit industry; and the cardboard boxes … the corrugated boxes; they had a corrugator … well they have, and they’re still going as Oroco.

That’s interesting. I didn’t realise they’d had a box factory that far back.

Ooh, I thought … there’s always been box factories, hasn’t there? I don’t know. But it was fascinating with corrugated boxes, and watching the paper turn into cardboard, so to speak – like these sort of ones. [Indicates nearby box]

Was it big machines to do it?

Yes. Yeah. It’s a big factory.

And very noisy?

Yes, extremely noisy.

And did you get to work in it at all, for the holidays?

I didn’t, but all my children spent their school holidays working in it. So they would go away to … well, not their school – their university holidays – they went to university, came back, and they would work in the factory because that was getting to be the busy time of the year because the school holidays … December-January is the university holidays … so they would work there in their holiday times.

Did they have coloured boxes then, or just plain?

No, no – printed.

What dates are we talking about?

Well that was … he was …

When did you get married?

Oh, crikey! 1969, and we moved to Hawke’s Bay in 19 … end of ’88. He moved in ’88, and I say I came here at the beginning of ’89. And he worked there ‘til we bought the orchard … or the year after we bought the orchard in ‘94 … ‘95.

Seeing we’re doing him – we were living in Havelock North, and he had a dream of having an orchard. And we had the offer documents ready to go to the land agent the morning of what’s called here ‘The Hailstorm’.

It wrecked the whole orchards …

Yes. We weren’t owners at that stage, and so we waited a while. And that affected the box factory, because we had to tell the people in the box factory, “Stop! They’re not going to want the boxes.” So there was a big pause then, and a lot of support within the different industries on what to do because of the hail. It was quite obvious that there was going to be a big …

[Speaking together] What year was that?


Did it put the box factory under pressure ?

It was a national company so … well yes, it did but I don’t think it was … I think it was a hiccup rather than a disaster.

And did the fruit trees die with it?

No, it was just the fruit – the fruit gets wrecked. The hail rips all the fruitlets to bits. So we didn’t buy the orchard right then, we waited another couple of months and then bought the orchard, and it’s the best thing we ever did. We’ll never make a lot of money – well, you don’t make a lot of money. I think it’s a bit like farming, you don’t make a lot of money but boy, do you enjoy life! My two eldest had left home by then; my eldest daughter went to Hamilton University, and my second one, who was runner-up to dux at Havelock North High School … Rachel’s the eldest; Louise; and then Jennifer was still at school. Now the other interesting thing there which I had totally forgotten about ‘til we started talking … was Jennifer was in the Hastings Junior Brass Band, run by John Snowdon. And they went to Hawaii and won a gold medal playing in the brass band there. And that’s fantastic for a young kid. She’s a trombonist; played the trombone; had a wonderful time with that band.

Is she still playing it?

Not so much now, no. She’s working in Auckland now. Louise is now back here and is a General Practitioner in Hastings. And Rachel’s working for Carter Holt Harvey in Marsden Point.

But moving here was just fantastic, and as I say the extra move to the orchard … Now, if we backtrack a little bit, while I was in Invercargill and my husband was living up here, I got a nursing magazine which was advertising a job up here. And I thought, ‘yes – that would be a good job’, so I applied. And the job, I always consider, was a gift. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and it was the first Matron-Manager of the Napier District Masonic Home at Taradale. So I got this job, and I was given a fifty-bed Rest Home which they were still just putting the finishing touches to; and it was my role to get all the clients … the residents, and all the staff including the cook and the cleaners and the nurses – everything, and set it up and get it running. And that to me is the pinnacle of … it was just fantastic! I could do it my way; the Masonic Trust was fantastic to work for. Yes, we had to watch pennies, but there was no profit motive, so we could do things that were economical or a little bit different. It was – oh, look – it was just glorious! And I remember the two I had most to do with were John and Molly Lister, and they were a husband and wife. He had been an accountant in Napier, and Molly was his wife; and he was the administrative manager of the complex and Molly used to do the secretarial work, and they were just wonderful to work with. And there was a whole committee of men there as well, and I feel a bit embarrassed ‘cause I can’t remember all their names so I decided, instead of remembering one or two I’d remember John, ‘cause I worked with him every day.

