My Journey

My Journey – F.C. Fraser

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My story begins on a winter morning of the 20th June 1928, the day I was born at home in South Dunedin, the third of four children born to James (Jim) and Elsie Fraser.

At the time of writing January 2005, my sister Joyce (McNamara) and two brothers Ian and Lindsay (formerly Keith) are still living.


My Father James had emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland, with his parents James Nicol Fraser – his wife Jessie (nee Smith) to settle in Dunedin. Elder daughter Margaret (Stanaway) made up the family party.

Photo caption -The four Fraser children at Queens Drive, St Kilda in 1932. From left: Ian, Keith, Joyce and Fergus.

My Grandfather James Nicol with Dad.
Aunty Margaret (Stanaway)

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My Mother, Elsie Amy, was one of six children born to William and Mary Collett who lived for some of their early married life in Sydney, Austraia [Australia]. Their children were: Daisy, Henry, Jack, William, Elsie and Amelia (Millie) They subsequently moved to Dunedin where my Grandfather was employed as a tinsmith. I have fond memories of the shining cylindrical copper hot water bottles he made for us children during the harsh Dunedin winters.

Bill and Mary Collett with Daisy (foreground) and Henry-Vine outside their cottage in Sydney, Australia.

My Mother Elsie with younger sister Amelia (left) in Dunedin.

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My grandparents William and Mary Collett photographed on their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Aunty Daisy (right) seen here with her husband Ted Page and their first child Tom.

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Hats and bouquets were the ‘in thing’ for weddings in the 20s. So it was for James and Eslie [Elsie] Fraser when they took their vows at the home of the Bride’s parents Bill and Mary Collett at 10 Nelson Street, Dunedin. It was the 4th June 1924. The bridesmaid was sister Amelia and the bestman was Mr Ernest Lawson.

And here they are again 60 years later at their Diamond Wedding.

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My Grandfather James Nicol Fraser with his wife Jessie (nee M.A. Smith) after their marriage on 8th September 1896.

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My Father James Robertson Fraser was an upholsterer by trade which he worked at for most of his life both in Dunedin and Hastings.

The Second World War 1939-1945 saw him enlisted as Sergeant in the N.Z. Army. No. 499313 he was released from serving overseas because of his four children but he was enlisted to No 6 Company on the Otago Peninsular [Peninsula] at Wycliffe Bay until he was discharged two years later.

We made occasional weekend visits by bus to Wycliffe Bay where they were stationed and were made very welcome by the staff of No 6 Company.

The earliest picture of Mum and Dad in their courting days!

The men of No 6 Company at Wycliffe Bay 1942-1943
Dad is third from right in front row.

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The 30s were a decade in which the impact of foreign political and economic events shook the country. It opened on a growing world financial crisis and closed at the start of a conflict which would become the first truly global war. When the depression hit it was no ordinary setback. This was the ‘Great Depression’ and it’s title was well deserved. A global phenomenon which destroyed individual livelihoods and social structures alike. It’s impact conditioned an entire generation and led to the creation of the modern Welfare State.

Depression is an ugly word. It’s uglier still when you know what it means. In a Depression there is a constant stream of people at the door, trying to sell anything they can carry with them. A Depression is soup kitchens, lines of hungry unemployed, hunger marches, riots and looting, happy employers able to pick and choose workers and drive them to the edge of rebellion, knowing they wont complain. A depression is also a time when the best and worst of human nature comes to the fore. Only a war is a more testing time a time when you find just who your friends are. A depression is when you don’t see food scraps thrown away, when people don’t feed the birds, can’t keep pets, when free concerts, community singing, free milk at schools, and health camps are not subjects for talking about.

Our family grew up in the worst of those depression days. I remember my Father coming home to announce that his job had gone and months later hearing my Mother crying in the room next door – for there was very little food left to feed a family of six.

However there was always time for happier pursuits and my parents found ways to divert their and our attention from lack of necessities. The beach at St Kilda or Lawyers Head only a short distance from our home where along with Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles we had picnics, played cricket and enjoyed our sense of family.

Threatened with T.B. at the age of ten I was packed off rather unwillingly to a health camp set up at the Wesley home at Macandrew Bay. My homesickness experienced at that camp remains a painful memory even though my parents were able to visit by bus from Dunedin once a week.

Dressed for the kitchen and the cricket pitch
Mum anticipates a boundary!

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How we loved the long tram rides from St Kilda to the Woodhaugh Gardens at North East Valley to play in the trees or swim in the pool.

Right: The ozone depletion didn’t get a mention then but the one-piece bathing suits are cool aye?

From left the brothers are: Keith, Ian and Ferg. Taken about 1937.


Half of my primary years were spent at Musselborough School, St Kilda the remainder at St Clair School. Those were the days of the ‘Milk in Schools’ scheme an attempt to supplement many children who were malnourished as a result of the Great Depression.

Left: Do you think I look malnourished? Here I am dressed in my school uniform at age six. Do you like the Windsor knot in my tie? The photograph was taken in Queens Drive where we were living at the time.

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Forms 1 and 2 were completed at Macandrew Intermediate under the ultra-strict discipline of one Mr Davidson. We walked to school in those days a distance of about two kilometres. We were then living at number 106 Forbury Crescent the first house my parents had bought to be their own. It had three large bedrooms, a very spacious lounge with a 15ft carpet square which we used for grand events like birthdays and entertaining visitors. It also had a lovely dining – family room, a bathroom, separate laundry and a toilet down the garden path. At the front of the property a large garage where Dad frequently recovered lounge suites.

During our occupation of 106 the street was given the new name of Hargest Crescent as the name Forbury Road was being confused with the Crescent.

My secondary education was at Kings High School for boys. Although I completed three years there my education suffered as a result of having quite a lot of sickness. It came about through having peritonitis and subsequently followed by seven years of blood poisoning. However they were good days and as chemistry proved to be my best subject any thought of pursuing higher education at that time was impossible due to the costs involved. Dad’s garage became my ‘laboratory’ for many experiments. Some mixtures were a little lethal and my experiments nearly came to an abrupt end when late one afternoon a policeman visited my ‘lab’ enquiring about a large explosion in the area. Suspicion soon shifted from the garage at 106 when it was discovered that another Kings pupil had discharged his Father’s .303 rifle at a bottle down the bottom of his section. The shell had bounced piercing through two of our boundary fences, into the window of our neighbours house one part lodging in his neck and the other part smashing a glass fronted china cabinet. He was taken away for a please explain and later sent to the country in the care of a farmer Uncle.

Photo caption – Dressed for a birthday party in the 40s.
From left: Ian, Ferg and Keith.

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The 1940s should have been a time of joy and celebration. When the decade began the Depression years were comfortably behind and the country was looking forward to some better years. But the Second World War, which had just begun spoiled all that. It blighted the first half of the decade and cast a shadow over the rest.

Odd things are remembered: the gas producers, belching smoke from running boards, with which farmers would fuel their cars to beat the petrol rationing; the eerie feeling at night with the black-out. It was probably not a good time to grow up – a dour time with shortages of almost everything. And when the war was over and peace could be celebrated the soldiers returning back home found to their disappointment that what they had won was, still, a dour time for many.

A feature of High school years of that era was that the first two weeks at the beginning of a new year were spent in some form of military training. We had the choice of Army, Air Training Corp or Sea Scouts. I chose the Army training as this allowed me to remain at home rather than be stationed at Taieri Air Force base.

How abrasive were those khaki serge army outfits on teenage skin (above left) However such discomfort was soon forgotten as we pressed our fingers around the twin-triggers of the Vickers machinegun and we shot off hundreds of rounds on this water-cooled weapon. Above right: A picture of me outside the laundry at 106 Hargest Crescent wearing the Kings High uniform.

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Dad and me in the Octogon [Octagon] 1938.

Keith and me in Dunedin 1941.

There were no mountain bikes in 1940 when with Mum and Dad we decided on a bike trip to Milton from Dunedin with an overnight stay. All told we covered 120 Klms for the return journey. Note the pouch with the repair kit near the seat – we had numerous punctures during our memorable excursion.

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Fifteen years old and in the 4th Form at Kings High an invitation to meet up with a young lady at an Evangelistic meeting in First Church changed the direction of my life forever.

The speaker at the packed church that night was The Rev Lionel Fletcher an Evangelist from the U.K. who ministered with the Congregational Church.

Whatever motive prompted to attend that meeting was eclipsed by the experience that for the first time in my life I heard the Gospel of Salvation and responded with genuine penitence, confessing my sin, and accepted Jesus Christ into my life promising to make Him Lord of my life from that moment in time. I recall walking home ‘feeling ever so clean’ and joyful. So began my Christian journey, an eventful experience which has developed and deepened over the past 60 years.

In the formative years following my decision to become a Christian God provided wonderful helps in my development.

* Christian Endeavour, a non-denominational movement for young people designed to foster the Christian Faith.

