Ormond, Rosemary (Rosie) Margaret Interview

Today is the 31st May 2019. I’m interviewing Rosemary Margaret Ormond, known as Rosie, on the life and times of her family. Rosie, would you like to tell us about your family?

Well, as far back as I can remember my great-grandfather was one of the first settlers who came to New Zealand as a Presbyterian Minister, and he settled in Dunedin. He was well-regarded in Dunedin, and he’s buried out at Portobello. And the people in the store out there still remember him as a very conscientious man who preached the Presbyterian religion.

My father was born in Invercargill, and his father was a schoolteacher. Then when he was … I’m not quite sure what age … they moved to Napier where his father was Deputy Principal at Central School. And Dad and his two brothers settled in a house on the hill in Napier, in Cameron Road, which I have heard that they built. Unfortunately, his mother died when he was only about twelve, so he was brought up just with his father and his two brothers. He went to Napier Boys’ High and did really well; he was a prefect and in the First XV, and he was a lifesaver as well, so Napier Boys’ High School was always really important to him. He loved Napier Boys’ and always made a huge effort to go to the reunions so it was a very important part of his life. And from there he went on to be a cub reporter at the Telegraph – the old Telegraph – and worked his way right through to being news editor at the Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune.

So another thing that I think encouraged me to go teaching, was that his [my] great-grandfather, Alexander Greig [who] was the first man I talked about, had had a very humble upbringing in Scotland, and somehow or other he was able to educate himself enough to gain a Master of Arts degree at Aberdeen University. And I think that I was always very proud of that fact, which I think motivated me to always want to achieve well at school. And I think I was probably pretty conscientious, and always had, you know, good motivation to do well.

So where were you born?

I was born in Napier, and I have a twin brother; so we were born just after the war in 1945. My brother’s name is Christopher. He’s still alive; he lives in Hastings. And I have a sister, Julie – she lives in Wellington.

When did he move [from] the Telegraph to ..?

I’m not sure; it would’ve been probably … I’m not absolutely sure, but all my life we lived in Hastings, so he must’ve been at the Herald Tribune all my life.

So then you went to school … primary?

I went to Mahora Primary School.

Gosh! Everyone went to Mahora [chuckle] it’s almost as if it was the only school.

I loved that school.

So you went from there to ..?

Hastings Intermediate as a second-year pupil, as it was really new; and was very excited about going there and wearing a uniform for the first time. And the classes were sort of graded there, and I was in the second to top class in Form 1 – I had an excellent teacher, Miss Hansen. And then the next year I went up to … with another good teacher, Mrs Townsend, who was excellent too.

Who was the headmaster?

Was it ..? No, I can’t remember. But I enjoyed Intermediate, and was keen on gymnastics, and would get up really early and be at school by quarter to eight so I could practice gym in the school hall. We had mats and the boxes and the parallel bars. And I also was in the top netball team – it was basketball in those days; and a prefect, so I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and then moved on to Hastings Girls’ High and lasted there four years doing the Professional course.

Sports there – did you play ..?

Yes, I played tennis for the school and netball for the B team. Yes, I enjoyed most of my school time.

So then from school you moved on to ..?

Ardmore … Ardmore Training College.

Well you must’ve been there about the same time as my sister, Margaret?

I don’t remember her there, but I do remember your sister. I was there 1962 – 1963. So they were an interesting couple of years where I had to grow up fast, and got really very homesick. But there was no way home except on the twelve-hour bus ride home. I was very, very homesick; I had been so … we had such a lovely home life, and then be in a dormitory, with no walls that went up to the top, really in a tiny little room. It toughened me up.

So then when you finished college … two years?

Two years.

And then where did they send you?

I had my PA [probationary assistant] year at Central School.

Close to home …

Yeah, it was good. I can’t remember that year very much; it was a bit of a blur not knowing really what I was doing, but [I] did have a couple of colleagues on the staff that [who] helped me a lot. The headmaster didn’t really take much of an interest except when the inspector was coming. But I managed to get qualified, and went on. The next year wasn’t so good – I was posted out to Fernhill School with a [an] all-Maori Primer class, and had no idea what I was doing as I had only been trained with older children. And after a term I left … quit … and got a job in the laboratory at Wattie’s, which was boring, and had no holidays. So I had another little think, and thought, ‘Well, I think I might give teaching another try’ [chuckle] … just wasn’t me at all.

So anyway, I saw the other side of the world, working in a big factory. But luckily, when I went back to teaching I got a lovely job out at Eskdale School, and took over a Standard 3 class. They were all lovely children, and the parents were really good, and took me back into Napier every Friday afternoon. I boarded in Napier during that time and got the bus out to Eskdale, so that was good.

And then after that, Tim and I got together.

