3. The Hawke’s Bay A&P –Agricultural and Pastoral – Shows were held at the Tomoana show grounds in Hastings each year. My father entered in the apple section. Mum in the baking, preserving and jam sections. I made miniature gardens and sand posies made on saucers, I think we all entered in the cut flowers for the most perfect blooms and flower arrangements, ladies sprays and button holes. I have award cards I received for 1st , 2nd, and 3rd in these sections.
I would sit and watch the Highland dancing competitions for as long as I could. The family would go and see other things and leave me to watch coming back to collect me later. I just loved the music, the rhythms and the movements. My mother tried to find a teacher so I could learn. There was no one at that time so she talked with Jean Ballantyne who taught dancing and she suggested learning tap dancing. Mum enrolled my older sister and I. Mum with us 4 small children caught the bus that traveled between Napier and Hastings at the end of our road at Karamu into Hastings. We then walked to Miss Ballantyne’s studio. I loved it. At the end of that year she had her annual dance recital in the beautiful Municipal Theatre in Hastings. We both danced on the stage in front of all the people in the stalls, dress circle and gallery. I enjoyed it as I did with anything I learned.
Miss Ballantyne suggested my next younger sister by 2 years could go to a ballet class, and me to a general class as well as the tap class as it would be on a Saturday morning and I would be taking my sister on the bus.
My parents couldn’t afford to pay for all that as the orchard was not in full production so Miss Ballantyne said I could go to that class without further payment. It was wonderful for me. From the age of eight when asked what “I was going to be when I grew up?” I would reply ‘a dancing teacher or a hairdresser’.
My cousin who was much older, where I spent some school holidays was a hairdresser. She had taught me how to wash and set hair.
I became both of these after I finished school
I taught Royal Academy of Dancing Ballet, National Character and others for 50 years. I produced many dance recitals, Fashion shows, Large and small, Adjudicated at competitions, produced men’s Ballets and choreographed many stage shows, Performed in shows and plays. A friend Tony Helpin and I opened the first Hairdressing salon at Flaxmere. Hastings when the suburb was first opened up. I did all the cutting, men, women and children while Tony did the shampooing, perming and colouring. I have always cut my own hair and still do at 79 years of age. I sat my Ballet examinations under Jean Ballantyne and gained Honor passes and was awarded a silver button for the highest marks in the studio. A horseshoe and anchor charms were added the following 2 years. I took my Major examinations under Constance MacDonald and then became a Tutor with her. I tutored classes in Hastings, Napier Clive, Marewa, Haumoana and Waipukurau.