* The Crusader Movement, a Christian based non-denominational organisation working primarily in High Schools throughout the world. Holiday camps figured largely in their programs. Friendships with other teenage students was of real value as we studied how to be effective disciples of Jesus.

A group photograph at Pounawea Convention in 1946

Photo caption – Ferg in Dunedin 1943

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On the beach at Pounawea, Catlins.

Getting a feel for the bush.

With two of my friends Ken Wilden (centre) and Ron Loan (right) outside our tent at Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island. We explored Patterson Inlet.

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Sensing that God was calling me to a deeper commitment I put myself forward to undertake a two year training course to become a ‘local preacher’ within the Methodist Church of N.Z. Completing this, three members of the Dickie family and myself linked together to become a preaching band. As the Methodist Church operated on a circuit system we travelled as a team to various churches within Dunedin and the Otago peninsula where we conducted services. This type of team effort provided a great support to each member of the group and we often would gather and evaluate each others value in ministry. The Father of the Dickie family played a big part in discipling me following my conversion.


1945 was the end of the Second World War. By 1946 nearly everyone was home – those who were ever to come home – except the members of J. Force who went for a period to Japan as part of the occupying force there. Those who returned came back to a warm welcome not only from friends and family but from a grateful government. The returning men had free travel warrants for holidays –  low interest housing loans, assistance into businesses and retraining in professions, and help to go on to the land. Ten thousand ex-servicemen were assisted to become farmers. By 1947 the shops began to fill again and the research and developments that for nearly a decade had been directed at war showed up as dividends for peace. Some of these dividends were in medicine and in horticulture, where chemical agents developed for military use, were put to use as insecticides. This was the era of “wonder chemicals” like DDT and 24D, welcomed at first by N.Z. agricultalists [agriculturalists] and only later to reveal their problems.

Photo caption – A self portrait in the Dunedin Botanical Gardens. 1945.

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In June 1945 just prior to the war ending I made application and was accepted for a sales and display position with Drages Home Centre in Dunedin. They had two large furniture and soft-good stores in the city one at 575 Princes Street and the other at 232 George Street as well as branches in Oamaru and Gore.

My night training in art work at King Edward Tech came to the fore in this my first work experience. 20 years old at the time my commencing wage was ₤1.17.6d a week. These stores did a thriving trade as this being the end of the war thousands of returning men had found their sweet hearts and were marrying and setting up home. Drages had a ‘special’ for them. For ₤100. they could purchase a bedroom & lounge suit [suite], kitchen table and chairs plus a 12ft square carpet. Rehab loans offered at that time gave them a good start to married life. I served on the staff of Drages for nearly four years.


A kick to my right knee during a soccer game at Kings High resulted in a bone infection and a subsequent operation to remove part of the knee cap. The surgeon thought that I should find a suitable non-contact sport and suggested tramping as we were well suited in Otago with access to the mountains so easy. I took up his suggestion and purchased my first pack, ice-axe and a pair of strong mountain boots studded with metal clinkers around the outer sole to give added bite on slippery river stones.

Thus began my odyssey into many parts of Fiordland, South Westland and the Southern Alps.

The pictures on this page are of a solo climb of the Remarkables 2324m in 1947.

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On the 23rd February 1949 I joined the staff of Wolfenden and Russell, a large Department store in King Edward Street, South Dunedin to take charge of their Manchester and Furnishings section. Once again I found myself involved in window and interior display work.
The founding partners of this store were Christian businessmen and had built up a high reputation for fairness in their dealings with the public.

Often on a Friday evening I would finish work and after tea and dressed for the mountains would shoulder my pack and catch a tram from St Clair to the Exchange and then on again to Ashburn Hall and strike out for Mt Cargill the beginning of a weekend tramp to the Silver Peaks Range. Although not high, Silver Peaks provided excellent training for many of my longer and more difficult climbs further afield. A one-man tent, spirit stove and map and I was in a new world.

Two and three-piece suits were the order of the day for shop workers.

A group from Playfair Street chapel returning from Silver Peaks.

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The Big O.E. Now the only unmarried member of the family my eyes turned overseas. This happened through a work contact at Wolfenden and Russell. A woman there just happened to mention that her brother was looking for workers on his farm, in a very desolate hot area some 300 miles Northwest of Melbourne. With her help I was assured of a job and the arrangements made to terminate with W & R, I purchased a light-weight racing cycle, broke it down into a crate and packed up for Australia. Farewelling Mum and Dad I flew out to Melbourne a journey in those days of eight hours. Some friends had mentioned that I could stay with them in Dandenong by train some thirty minutes from Melbourne. Within a few days the coach deposited me on the roadside still some distance from the farm. In due course a jeep braked in a cloud of dust and a gruff guy climbed out and scrutinizing me from head to toe remarked “what you a farmer?” Thus with one cursory glance my chances of working outdoors seemed dashed. The next day it was back to Dandenong. What now? What work can I find where will I live?

Dandenong was a fast growing area with a huge Heinz factory. There was no work at that time of the year so after wandering around the town I found a lovely stone Anglican church and went in to pray and seek some guidance. The possibility of getting board or a job were not too promising but I confided all this to God promising Him that if I did get replies from my advert in the local paper regarding these two requests I would make this church my home. Two days later while staying in a rather grotty boarding house two letters were popped under my door.

The first was from a newly formed Government enterprise with the rather wordy name. . . The Natural Resources Conservation League offering me a position in their nursery at Springvale, not far from Dandenong. It had been set up following the disastrous bush fires of 1949 and it’s task was to produce half a million Eucalypt and Acacia trees per year. These were provided free to farms throughout Victoria. Great!

Slicing the other envelope apart I was once again encouraged because a family named Rees were offering me board with their already large family of six children. They were a gracious Welsh background family and I soon fitted in with them and they included me in all their family outings etc. What a thrilling answer to prayer so you can see where my church home was going to be for the next two years. The little stone Anglican Church with an outgoing Church Army officer as it’s leader.

Below: Mr and Mrs Rees with five of their children. 1951

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Above: A general view of only one quarter of the Natural Resourses [Resources] Conservation Leagues nursery at Springvale, Victoria, where the Eucalypt and Acacia trees were propagated from seed in special glasshouses and then pricked out and grown in cylindrical containers made of biodegradable wood veneer which could then be planted straight into its future land situation.

Mrs Nelson And Mrs Cupsos preparing veneer tubes for seedling Eucalypts

Norm Waldron on the job at N.R.C.L

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Return to New Zealand

Eighteen months in Melbourne with N.R.C.L. had been a rewarding experience Most of my weekends were spent cycling throughout Victoria or tramping in the nearby Dandenong Ranges. The Manager of N.R.C.L. Mr Wilkie included me on many of his trips to the northern parts of the State of Victoria, places like the Murray River and East Gipsland, most affected by the fires of 1949. We propigated half a million Eucylypt trees in one year which were given free to farmers throughout Victoria.

Life within the fellowship of the Anglican Church at Dandenong was inspiring as the Church Army was reponsible [responsible] for the ministry of this congregation. Evangelical in outlook they were also very involved in the local community. For example when serious flooding occurred one weekend upon arriving at church we were asked to go home, put on some old clothes and join the efforts of others in cleaning up some badly flooded houses. My parents, having sold their Hargest Cres. house were now moving into a new home at Macandrew Bay on the Otago Peninsular [Peninsula], so I decided to go home.

I chose to return to N.Z. by ship from Sydney. After a farewell dinner given by the staff of N.R.C.L. they presented me with a copy of the Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible which has been very useful down the years. Off I set to Sydney on a three-day Pioneer Coach tour via the coast road. What a memorable scene on the dock at Sydney as hundreds of colourful streamers thrown to friends on the wharf fluttered in the breeze and finally snapped as the Monowai pulled away and we headed for the Tasman Sea and Wellington.

The Pioneer Coach Tour to Sydney.

Photo caption – Here I am in Sherbook Forest dwarfed by the huge Mountain Ash.

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Return to New Zealand 1952

Back home in Dunedin I found temporary employment With Mr Mong (grocer) only a stone throw from where we lived. A keen interest in photography was developing but staining the hand basin with photo chemicals was not too cool for Mum so I established my first darkroom – a wooden car container used in those days by companies who imported from the U.K. A Melthoid roof kept it water-tight but somewhat stuffy.

Trams were the main mode of transport when I took this picture of the Exchange, the centre of Dunedin in 1952. Note people dressed in coats and the style of motor vehicles then. Lovely ornate buildings.

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Launching out into Photography.

A motor vehicle accident at a corner intersection near our house early one evening proved to be another significant life-changing event in my life. Few vehicles used the roads then, so armed with a cheap camera and two flash bulbs I went out to investigate. I recall taking the two shots while the offending driver attempted to pull the cars apart. He obviously didn’t want the police to see how he had finished up but the outcome was that my pictures won the court case for the innocent party. He was so grateful that he offered me a job with Stuart Dawson Ltd, Jewellers. As that did not appeal to me I shared with him my dream of one day being a professional photographer.