The home was built in these grounds but there were sixteen flats already there which were inhabited. Now back then we were what waas called a Stage 1 Rest Home, which means we had Category 1, Category 2 residents, which was no dementia, no hospital care; and people who needed a little bit of looking after but not a lot. The home that they had built and designed – every room had its own toilet and handbasin, and there was one shower between every two rooms. And it was about the first Rest Home to actually have a private facility for people, which was fantastic. It had connecting rooms so you could have a couple … they’d have to have separate bedrooms, but at least they could talk together, or have a door between them. It wasn’t separated into mens and womens; it was just a general … however.

Did they all have to be ex-Masonic members?

No, no, no – that had nothing to do with it whatsoever. There was one or two people that I was told … you know, “If this person meets the criteria we would like them to come in”; and there was no problem because they met the criteria. But they were more people they were aware of than they were Masonic people. The ladies from the Masons, the wives and stuff, had a group that would come around with a trolley once a week. They came and did piano concerts and stuff; someone provided a van and we’d take them out for drives, which was unusual back in 1989. Because we were lucky and they were generally fittish residents, they could go out and enjoy it; the men would walk down to the Taradale Hotel and have a drink before dinner and come back again.

We had … one or two cats came, and a couple of birds … budgies. But it was like a big party the whole time. We had a little golf putting green put out between the wings so that the residents could do that. I got Mr Whippy one day to come and park in the grounds; we shouted everyone an ice-cream. It was fun [chuckle] … d’you know what I mean? We had fun! [Chuckle] But it was. We also said that relatives could come for meals – not that they did, but we … And also if you had to go out somewhere, the cook would let you take a plate. So we would make a plate up so that if you had to go somewhere you could take a plate. We tried to make it a home, not an institution; well, that was my aim, and I think for the most part I sort of succeeded.

Our cook was a young girl who’s since married and had children – she was Fiona Germain at that stage, but I’ve forgotten her married name. We ended up with two main General Practitioners – that was Paul Hendy and Stam Pishief, were the two … they were different practices.

And are they still round here now?

Paul is; Stan is too, I think he works nowout at Flaxmere. We had a diversional therapist which is someone who organises the activities; but it was more card games and playing games, rather than … they were active people we had. I don’t think half of our residents would qualify any more, ‘cause it was more – people were fitter then in the Rest Home than they would be now. And that was Frances White, and I want to give Frances a special mention because she died not long afterwards. But she had a lot of contact with EIT [Eastern Institute of Technology] in setting up a Diversional Therapy course for a short while, because at the time we opened so did a lot of other Rest Homes; Gracelands opened; Otatara Heights was recently opened, or opened just after us; and there was another one as well – there’s one down by the park in Hastings opened about the same time …

In Duke Street?

No, not Duke Street – in Willowpark Road or one of those.

[Speaking together] Eversley?

No – Eversley’s been there before, but there was [were] quite a few Rest Homes opening, so we had all the diversional therapists, and Frances as I say, with EIT to set up our course for those. We actually had a Rest Home Managers’ course for a while at EIT for us people who were setting things up. What else did we do?

And did you have special occasions like the Melbourne Cup or Easter ..?

No, I don’t remember that – well, we had Christmas. I used to take my family there for Christmas Day for Christmas Dinner, ‘cause people need to see that. Of course, no visiting hours – I mean, it’s their home.

The other thing about when they designed the home, every room had its own outside door so they could open it and go into a little wee porch thing; it was very good. It’s now modified quite a lot; there’s now a hospital wing; there’s now apartments down one side. We had four wings, and each wing had its own little kitchen so they could make themselves tea or coffee whenever they wanted to.

Did you serve morning teas and afternoon teas?

Yes. That went around on the trolley.

But – fantastic bunch of nurses and caregivers and staff I worked with – it was absolutely … it was a dream.

And who cooked at home then, if you were there?