Where did you meet?

I met Tim in the August school holidays at a [an] Old Boys’ Hastings social, and it was really a blind date. Well actually, It was only for three months because he had already arranged to do his OE [overseas experience] and left the following March. So that was a testing time.

He came back and asked me to marry him at Christmas time, and we got married the following August school holidays. I was by then teaching out at Taradale Primary School, and we more or less had our family straight away.

And did you do any relieving while you were ..?

Not really, no. I retrained when Mark, my youngest, went to school at six; I wanted to get back into teaching because it just fitted in so well with having holidays and being there in the holidays. So I retrained as a reading recovery teacher, and was able to get a part-time job for a long time, really. So that was me.

And so you were playing golf by then?

Yes, I learnt to play golf before I met Tim; I learnt very young. I think I was about nineteen. I went out with a friend and her mother who were already good golfers, and they showed me the ropes. And I persevered with it for a long time and really grew to love the sport.

Who was it that you used to go out there with?

It was Jenny Grieve and her mother. Ivan’s sister … she was a friend of mine when I was first teaching.

You were at home looking after your children? What are their names?

Nicky … Nicola … is my eldest daughter, and she was born in 1967; and then two years later we had Anna, and then four years later we had a son, Mark. So I stayed home with the children, but in between times I played squash and golf, and was happy to be at home.

So when did you move to ..?

Wellwood Road? When Mark was born we moved there. The years before that we’d been across the road at Heathcote Road. You used to come and see us in there. And then Tim’s brother Bill … they split the farm up, and Tim bought Bill out and we moved across the road to the other half of the farm.

And so you carried on there until you finally came to Havelock? [North]

Yes, we were in Wellwood Road for forty years.

I can’t believe it was that long ago that I used to come and …

And have a cup of tea at our funny old kitchen table. [Chuckle]

It’s not about the table, it’s about the people. And so now you’re sitting on the banks of the mighty Karamu Stream …

Thoroughly enjoying the life of retirement.

So now, what haven’t you told me?

I’ve got four grandchildren and another one on the way who will be born in about six weeks’ time. All my grandchildren live away from here, which has been unfortunate not being able to be part of their daily lives. Anna, my daughter who lives in Dunedin, has got Hugh who is fifteen, and Billie who is twelve. She’s a girl, and we’re very close, and we manage to see them two or three times a year.

Nicky is in the Barossa Valley; very involved in the wine world. And she has two girls. She works for the Barossa Winegrowers’ Association as a viticultural adviser, but she used for Charles Melton as a winemaker. But it was very hard to be a winemaker and bring up a family. Yeah, it’s a lovely place … very hot. I used to go over there and help her with the children when they were little, and it was so hot.

Now how about telling me something about your father?

I was close to my father. He was a lovely, kind man and I just absolutely adored him. He had a great love of books, and was the book editor for the Tribune for years. So all the new books would arrive for him to review, into the office, and I have many memories of him taking me up to the bookroom for me to choose books. And he was a keen trout fisherman, and I can remember him sitting at the kitchen table with all his little tools, making his own flies. And he was always encouraging. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to come and see any of my sports games playing netball, because he always worked on a Saturday; so that was a shame. Just remember him just being a hard-working man, and quite a quiet man, but wise. I can remember going into the Herald Tribune buildings when they were still making the print on the big steel blocks, and then it would go into this huge machine, the big press.

You haven’t said anything about your mother …

Oh, oh, I haven’t. Mum was a stay-at-home mother.

What was her maiden name?

Her maiden name was Margaret Williams, and she lived next door to my father, so Dad really married the girl next door. And she was a great mother; she always made sure we were well fed, well clothed. And I remember being quite embarrassed having to wear thick stockings to school, and woollen singlets. And she was lots of fun, she had a great sense of humour; but when my dad died suddenly, she really … she didn’t cope well without him ‘cause he’d spoilt her rotten. So that was really sad that that happened.

So what age was she ..?

She was only fifty-nine. It was such a sudden death – nobody had any warning. Just awful that I was never able to say goodbye to him, or all of those things.

Do you know who was the editor of the Tribune when ..?

I think it was one of the Whitlocks. Yes, and then there was Ted Webber; and I remember Dad got on really well with Ted. He was a nice man.

Oh, my father smoked a pipe, and inhaled it; and there was a yellow spot on the ceiling underneath where he smoked his pipe.

Is there anything else?

I can’t think of anything. He loved sport, so Dad and Tim got on really well because they had the rugby in common, and cricket. It’s a shame that Dad couldn’t really play any sport in his later years because of having to work on a Saturday – it didn’t work. And I think with having twins, he was busy; he helped out a lot, more than most fathers did in those days. Yes.

All right, well I’ll just put this on pause …


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Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

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