Weeks later I received a phone call from the Editor of the Evening Star in Dunedin offering me a position as photographer. It seemed the driver of the car knew someone who knew someone and thus my dream became a reality. Under Dave Pickard and Frank Nicol I received invaluable tuition for what was to follow.

Press cameras of those days were big and heavy. The Speed Graphic was the standard model, a 5″x4″ glass plate being the negative used.

Speed Graphics had two shutters a compur type on the front lens and a focal plane at the rear of the camera, thus allowing greater versatility for sport as well as general photography. These were known as large format cameras – studio styles even being bigger sometimes up to 10″x12″ in negative. Another press model common at the time was a single reflex Graphlex D made primarily for sport. Armed with the availability of taking about 12 ‘shots’ per rugby game the photographer of the day had to be very selective in what he took, compared with todays 35mm cameras and 36 exposure films. Although cumbersome Graphics were outstanding for what they produced. Processing often produced cut fingers from the glass negatives.

First serious camera.
While making frequent trips to Central Otago to record the building of the Roxburgh Hydro dam I purchased a 2¼ square Voigtlander film camera which accompanied me on many of my excursions to the mountains. This produced stunning results.

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My two companions climb towards the top of the South Col during our 10-day journey into the Olivine Ice Plateau in 1953. This is reached via the Routeburn valley at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

Below: A rocky pass near the Olivines.

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An outstanding 10-day journey was with two other Dunedin men when we tramped up the Rees Valley at the head of Lake Wakatipu to the Dart Hut, then up the Dart Glacier to Cascade Saddle and into the Matukituki Valley finally coming out at Glendhu Bay at Wanaka.

Below left: Gavin and me on the slopes of Mt Headlong approaching the Dart Hut.

Below right: Gavin negotiating the rather flimsy suspension bridge leading to the Dart Hut.

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William Ernest Bates (above) was one of the most colourful personalities I encountered during my tramping days. Born in 1983 [1883] Bill was a foot soldier with fixed bayonet during the Battle of Passchendale in France, First World War. I stayed for four days with Bill in the winter of 1954 during a solo trip up the Routeburn, over the Harris Saddle in a foot of snow then to Lake Howden and down the Greenstone Valley where at about a mid-way point Bill lived in a hut called the Rats Nest. He shot Red Deer for the Internal Affairs Dept. That hut is gone but another with the same name was built by Bill’s young mate George Savage.

Bill with a pan of cooked venison.

Bill at the Rats Nest Hut 1954

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Late 1954 became a special year for me when I decided to buy what was then considered a Rolls Royce type of camera. It was a 6 X 9 cm (or 2¼x 3¼) Linhof with three lenses, a roll-film back, 6 double sided plate holders, plus special filters and a Weston Master IV light meter. It was all that I had ever dreamed to work with. From that day the Speed Graphic paled in comparison, the German Schneider optics were incredible from a superb wide angle to the 180mm telephoto the clarity of image was breathtaking. That camera would remain with me for the next ten years and negatives taken on it since 1954 are still well-preserved to this day. Much smaller than the Speed Graphic it’s inter-changable lens operation was much faster to use. The format was also much more natural to the eye.

This was a camera ideally suited for both monochrome and colour work.

Linhof cameras of that era fetch high prices on the collectors market.

This photo of the Earslaw [Earnslaw] coming into Elfin Bay, Wakatipu, was taken on the Linhof which I took on the trip to the Greenstone.

Photo caption – The 6x9cm Linhof.

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Celebration and Tragedy

1953 was a year of celebration and sadness for New Zealanders. In May that year, Hillary had conquered Mt Everest and a few days later the young Queen was crowned. On the 23rd December that year she became the first reigning Monarch to visit New Zealand and her lengthy journey through the country brought people to the streets in their thousands to catch a glimpse of her. From Auckland where she landed, to Bluff, from where she left five and a half weeks later, the response was the same. This was my first big challenge as a press photographer. I was assigned to link up with the Royal train at Timaru and leave when the Queen and Duke departed from Bluff. The press team with 49 photographers both from the U.K. and New Zealand travelled in the last carriage and at each stop on the route from Timaru there was a mad scramble as we had to be in place to capture every official welcome and look for incidental shots suitable for our particular newspapers. Finally reaching Dunedin I recall working well into the early hours of the morning processing plates and printing off pages of illustrations for the next day. The Queen and Duke stayed in Dunedin for three or four days and wherever they went together or on solo visits to organised events there the press gang went each one of us looking for a ‘scoop’ picture.

A day after the Queens visit began, the worst rail accident in our history occurred at Tangiwai. One hundred and fifty one people died on Christmas eve as the train plunged into the Whangaehu River.

Photo caption – Above: This is one of my original prints of the young Queen and Duke with then Prime Minister Sid Holland (back to car) being welcomed by the Mayor of Dunedin Sir Leonard Wright (bald head) for a civic reception at Carisbrook 1953.

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Royal Tour (cont)

Only minutes earlier the Crater Lake on Mt Ruapehu had unleashed a massive volcanic discharge. Thousands of tonnes of rock, ice and ash struck the bridge at Tangiwai whose concrete piers gave way. The tragedy shocked the country and in the days which followed railway trucks marked with white crosses carried bodies to their hometowns. Prince Philip attended a mass funeral in Wellington for those who could not be identified.

The tour proceeded and my final assignment was to cover the farewell in Bluff. At this southern tip of N. Z. an estimated 20,000 people gathered. The last Royal Guard of the Tour presented arms and with that act of formal respect the young Queen and Duke went on board the Royal Yacht, a stillness fell on the watching crowd – unashamedly there were tears. With pockets loaded with exposed plates my greatest concern was how to get to the airport on time to catch a flight to Dunedin. The answer came in the form of a transport officer on motorbike. He offered me a hitch on the pillion seat and we set off. While in radio contact with Bluff I heard mentioned that the Royal Yacht while proceeding north might enter Milford Sound (weather permitting). Handing my plates to the pilot of the Domini aircraft I made for a phone all the while thinking about the possibility of a picture of the Queen in Milford Sound. Although a chartered seaplane would be costly, permission was granted and hours later when we finally syndicated the pictures of the Royal Yacht dwarfed by Mitre Peak we had indeed pulled off a ‘scoop’ for the Evening Star, the Queen’s last look at New Zealand.

Another Life-Changing Experience.

At this time in my life I became aware of a lovely young lady named Audrey Braithwaite. Although we both lived in Hargest Crescent it was through Crusaders that we met. A senior group of former secondary schools met about once a month in the Methodist Lounge for fellowship, worship and outings.

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Additional to these meetings the senior Crusaders organised other pursuits such as one-day hikes, cycle trips and going out to hear visiting speakers at various churches. Thus over a period of time my head and heart was being steered towards Audrey as God’s chosen partner for me.

Audrey worked for the F.A.M.E. Insurance Company in Dunedin. Two of her work friends were Dennis Grennell and Noeline O’Sullivan (shown at left chatting). They later became committed Christians and remain life-long friends. As our friendship deepened I started to attend Playfair Street Gospel Chapel where Audrey was already part of a vibrant youth group. Her special friend was Lois Larking (later Mrs Martin). Moving from a mainstream denomination to the ‘ Open Brethren’ was quite a dramatic doctrinal shift but one which proved very rewarding as it opened me up to the Scriptures in a more profound way than I had previously experienced.

The youth group at Playfair Street was an important time in my development as a Christian. Easter camps figured prominently in our activities in the 50s. Mostly they were organised at Larnachs Castle on the Otago Peninsular [Peninsula].

Right: Audrey and Lois at Larnach’ s Castle.

A senior Crusader snow camp at Coronet Peak, Audrey 5th from left.

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Motorbike Days

The purchase of a 50cc B.S.A. Bantam motor bike greatly enlarged the scope for tramping and photography. By this time my parents had shifted house to Macandrew Bay on the Otago Peninsular [Peninsula]. The Bantam was invaluable not only for getting to and from The Evening Star but now also for quite frequent trips into St Clair to visit Audrey. Although not a high powered engine we travelled some significant distances. One memorable journey was to Owaka to visit her cousin Rua and family. Her husband John and brother had a unique logging business deep in the Catlins bush. Using a converted tractor they fitted bogey wheels and built their own railway track as they went further into the forest. What a venture!

A visit to Pleasant Valley on the Bantam

The Logan brothers bush railway at Owaka.

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Leaving a Lasting Impression.

As our relationship developed the time arrived when according to tradition I should formally meet Audreys parents. Both being keen on classical music we had decided to go out together to hear the National Orchestra. Early one evening I arrived at 48 Hargest Crescent to seek their permission to keep company with their daughter.

Unaware to me her Father earlier in the day had put down a strip of new concrete near the entrance path. In I went with both feet onto the smooth soft surface. What now? A neighbour working in his garden came to my aid by lending me a hand trowel to restore the damage. Not exactly the best introduction to one’s inlaws but all went well, they were pleased to meet me and readily granted permission to take their daughter out. Thus our official relationship was launched. Her Father John Rewi Ferguson Braithwaite had married Dorothy (nee Jacques Black) in St Pauls Cathedral, Wellington on December 15th 1932.