Oh – well I only went there in the daytime. I still cooked at home; I only did the working hours. I was on call, I remember being called out one night when somebody had died, because the person on duty had never seen a dead person before, which is fine. Lovely residents … I mean they really were; it’s a shame we don’t do this [refers to interviewing] with every resident in a Rest Home, ‘cause they’d all have great stories. Like we had a nurse who’d been away during the war, like … we had men who’d done fantastic things; we had leaders of the community …

They do do those stories now; they just didn’t do it then.

I don’t think the recording systems were there; I mean computers were relatively new – we did have a computer. But it was just … it was just lovely.

I’m sorry none of your daughters followed … but the General Practitioner, she’s followed to a certain extent …

Well yes. Yes, but I don’t think they have to follow parental thing; it’s … you do what you do.

Anyhow, after I left that, I – suddenly one morning – drove into the Home and thought, ‘I can’t do this any more.’ I’d loved it; I’d set it up, it was going; it needed someone to edit …


Yes. Yes, and I could not have stood that, if someone … But it really did … anyone who sets something up, I believe after four or five years, needs someone to come in and say, “Oh, this needs changing, and this needs changing, and why are you doing it that way – that’s five years old. We need to do it this way now.” D’you know? Just ’cause I do it my way … you need a proofreader. [Chuckle]

Yes, yes.

You need someone to come and edit. And that’s not a criticism if they change things, it’s “Hey – let’s have a fresh point of view. Let’s freshen the place up”. ‘Cause if you’ve got the same person, you’ll get the same thing. You need [to] breathe new life in.

Anyhow – so ACC [Accident Compensation Commission] at that time setting up putting nurses and stuff more into the caregiving … into their Case Manager role, so I became principal Case Manager at ACC – at that time, Napier and Hastings, but then …

What date would that be?

1994. The Home opened in February 1989. So I became principal Case Manager at ACC and was there for four or five years … ‘93 to ‘98 – must’ve been ‘93 I went there. And then I set up my own business as an occupational health nurse, and then ran that until I retired in 2013, as an old lady. [Chuckles]

Far from that! Have you still got the orchard, by the way?

We sold it two years ago to my son-in-law and spent all the money on a trip overseas. Now while I was doing my own business …

[Speaking together] How do you think ACC in this area is?

I’ve lost touch a bit, but I still have a passionate belief – it has to stay; it’s the most fantastic system when you compare it with alternatives. Yes, there’re hiccups; yes, there are misunderstood bits; but on the whole it’s not a bad system. I haven’t had a lot to do with it of recent years and I know it’s … huge changes …

Changing all the time …

Yes. And there are some things I’ll agree with and some things I won’t, but I think basically, what I would like is every health professional, mainly the General Practitioners, to go and work there for six months to see what it is. I think people looking in from outside don’t necessarily understand the workings underneath, and the people underneath don’t necessarily understand the workings of outside, which is why, they – way back then – brought in a lot of medical staff and you know, nurses, so that they could have a little bit more understanding of what went on.

Now while I set up my own business I belonged to a group … it was an occupational health nurse that goes out into all these businesses doing health and safety stuff; we had a very vibrant occupational health nurses’ group here – we still have – East Coast group, and it really works hard. And there’s a national organisation, and within that I became National President. From 2002 to 2007 I was National President, which was the whole country, and Hawke’s Bay stacks up extremely well for the service and provision and the quality of people working here.

Particularly in the older age groups …

Yeah, but that’s not Occupational Health.

No …

But as far as our factories and the staff working in them, and the nurses working in the factories, it’s …

And at the prison.

Yes – we stack up very well.

Now in amongst all that I needed some extra training, so I ended up doing a post-graduate diploma at EIT in 2001, and that was their first ever post-graduate diploma; they hadn’t had one before. That was in nursing. And in 2003, 2004 I did some further study with two other nurses – I’ll give you their names in a minute – and at the graduation ceremony in 2005 we all got our Masters’ Degrees. They were the first Masters that EIT had done. And I always call myself the first one, because my name begins with ‘H’, for Haywood; [chuckle] and Chris McKenna who’s working at the hospital – she was with me and so was Trish White, who’s still working there as a nurse practitioner. And the three of us were the first three Masters students through EIT.