Rewi had come from a very large family, some 20 or more children, his Father Joseph owned and operated a large booksellers in the Exchange, Dunedin.


Left: Rewi and Dorothy pictured in Dunedin with their two daughters Joan (centre) and Audrey.

Below: A family group taken in Dunedin just prior to Audrey and I leaving for Hastings. From top they are Joan and Eric, Audrey and Jack, Rewi and Dorothy with Peter and Raewyn.

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Braithwaite Parents and Grandparents

Dorothy Braithwaite (nee Black)
Born Studholme Junction South Canterbury Sept 28 1905

Elizabeth Jacques Black (nee Blackie) Born Newcastle on Tyne England

John Rewi Ferguson Braithwaite Born Dunedin September 25th 1897

Joseph Braithwaite Born Westmoreland – England

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Early Pictures of Braithwaite Family

Back row from left: Pat Gaffney, Molly Gaffney, Rua Logan, Tane Braithwaite, Neville’s wife, Warwick Braithwaite, Eric Braithwaite, Percy Braithwaite, Peter Dawson, Rewi Braithwaite and Don Pollock. Middle row: June Dodd with Rua’s children, John Braithwaite, Dorothy Braithwaite, Joan Braithwaite and Jo Pollock and child. Front row: Audrey Braithwaite, Gaffney, Margaret Braithwaite, Pollock, Gaffney, Joan Braithwaite and Gaffney (son).

Rewi and Warwick photographed in Hastings. Warwick Braithwaite with Dorothy and Rewi in Dunedin for concert with the National Orchestra.

Percy Braithwaite Father of Percy and Jack.

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Fiordland Summer Excursion

With two Dunedin friends we planned a camping holiday to Fiordland. We made our campsite at Lake Manapouri which in 1954 was topic of much controversy with the proposal to build a hydro scheme at Deep Cove. Conservationists claimed that the taking of water for the project would seriously effect [affect] the pristine shoreline of Lake Manapouri. Ultimately the project was completed with no ill effects to the lake or its surroundings.

Audrey at breakfast Lake Manapouri. 1954

Audrey and Ferg – Lake Manapouri.

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En route to Milford Sound

Audrey and Gaynor (above) near the portal of the Homer Tunnel in 1954. Former portals had often been destroyed by avalanches thundering down from the heights above. Below: The view from the Milford side of the Homer tunnel. A steep twisty road winds its way from here down to the Hermitage [Milford Hotel] and airstrip one of the most famous of tourist destinations.

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British Prime Minister Visits Dunedin

Colourful British Prime Minister Mr Harold McMillan rarely seen without a pipe or cigar is shown (above) during his tour of the Royal Albatross Colony at Tairoa Heads at the entrance to the Otago Harbour during his official tour to Dunedin in 1957. The Albatross colony is unique in that these magnificent sea birds nest so close to the city. A well-managed protection program was introduced in the early 50s to allow the birds to nest without fear of losing their young.

Below: A pair of nesting birds at the Tairoa Heads colony. The headland is the right elevation for these wide-spanned birds as they migrate on their enormous sea flights.

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Our Wedding Day

Audrey and I were married at York Place Gospel Chapel on Saturday the 28th July 1956. The Celebrant was Mr Alan Melhop. Bridesmaid was Lois Martin (nee Larking) and the Bestman Stafford Burke. Our wedding photographs were taken in the garden of Mr and Mrs N. Eadie, Anderson Bay. The reception was held at the Crawford Lounge. Our honeymoon was in Queenstown which in 1956 was a little used holiday township on Lake Wakatipu. It was freezing at night so we kept the stove going. Despite it being Winter the location was magic for newlyweds and we enjoyed our travel around what would later be a mecca for tourists.

Right: Audrey’s Father Rewi with Lois and Audrey just prior to the ceremony.

Below: Audrey and me with our parents after the service. From left: James Fraser, Dorothy Braithwaite, the happy couple, Rewi Braithwaite and Elsie Fraser.

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On our Honeymoon in Queenstown

Queenstown in 1956
Pictures of us in and around Queenstow. [Queenstown], 1956

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Setting up Home

A view of our first home 117 Oakwood Avenue, Maryhill. It had forty six steps from the street up to the house. The view took in a sweep of the beaches and Caversham. Darkroom at left.

To reach our home from the City of Dunedin was by means of two cable cars. The first was to Mornington then changing to another the Maryhill cable car shown here in these two pictures at left and below. Our house was situated over the brow of the hill (arrow). Open sided the cable cars had two small enclosed cabins at front and rear but nevertheless were cold to travel on in Winter. If they had been retained they could now have been a great tourist ride.

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A view looking down Oakwood Avenue during a Dunedin Winter. Our house is shown near the arrow. During such falls of snow cars had to be left at home and the cable cars came into action. Below right: Raewyn was born on the 10th May 1957 and is seen here with Audrey at Oakwood Avenue. Below left: Imagine pulling the pram up the forty odd steps during Winter.

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Royal Tour of Dunedin by the Queen Mother

In January of 1958 I was assigned to cover the Royal Tour of the Queen Mother. Shown above is my picture of a radiant Queen Mother being welcomed by the Mayor and Mayoress of Dunedin, Sir Leonard and Lady Wright when she arrived at the Town Hall for the Civic Reception.

At the conclusion of the Royal Tour I accepted a position with the Evening Star as Illustrations Editor which for the next two years honed my skills in the wider field of the place of pictures in the media as well as now arranging assignments for the team of photographers. Although now not taking news pictures in my private capacity I continued to explore all aspects of monochrome work and in particular print making with a view to gaining my letters.

Page 41

Career Opportunity in North Island

The Herald-Tribune in Karamu Road 1959 ANZ Bank at left.

WANTED, a Photographer for a North Island Newspaper. Box 180 Hastings

Thats all it said in the advert which I read in the Star one day in Oct 1958. Although my passion for photography had been restricted to a desk job for the past two years and had been valuable experience the urge to be ‘out there’ with the camera was a strong pull and after much prayer and consulting with Audrey I sent off my application. In due course a reply came from the newly appointed Editor of the Herald Tribune, Mr Tony Whitlock offering me the job as Press Photographer with the brief to establish their first darkroom etc. He wrote “the Herald-Tribune is an evening paper published in Hastings but covering most of Hawkes Bay. I dont know if you know Hawkes Bay at all but I think you would find it a pleasant place to live in.” Your starting salary of £20 will be topped up by £1 a week for the use of your own equipment.”

And thus in Feb 1959 we placed our Dunedin home on the market, said our farewells to family and friends packed our furniture for the rail and loading some breakables in our sturdy Bedford van left Dunedin for Hastings. Raewyn was about 18mths old when we headed north.

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Beginning our new life in Hawkes Bay

After travelling by road up to Christchurch we took the over-night ferry to Wellington then on again by road to Hastings where we arrived on the 9th February 1959. Until we purchased our own home temporary accomodation [accommodation] was arranged in a company property in Elm Road. Having just been vacated the house was a mess and a commercial cleaner engaged to clean it up. We soon discovered that he was a Christian and he and his wife invited us for a meal from which contact there grew a friendship which is still on-going with their family.

Our first church home was Nelson St and it was another family the Winters, who made us feel so welcome and invited us to their home in Fernhill, from which there grew a friendship which remained for decades. Arthur and I enjoyed a close bond as we thought alike on many topics. Over the ensuing years we planned and enjoyed many annual holidays together as families.

As we both were keen to keep an open mind on spiritual issues being propogated at the time we linked up with C.B.R.F. (Christian Brethren Research Fellowship) an organization set up for those who were willing to explore our roots and discover not only what we as Christians believe but why?. These were stimulating and invigorating sessions held at Waikanae on an annual basis. Some renowned scholars were invited to these meetings i.e. Prof. F.F. Bruce, John Stott, Prof. Wiseman and many others well qualified in their various studies. Paramount in such gatherings was a willingness to stretch some of the accepted norms without there being any rancour or hostility. For months following such conferences we would seek to ‘unpack’ the vast store of teaching we had listened to. Truly amazing occasions.

Back on the road as a Press Photographer

The space allocated to me to work in could be described as primitive. It had been a connecting corridor between two departments which they blocked off at one end to form a darkroom area. Included in this was an old toilet which was included in my space. In these cramped and stuffy conditions I worked for a number of years.

Photo caption – Shielded from the rain here we are with our friends Arthur and Queenie at Orakei-Koraka [Orakei Korako] in the early 60s. The children are Brian Winters and Raewyn.

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Under such restrictive conditions my twenty nine year stint with the Hawkes Bay Herald-Tribune commenced. Buying a map of Hastings and Napier I set off in the Bedford to look for a picture for that day’s edition. I remember it well. A pretty four-year-old girl out with her Mother in Cornwall Park offering bread to a graceful and tame white swan, the first of thousands of images I would capture over the next fourteen years until my next career challenge.

Although the title of Press Photographer may sound grand a day in the life of such a person was rather arduous. For me starting from scratch with the ‘Trib’ meant that there were no systems in place for filing or cataloguing exposed negatives and prints. Calling on my experience with the ‘Star’ I initiated a system that would facilitate quick access for future use of pictures. Very quickly the volume of proofing and filing increased to the point where large cabinets were needed. With a photographer ‘on board’ the Advertising Dept. took full advantage of pictures to include in adverts.

The darkroom was made up of two small areas. One for the processing of plates and later film which also served as an area to mix photo chemicals. The other was the printing room which had a Quartz-halogen variable condenser enlarger capable of printing 5″x4″ plates or medium format film negatives. (shown at right). The only drawback to this form of light was that when a power surge occurred the lamp took ten minutes to cool before it could be used again. Black and white printing paper in the 60s came in six different grades for various densities of negative. Later Multi-grade papers would come on the market requiring only a set of graded filters to handle the contrast differences.

Deadlines were most crucial if the ‘press’ was to roll on time. There is a lot of stress in the job and little room for error. If a photo assignment ‘fell over’ it was my responsibility to find something to take it’s place. Managing Editor Tony Whitlock with his Reuters background brought many changes to this small Provincial Newspaper which was in strong opposition to it’s [its] Napier rival the Daily Telegraph. Being only twelve miles apart these twin cities were unique in that they both published evening papers. Later they were raided and taken over by the Brierly [Brierley] Group.

At the time of my appointment the company made a committment that within a year they would engage a cadet photographer to handle some of the routine work which by now had included selling pictures it had published. Print sales alone took a fair chunk of the photographers day. In my thirteen years as Chief Photographer I trained six cadets many of whom went on to good careers in photography, some as Press and others in the commercial field.

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Herald-Tribune Colleagues

Within twelve months the newspaper had employed it’s first cadet photographe [photographer], Bill Craig (above). The quantity of work had increased significantly and additional to taking most of the ‘news’ pictures quite a part of my day was spent tutoring Bill in every aspect of Photo Journalism. At sixteen when Bill joined the company he made good progress and over our working life we maintained a strong friendship. Photographic gear, particularly cameras became a problem. Although the Linhof body was in sound order the plate holders were not efficient. The Speed Graphics were still in use but cumbersome. Medium format 2¼” square cameras were being adopted for press work. Still being compensated for using my own gear I decided on a Rollei.

The Rolleiflex had a 2.8 Planar lens with a top speed of 1/ 500th sec. Many photographers prefer that the image they see be projected onto a flat surface rather than seen from eye level. The twin-lens Rolleiflex has separate viewing and picture-taking systems. Here at right they are stacked one over the other. The lower lens conducts light to the film. The upper one, coupled to the lower for focussing conducts light to a mirror (a) set at a 45 degree angle from whence it is reflected upward to a viewing screen (b).

Another cadet Mark Wilkie Top) went on to bigger things with Reuters in Europe.

Mark Wilkie (left) and Bill Craig in Hastings 2004

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With the purchase of this camera processing became a ‘breeze’ compared with glass plates (no more cut fingers) while the thinner negatives proved not only cheaper but took up less space for filing and storage.

Assignments were increasing at a fast rate as the company sought new and novel ways to attract readers. In the mid 60s the Editor hit on the idea of introducing a page of Wedding photographs every Monday, from the previous Saturday. Despite attempts to get the professionals to sell us prints we ended up having to take our own copy as they said processing would be too difficult for them at such short notice. Thus every weekend additional to general news and sports assignments we covered the ‘Bay’ taking Brides and Grooms as they exited the church (much to the dislike of the professional photographers). These had to be processed over the weekend and the copy ready by 9am Monday morning. Think about this typical Saturday’s work.

Venue: Mc Lean Park, Napier for a senior division Rugby game from 2.30pm – 3.30pm. Leave the grounds and drive to St Paul’s Church and capture Bride and Groom. Back in the car and return to Hastings St Matthew’s Church for another couple and then all the way back to the Catholic Church in Clive for another happy couple. It was not uncommon for two of us to take as many as fourteen weddings on any given weekend, from the little stone Memorial Church in the Esk valley to Waipukurau. No wonder we often thought we were in the wrong industry!

My Parents Visit to Hastings

Mum and Dad with Audrey, Raewyn and me in Hastings in the 60s.
While living in the temporary accomodation [accommodation] at Elm Road we were thrilled when my Parents who were residing in Dunedin made a visit to us. Only a few years previously while in Dunedin Audrey and I had invited them to come and hear Ivor Powell a Welsh Evangelist and on that night they were wonderfully converted to Christ. Their lives were transformed.

They were so keen to learn about their new found faith that they came along to the young peoples group at Playfair St as well as other events.

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A New Home in Hastings

Convinced that we would settle in Hastings we started looking for more suitable accomodation [accommodation]. Our Dunedin property was still unsold but nevertheless we searched for a place to rent until we sold our house. In Frimley we found a lovely two-bedroom bungalow on a very large section which at that time 1960 was still zoned county. Ultimately we purchased this property and as our family grew so did the house. Being a D.I.Y. devotee I engaged a school carpenter and together we doubled the size of the lounge. Years later having honed some building skills from that previous experience I added a wing to the back of the house finishing up with a sizable family home. It comprised three bedrooms, two bathrooms, lounge, living room, large internal kitchen, laundry, walk-in pantry and single garage with attached outside room (which had been my darkroom).

Our First Real Car

In 1961 we purchased a 1959 low-light Morris Minor car which served us well for the next few years. Our first visit to Taupo in this car took us seven hours. The Taupo Road was a ‘shocker’ in the 60s. Miles and miles of unsealed dusty roads the last twelve into Taupo rutted pumice.

Right: Audrey and Raewyn.

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Second Daughter Arrives

While still living in Elm Road Rosslyn our second daughter was born on the 13th Feb 1960. I delivered Audrey to the hospital and was dismissed by the staff with the words “Well goodbye Mr Fraser, we’ll let you know when there ‘ s something to report”. As we didn’t have a phone at Elm Road, our neighbors a Maori family offered to pass on any news. By 9am the next morning I phoned the hospital to hear the great news that Ros had been born the evening before at 7pm my neighbors just forgot!

When we finally made the move to 117 Ikanui we were thrilled with this lovely house with it’s ‘big’ section which we managed to get through our friends Bill and Ella Cruikshank who had been it’s previous occupants and who spoke up for us. Being zoned ‘County’ it had only just received town water supply. A pump and well was at the rear of the garage. Running the full width of the section at the back was a fully-enclosed chicken run in which we later kept about a dozen hens as can be seen in the lower picture, our garden was very productive. I grew every kind of vegetable. Characteristic of the 60s a man would come home from work, change his clothes and work in the garden until dinner. Beside one boundary of the property was the rear entrance to Frimley School which our girls attended.

Rosslyn Ann in her knitted baby gown

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Church Life

When we arrived in Hastings Nelson Street Assembly was our spiritual home. As part of their outreach they had Sunday School in a tiny little building on the corners of Florence Street and Gordon Road. I was asked to help in this work and in due course went on to become the superintendent. We soon became aware of the need to establish a full-time work in the area which we shared with the leadership of Nelson Street. With their encouragement this became a reality and Raureka Chapel Assembly was born. The building was so inadequate and the group who had elected to move to Raureka decided to build using the tiny existing structure as part of the new chapel. Vic Thomas was paid to undertake the job and the men of the church all pitched in to create our new premises. As we built the church so too did we build our relationships as a group. The new building grew fast and with all the pews stored at one end the final coat of varnish was applied to the floor. That night the 11th October the building was on fire, it appears that rags soaked in Polyurathane [Polyurethane] and turps if left crunched up become a lethal combination for combustion. There was great sorrow after such a united effort but a resolve through prayer and discussion to complete the job again. This time because insurance had been taken into account in the first instance the entire project could now be funded to employ staff to finish the work. Architect Martin Yoeman [Yeoman?] was engaged and the building was enlarged and when completed faced in the opposite direction to the first.

Although the 11th October 1960 had been a sad beginning to our new life as a church fellowship we established some wonderful friendhips which have carried on down many decades.

Photo caption – Vic Thomas (centre front) with some of the men during a Saturday working bee.

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Rising From The Ashes

The response to our setback within the Raureka area was truly amazing and in hindsight may have helped to establish our presence within the community. The Scout group who met in the hall at St.Leonard’s Park approached us kindly offering the use of their building while we gutted and cleaned up the inside of our badly damaged property.

Once established in our new building we worked systematically to ‘grow’ the Church in Raureka. House to house visitation was undertaken from which many local children joined our Sunday School. Holiday programmes were also tried as a means to reach the children and in due course there were more than one hundred children coming the largest percentage being from non-Christian backgrounds. We had a staff of about ten teachers from primary all the way through to senior Bible Class. Later when family services were introduced many parents of the children became believers. Prominent features of those times were annual picnics and S.S.Anniversaries.