And how long did that take?

Well that was two years over and above what we’d done, and that was 2003, 2004.

So you were way ahead of your time, really …

Well, it was just starting to come in.

Do you think it was as practical as it might have been?

The Masters was good because we got to choose our own topic to do our thesis in. So I did mine on what Occupational Health Nurses were doing for pre-employment, because pre-employment health testing was big – it was good; it was big, but everyone was sort of doing their own thing. And as I say, I was National President then and I wanted to show all the other nurses what was being done elsewhere so we cold get some consensus on what was done and why we were doing it; if we should be doing it. We were going beyond what we needed; and what did we do with the information because you have to look at confidentiality and the privacy of it, so that – some of the stuff has to go to the employer, like hearing tests – the person who has the hearing test has to know that that goes to the employer. But their other personal information … their blood pressure, their weight and everything … is personal so you had to keep it secret. So it was really balancing that. So that’s what my thesis was on.

Then the District Health Board system changed and the government brought out Advisory Committees. And they were set up in 2001, and somehow I found myself on the Disability Support Advisory Committee for the District Health Board.

I was on the one for DHB representing Wairarapa. After three years they suddenly disbanded us completely. No warning; nothing. Did that happen to you, too?

[Chuckle] Yes, we got disbanded I think as well. But I was going to leave anyway. ‘Cause all of my stuff still comes back to managing disability. I don’t believe it’s up to us to manage disabilities, it’s [for] us to help the person manage their own disability. So a lot of my occupational health work was work-place assessments; managing people back to work or helping people to get back to work; helping employers recognise what the … we have to look at what people can do, not what they can’t do.

You’re preaching to the converted here, I can assure you!

[Chuckle] I probably am. But the number of times people say, “I can’t do my job!” “Well, which part of your job can’t you do?” “Well, I can do this, this and …” “Right – you can do; let’s look at ‘can dos’.” And people love to be at work – it’s part of life. And I had done some work with Workbridge, managing people with disabilities back into the workplace, and doing employment assessments and things like that. My whole thing is all based on managing disabilities … same with running the Rest Home. It’s all about …you can go out, you can play golf on the front lawn, you can make yourself a cup of tea. So that’s sort of really a summary of my influence on Hawke’s Bay.

Now your husband’s still alive?


And how long have you been married now?

It’ll be forty-nine in February, ‘cause we happened to get married on my birthday. He’s only got one date to worry about.

We haven’t touched on what you do now …

Right. I’m not on any external committees any more. I mean I’ve done numerous other little things.

So now … Stoneycroft – once or twice a week?

Working at Stoneycroft – twice a week. I try to do ten ‘til two. I’m very fortunate in that I have my daughter and her family with four children living virtually next door. They can actually run from their place to our place through the orchard, but we’re independent; I can’t see their house, they can’t see our house. I can see them drive up the road, but it works very well. I’ve got four grandchildren there; the eldest is eight, one’s about to turn seven, and then there’s two who will be five in November.

And you can actually sit down and just read a book if you wanted to?

[Chuckle] I have about four or five games I play on that [chuckle] in rotation.

And you’ve done the big trip overseas …

Done the big trip overseas.

Would you like to go overseas more now?

Yes … but I’m happy if I don’t, whereas before I had never been. Oh, we did one overseas trip … when I was at ACC we did a trip, but I was in that group that – you didn’t quite do your OE [overseas experience] quite as much when I was training. I trained at Wellington Hospital. When I finished training you didn’t quite do your overseas as much as they do now. So neither of us had really been anywhere – as I say, we’d done one cruise … early nineties. We’ve done two big ones since. Funding becomes an issue. [Chuckles] But I’m happy with what we’ve done.

Thank you Barbara. If you think we’ve covered everything …

I think so – I lead a relatively quiet life now. [Chuckle] I miss my grandchild in Auckland – I have one grandson up in Marsden Point.

So happy to stop?


Original digital file


Additional information

Erica Tenquist

Accession number


Do you know something about this record?

Please note we cannot verify the accuracy of any information posted by the community.

Supporters and sponsors

We sincerely thank the following businesses and organisations for their support.