Raureka Chapel had it’s own identity, quite different to others in the district at the time, even appointing a full time Pastor. We sought to share the Gospel in the context of our locality and over the years the work flourished under the guidance of God. We undertook training to learn counselling and group skills thus equipping ourselves for ‘Mission’ both local and further afield.

Photo captions –
Below: Here we are enjoying a fellowship tea in the Scout Hut in 1960

The new chapel ready for the official opening on 19th Mar 1961

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Hastings in the 60s

There was no thought of a water feature here when I took this photograph of the Westerman corner in the early 60s. Sadly here this place witnessed one or two train fatalities as well as crossings both north and south of Hastings until public pressure compelled the Railways to install barrier arms. Westermans wonderful architecture still graces our city.

Below: The annual Blossom Parade attracted thousands to Hastings. The streets were packed often five deep to see the creative floats. My vantage point for this picture was from the porch above the old ANZ Bank.

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Developments in Photography

As we proceeded into the 60s big changes were coming for Press Photographers. Medium format (i.e. Rollei’s etc) were in wide use but 35mm single lens reflex cameras were being manufactured. Just prior purchasing any more cameras I decided to approach the company to now fund any more purchases. This they agreed to and one of the happiest days for us was the arrival of the Rollei S.L.66 with interchangable lenes [lenses]. We thought we were made!

Just as the lens is the most crucial part of a camera so too is the equipment to produce the print – the Enlarger. In 1962 I was fortunate to buy a Leitz Focomat 11 from an amateur photographer in Hastings. It was a twin lens model with automatic focusing and. capable of holding negatives from 2¼”x 3¼” down to 35mm. This is one of the finest German enlargers ever made with capability for both Black and White and Colour printing.

Although Black and White processing is rarely handled today in a darkroom these old skills are still invaluable. I hand printed all the illustrations in this book.

Hand Colouring

Because there was no such thing as colour photo shops around in the 40s to 70s any colour photographs had to be hand coloured. This was achieved by making a Black and White print, converting it to Sepia tone and then suitably trained colourists would use transparent colour oils to produce as true a rendition of the subject as they could. Customers would be requested to provide a sample of any dress or suit material, of hair, specifying the colour of eyes etc.

In the 405 I taught myself to hand colour using Windsor and Newton oils often printing and colouring enlargements from 6″X4″ up to nearly four foot in size. Very time consuming they were nevertheless satisfying to complete.

Left: An example of a small portrait which I hand-coloured in the 40s. Lois and Audrey in Dunedin.

As technology now centred on producing smaller and more efficient cameras so too were vast improvements being made in the manufacture of film and. it’ 5 speed rating. I remember using ASA 10 in 1940 now you can have speed ratings up to 1000 ASA.

Big changes were afootwith the Hawkes Bay Herald-Tribune it’s Managing Editor Tony Whitlock who had appointed me left to return to Australia and Ted Webber replaced him.

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Audrey’s Parents Arrive in Hastings

Maybe the overcoats Rewi and Dorothy are wearing for the Dunedin climate indicates why after having come north for a holiday with us they chose to return to Mosgiel – sell their general store and come and reside in Hastings for the rest of their lives. They arrived in Hastings about 1962 and Rewi went to work for the opposition, Napier’ s Daily Telegraph where he was employed in their circulation Department. They bought a house in Waipuna Street and later a flat in Florence Street, Raureka.
In his early life Rewi had played soccer in the first All Whites team for N.Z.

One of the Champions

In the midst of the recriminations over rugby we also shared in the glory of other sport. In just one hour at the 1960 Olympic Games two Kiwis Peter Snell and Murray Halberg won gold in the 800 metres and 5000 metres events. Considered a rookie, Snell powered his way to glory over a fancied field of runners. Together Snell, Halberg and their little known coach Arthur Lydiard, became more than household names. Their feats introduced the joys of jogging to a whole generation of Kiwis.

Right: I managed to persuade Peter Snell to pose for this shot at the Hastings Highland Games another annual fixture in the city.

At the Tokyo Olympics of 1964 Snell won both the 800 and the 1500 metres.

The first car crash I photographed at the Tribune. On the corner of Avenue and Karamu Road. Both came out the worst for wear.

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Royal Tour of Hastings and Napier.

Above: In 1963 The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the twin cities of Hawkes Bay. I took this picture of the Queen as very relaxed she greeted the Mayor of Hastings, Mr Ron Giorgi as the crowd look on.

Above: Following a church service at St Pauls Presbyterian in Napier the Queen prepares to walk among the people as the Duke chats with the Rev Ron Mc D. Hay at the conclusion of the service.

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Helen, Last of the Children Born

On the 12th December 1963, the, weekend. of Jack and Noni’s wedding Helen was born at the Hastings Hospital. Although we had produced another daughter we were not in the least concerned but rather overjoyed and thankful to God for yet another healthy baby.

Because Audrey was confined to the hospital the Bridal group visited her there and I recorded the event as part of my role that day as photographer.

Photographs of Helen as a baby (above) and some images of her in the early years of her life.

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Large Variety of Assignments

Whether it was a fashion show, a race meeting or chasing a sailing ship 40 miles out at sea in a Piper Cub a Provincial Press Photographer had to be versatile and ever creative. Above: Here I am with Graham Stewart (left) of the Daily Telegraph and Tribune reporter Janice Cullinane.

Below: Down at mast height for a shot of the Esmeralda.

Climbing a 100ft lighting tower at the Port of Napier to photograph a passenger ship.

As we reached into the 60s the Herald Tribune did grow as did the photographic department. We were now a staff of three and yet we barely managed to keep up with the ever increasing demands for more illustrations. The era when Hawkes Bay held the Ranfurly Shield was not only exciting but a challenge. Over to Napier for the morning parade with Hawkeye out in front –  back to Hastings to process pictures for that day’s edition and then a quick bite and back to McLean Park for the shield challange [challenge]. Heady days!

In March of 1970 I was assigned to head up my final Royal Tour, the Queen’s visit to Napier. Two other memorable photo shoots were the visits of H.R.H Princess Alexandra and pioneer heart transplant surgeon Christian Barnard.

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Life in the 70s

New Zealand in the 1970s was a nation fumbling for its future. New Zealanders took to the streets in growing numbers. They marched in protest at wage and price levels and industrial conditions. They staged sit-ins to oppose the Vietnam war, nuclear testing and the bomb. They railed against apartheid in South Africa. They signed two of the biggest petitions ever received at Parliament, to save Lake Manapouri and repeal the abortion act. They wrote pamphlets and performed street theatre in support of women’s rights. They occupied disputed land to uphold Maori rights and they marched and called the new talkback radio and wrote letters to the Editor to protest against the protests. This was New Zealand in the 70s.

Internationally things were worse. Arab guerillas hijacked and blew up planes. Palestinian terrorists killed members of the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in disasters natural and otherwise – over 655,000 in a massive earthquake in China, and. some 900 members of the People’s Temple religious cult in a mass suicide in Guyana. Across the world old leaders were deposed. In the United States Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace for his role in the Watergate affair.

In New Zealand three of the country’s best-known leaders occupied centre stage in close succession. One of our longest – serving Prime Ministers, Sir Keith Holyoake, stepped down from office in 1972. That same year his successor John Marshall, “Gentleman Jack” was defeated by Labour’s Norman “Big Norm” Kirk. Labour’s defeat one year later brought to power National, and it’s new leader Robert Muldoon. The nation grew more and more urbanised – 75 percent of Maori and Pakeha now lived in towns and cities, and the population continued to drift north. By the mid-Seventies, 73 per cent of Kiwis lived in the North Island, a quarter in Auckland alone.

Here in Hawkes Bay life continued at it’s normal pace little affected by issues mentioned above.

All The Girls Now At School

Helen, Ros and Raewyn about to leave for school in 1970. Helen and Ros were at Frimley (just over our back fence) and Raewyn was attending Heretaunga Intermediate, only a few blocks from home.

My Parents Shift To Hastings

Mum and Dad shortly after their arrival in Hastings from Dunedin.

[Page 57 missing]

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A New Career Challenge

For many decades the illustrations in newspapers were of poor quality, uninteresting for the readers and totally frustrating for the photographers whose images although perfect in clarity, when published lost so much in visual appeal due to the process of reproduction used at the time. The Herald-Tribune had two machines for making printing plates. One called a Klishograph used aluminium foil plates the other the Elgramma produced plates made of a plastic material.

The photographers prints were wrapped around a drum on the machine (at left) and a plastic plate was wrapped around a similar drum on the other side of the consol. A neddle [needle] punched thousands of raised dots corresponding to the tonal range of the black and white print. When scanned the plate was then sent to the compositing room where it was placed on a flat lead mount along with the columns of type. This method of printing was known as ‘hot metal’, thus the problem.

The type was made by a Linotype machine (left) and as the operator typed up the copy the lines of type came out of the machine as ‘slugs’ of metal with the type in reverse. Incorporated into the Linotype machine was a pot of molten lead which cast the type. Thousands of ‘slugs’ were assembled in columns making up the various pages of a daily edition. The pictures were now placed within the frame and sent off for the next step in production. The page all ‘ganged’ together was now put under intense pressure transferring an impression to a ‘matte’ material which would then be placed in another machine to make a lead plate ready to be assembled to a drum on the printing press. Thus in 1975 I elected to give up press photography and retrain myself as a photo-lithographer with the goal in mind of improving the end results of photographs.

The compositing room of the Herald-Tribune in 1975

Photo caption – The Elgramma cutting a plate.

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Leisure Pursuits Down The Years

Bowling at Kia Toa

Fly Fishing at the Mohaka River

Riding the Tukituki when in flood

My 14lb Snapper at Mahia Peninsular [peninsula]

With Marty Healey and Joe Sowry at Taupo

Water skiing with Arthur

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Serving God

Over and above all the rich experiences which I have enjoyed in my 76 years of living has been the conscious joy and dignity of knowing the love of God that captivated me when only fifteen years old but an encounter which changed the whole course of my life. Little did I realise at that time what lay ahead of me over the coming years. Jesus spoke these words ” I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known unto you. You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit”. Jn 15:15

As mentioned earlier soon after arriving in Hastings a small group of us were led to begin a local church in Raureka. The building was finished and we soon had a flourishing Sunday School and regular weekly meetings under way. There were six Elders in the formative years and we worked together to impact the district with the Gospel. This was also the time of Charismatic Revival which was sweeping through the world. Brethren assemblies in the main held to a believe [belief] that the Gifts of the Spirit (sign gifts) had ceased upon the completion of the cannon [canon] of Scripture. Many Assemblies therefore adopted a protective stance over their people and subsequently anyone expressing a more open mind on the issue came in for not only criticism but sadly harsher treatment. At Raureka we kept an open mind policy but even so this was not without some problems. Many gifted Pastors and teachers were forced out of Assemblies to find an open door of acceptance in other fellowships. However the 60s and 70s were dynamic eras for Raureka as we saw God touch the lives of many local people both young and old. Family camps, evangelistic rallies, picnics etc were a strong feature of our life together.

During that same period I accepted the role of leading the Crusader group at Hastings Boys High School. Having derived much blessing in my early life through this inter-denomination movement I was pleased to serve the Lord in this capacity. Additional to our weekly get togethers at the school we organised snow camps in the Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges, week-long bike tours and many other outdoor pursuits that attracted young men.

Often we joined forces with the Napier group under the leadership of Martin Yoeman [Yeoman] with camps arranged by the National director Doc Martin.

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Family Holidays

Every year as the girls grew we planned family holidays somewhere. Lake Taupo (many times) Wanganui, Mahia Peninsular [Peninsula], Gisborne, Algies Bay, Auckland and just prior to Raewyn beginning her first year at Auckland University we had a South Island tour. My brother Ian came to stay in our house and we picked up his caravan which he had taken to Picton and proceeded down the East Coast to Christchurch and then on to Dunedin for a week. Our next stop was at Queenstown and the valleys at the head of Lake Wakatipu where I set off on many tramping and climbing expeditions in the 40s. We left the caravan at Alexandra as planned and drove on through Hawea to the Haast intending to find accomodation [accommodation] there. No vacancies, and so it was all the way up the west Coast which we travelled in one day. Even in Nelson the only place we could get was a bed and breakfast guesthouse. What a great time we had.

The Martins

Fred and Lois Martin have been close friends since our youth group days at Playfair Street Assembly. Fred was originally from Auckland and completed his medical studies at the Otago Medical School. Those were significant years in Dunedin as with the vigour of youth we sought to serve God. Open-air witnessing in the centre of Dunedin (with a caution about the volume of the sound system) all these efforts bathed in prayer. Fred and Lois were married in Dunedin and we travelled down from Hastings to celebrate with them. Fred took up a position with the Tauranga Hospital and ultimately owned his own practice there.

Right: Fred and Lois photographed at Lyttelton on their way north to Tauranga after their wedding.

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Our Friend Janey

How did we meet her? I will let Audrey explain. “I was in the kitchen and there was a knock at the door. There was our lovely Island friend Kimmy Obers, she introduced me to her Maori friend Janey. Janey had a huge smile on her face and seemed really happy to come in and chat. Kimmy and Janey had walked quite a distance. Kimmys’ son Michael had been born with club feet, he had just had an operation and they were going to the hospital to see him. I asked them to come back to lunch. Kimmy said they couldn’t – she needed to get home. Kimmy had two other children Frances and Richard, she was bringing them up alone as her husband had died of cancer not long after they came to N.Z. to live.

At about 1pm there was a knock at the door – there was janey [Janey]! “I’ll come to lunch!” She had walked all the way home and then decided to come back! So started a friendship which Janey called ‘The Ikanui Road Social Welfare.’ I found out one day when speaking on the phone to The Department of Social welfare regarding Janey.

Janey became a very regular visitor. We loved her and little by little we discovered her background. She had been born in Kawakawa, Bay of Islands and sadly she had spent many years in Porirua Mental Hospital. Some well-meaning people who visited the hospital somehow contacted one of Janeys’ sisters in Hastings and she was discharged into her and her husbands care. After having been institutionalised for so long the road ahead for Janey wasn’t going to be an easy one.”

So began an involvement with this ‘special’ friend which lasted for many years until her strange disappearance and death in Wellington while staying with relatives. Although Audrey played the greatest role in caring for Janey, both of us helped her in many house shifts. She became well known in Hastings for collecting bottles and other items. Strawberry cropper Neil Manning engaged Janey to spread straw along the rows of his berry farms. I dont remember the number of times I was required to make running repairs on her prams. Janey was a Christian and I had the privilege to baptize her at Raureka Chapel.

Long Time Friends

Our friendship with the Hanna family began on the second day of coming to Hastings. Harry was the man hired to clean up the Tribune House. Harry and Joy (top centre) are seen with Audrey, my Mum and Dad, Joy’s Mum and Dad also Raewyn and Wayne.

Page 63

The Tribune Goes Cold Type

In 1978 the management of the Herald-Tribune made the bold decision to embrace the new technology of ‘Cold Type’. This was a dynamic choice not only involving huge financial committment for plant and machinery but an altogether different system of printing the newspaper which was going to involve most of the existing staff in retraining. Dispensing with molten lead as its base material also meant that the Hoe Rotary Press would have to go either for scrap metal or to a buyer in another town. New Web Offset units would be purchased and these would have to be housed in a new building. Approximately one year was set aside for the phasing in of the new system and the retraining commenced. As the new process was largely photography based I was asked to head up the new Photomechanical Department with a staff of five. Our work involved converting all illustrations to toned bromides which were pasted up with the columns of printed stories and when finished we photographed the entire page in a process camera on sheets of film the size of a newspaper page. The negative was then burnt through to an alluminium [aluminium] plate which was attached to the press. The results were fantastic – at last the photographic team could take pride in the images they took.

Right: I am about to place a prepared page under the process camera. The large negative is in a vacuum frame at the top. When exposed the negative was developed in an automated film processing machine. If you were to use a magnifier and look at this picture you would see the dots which enable the print to be scanned. This is a bromide. Although we were producing colour in our headings and ads over the next few years the company was gearing up for another ‘first’ to produce a full colour picture on the front page of the paper. Additional to producing the daily paper the Herald-Tribune published a number of other tabloids and advertising sheets.

Our First Front Page Colour

A press release on the eve of Prince Charles’ engagement to Diana was our opportunity to try for a four colour picture of the couple in Feb 1981. As we did not have the equipment to produce the separated images Pictorial Publications made these for us. It was a lovely picture and as the country edition was being printed I went through to the front office where one of the girls just mentioned that Diana was wearing the ring on her wrong hand. It seems that Pictorial Publications had shot the image through the back of the film thus reversing the picture. Panic stations! after pulling the four images apart we managed to get a set of four new plates to the press room just in time for our town edition. Thus began our launch into colour.

During my term as head of the Photomechanical department I trained a number of people as four-colour operators as well as half-tone lithographers. Offset presses are now almost standard throughout New Zealand.

Page 64

A Cross-Cultural Experience

In the late 70s Audrey and I were attending the Hastings Apostolic Church and while there the idea was mooted that the Church consider caring for a family of Vietnamese boat people who were looking for a new start in life having been caught up in the dreadful war in their country.  After much thought and. preparation we decided to offer our help. In due course we had a call from the Immigration Dept asking us would we be prepared to sponsor four single young men rather than a family. The Church agreed and early 1978 the four young men arrived in Hastings. What excitment [excitement]! but the practical implications were far from being easy. It appears that even though the four of them had been in the Mangere Centre for their initial orientation course they did not know each other – something the Labour Dept had assured us they did. We had managed to get a house for them close to our home and in due course each of them managed to get jobs with some assistance from the church. Although the group at the church had untertaken [undertaken] to play some part in their progress in reality Audrey and I were ultimately left with the boys. Their English was minimal and so little by little over the years we taught them English and formed a very close bond with these individual young Vietnamese. Buying a table tennis set proved most effective in creating a link into their lives. They ‘adopted’ us as their Mum and Dad figures. Although there were some inter-personal problems to be sorted from time to time we found Merlin Wong a local Chinese man willing to reinforce some guidance that they needed to understand. They had an ethnic Chinese background.

There are so many happy memories of our boys. We heard. them before we saw them! There they were spread across the centre of the road chattering away as they came to visit us on the first day of their arrival. Handing Audrey the bottles of Coca Cola which [they] had brought with them they nervously sat in the lounge while I rigged up my projector and we introduced them to some of the lovely places in New zealand which we had taken over the years. The house which we had managed to acquire for them had a glass house and one Saturday we saw the boys riding their bikes up Ikanui Road each of them clutching a couple of live hens which were hastily released into the glass house – Mrs Mills’ plants were doomed! One of them phoned and asked “if sister Los would like to come and help pluck the feathers off the birds”. We had many happy years with the boys who by now were five in number with the arrival of Ming. Ming later married and in due course they all left N.Z. mostly for Sydney where there is a Vietnamese community.

The boys at home from left Hen, Dinh, Quang and Khay.

[Page 65 missing]

Page 66

New Zealand in the 80s

We entered the 1980s a nation of 3.16 million with over 2.2 million motor vehicles on the road, in the midst of an economic recession. Unemployment numbers were relatively high – more than 40,000 registered in 1980 and inflation was a continuing problem. The Eighties were to be a decade of bitter divisions as well as moments of exuberant unity. We experienced great highs and lows. While seeking an Aotearoa/New Zealand identity in the South Pacific we exchanged some of the elements we had long used to define us in the past for those of a very different ethos. In Government and business, power passed from the generation moulded by the Great Depression and Second World War to the first of the “baby boomers” who had grown up in the much more prosperous late Forties and the Fifties.

We moved from one of the most regulated economies in the world to one of the least regulated in less than ten years.

When Cyclone Bola struck the North Island in March 1988, flooding caused huge damage in the East Coast and Hawke’s Bay regions. Estimates of the cost of the devastation were put at $75 million.

In 1980 the New Zealand Rugby Union chose an inauspicious time to invite the South African Springboks to tour N.Z.- 12 September. Three years earlier on that day S.A. Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko had died in Police custody. Muldoon cited as paramount the freedom of sports bodies “to make the final decision on with whom they have contacts as a basic freedom which we will not withdraw”. Rugby stirred strong passions among New Zealanders and many riots errupted [erupted] in the country the match in Hamilton evoking fierce fighting. When they flew out of Auckland N.Z. began to count the cost. The Government had spent $7.2 million on its tour defence, nearly 2000 arrests had been made although in court many of these were later struck out. The 1981 election made it clear that Muldoon had made a bad decision they won but by a narrow margin 47 National, 43 Labour and 2 Social Credit. This was also the year of Nationals or should I say Bill Birchs controvercial [controversial] “think big” policies based on energy. Not a happy time for National!

One spectacular success in the 1980s was when the All Blacks won the first Rugby World Cup in 1987 beating France 29 – 9.

Tempers fray, fists and homemade weapons fly in Wellington as violence between the various factions in the 1981 tour protests become more overt.

Page 67

Family and Friends

The Frasers and Braithwaites ‘say cheese’ during a birthday celebration in our garden at Ikanui Road. From left they are: Rewi Braithwaite, Pamela Stephenson (front) Audrey Fraser, Kaye Mc Gregor, Raewyn Fraser, Peter Mc Gregor, Rosslyn Fraser, Helen Fraser with Dad, Elsie Fraser, Barbara Groome, Dorothy Braithwaite and Joan Mc Gregor.

A group of our church friends at a marriage enrichment seminar in the 1980s. From left seated: Cecelia Knight, Graham Knight, Marie Palmer, Max Tuck, Heather Tuck and Esme Syme. Standing from left: Audrey Fraser, Don Palmer, All Barr, Colin Barr and Colin Syme.

Page 68

Prize Winning Picture


‘Congratulations, we have pleasure in advising you, that your photograph has won the ‘Chef Jellimeat Snap your Pet Competition.’

Earlier in 1984 prior to Raewyn leaving for the U.K. I had dreamed up an idea for the competition and Raewyn had helped me with the photo shoot. Tessa sat fairly still most of the time but the lenses in the glasses had to come out as they seemed to bother her. The theme ‘dogma’ had obviously appealed to the judges and all up the prize was worth $10,294. Originally planned for a family of four the sponsors cashed it up allowing Audrey and I to visit the U.K. and Europe. So a big thanks to our clever little Sheltie Tessa.

We had a three day stop-over in Los Angeles where we visited the usual tourist attractions like Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Page 69

Changing Times

In his last three years in Government, Muldoons economic management became more and more authoritarian as he tried to control the local effects of a world-wide recession. Old supporters began to criticise him. Property developer and newspaper columnist Robert Jones once a true supporter launched the New Zealand Party using humour to highlight the increasing and sometimes bizarre regulation of life in N.Z. At the beginning of 1983 David Lange a big man with a quick mind and sharp wit became leader of the Labour Party. He would become as high profile a Prime Minister as Muldoon, both left their mark on the country. In June 14th 1984 without warning Muldoon called a snap election and Labour won by a landslide – Labour 56 seats, National 37, Social Credit 2. 1984 was the end of a political era in N.Z. Sir Robert Muldoon replaced as leader of the party remained in Parliament until 1991, an increasingly isolated and ignored figure.

The last five years of work at the Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune were quite a challenge, as the new technology as well as improving the production of the paper also added a lot of stress as we tried to cope with an ever increasing work load and come to terms with computer driven equipment. Although I once considered remaining in active work until sixty five I made a choice to retire when sixty. With this in mind Audrey and I decided to put our family home on the market and look for something smaller and less work intensive. A Polynesian woman who worked at the hospital saw our private sale notice and ultimately purchased Ikanui Road. We had also been scanning the ads for houses to buy and Audrey noticed that someone was offering a near-new house on a rear section in Miro Street, Mahora, about one kilometre from our house. It was all that we ever hoped for, the grounds were undeveloped and we just knew this was where we wanted to spend our ‘retirement years’. We purchased it and immediately set about landscaping the two garden areas and planting shrubs and trees.

The Stock Market Crash

On Tuesday 20 October 1987 “Black Tuesday”, Kiwis woke to the news that starting in New York, share prices had collapsed around the world. When the markets opened here, the latest “South Seas Bubble” burst. In two months $23 Billion dollars was wiped off the stock market boards, nearly fifty per cent of the market. The very rich and ordinary Kiwis, big investors and small all fell with the market.

Page 70

DIAMOND WEDDING The 4th June 1984 was a very happy occasion for our family as we assembled in Hastings from different parts of the country to celebrate 60 years of marriage with Mum and Dad. They celebrated their wedding at Mums parents home in Nelson Street, Dunedin on that day in 1924. Lindsay, who lives in Adelaide was the only one unable to attend the function which was held in The Old Flame, Hastings.

Photo captions –
Front row from left: Raewyn, Audrey, Maureen, Dad and Mum, Joyce and Ros. Back row: Ferg, Ian, Helen, Bob and Ross.

Audrey and Ferg with Daughters from left: Helen, Ros and Raewyn. Tessa on my lap.

Mum and Dad with our family.

Mum and Dad with Ian, Joyce and Ferg.

Page 71

A New Chapter of Life Unfolds

In 1988 the Management and Staff of the Herald Tribune gave me a wonderful farewell after twenty nine years with the newspaper. I had formed many friendships during that time but was really looking forward to what my post- work years would bring. Raewyn was now living in the U.K. Rosslyn was in Wellington with her husband Alex and children Daniel and Chloe and Helen was living in Auckland.

One of my first projects when we purchased our new house was to extend the garage and build a darkroom to continue my interest in monochrome photography. I did this by adding an extra six feet at the rear of the garage finishing the building in the same bricks as the original, then adding an internal wall to create a suitable space for the darkroom and den.

Industrial Chaplaincy

Prior to my retirement Ralph Hamilton co-ordinator of I.T.I.M. had frequently approached me to become a Chaplain. Now I was in a position to undertake this challenge. It involved a time of training in Wellington and this I completed and was duly chosen as a suitable person to undertake this work. The chaplains role is to be seconded to a company or work place, there to be available to anyone in a spiritual and practical way. Coming from a ‘neutral’ position the staff and management are free to share whatever concerns they have re their work or home situations.

Ralph suggested that I might like to work with M.A.F. Qual in Hastings and the M.A.F. Fisheries officers in Ahuriri. Both these organisations proved to be ideally suited to me and over the next five years I spent four hours collectively visiting their premises where I discovered that they had a real need for a chaplain. Frequently they opened up to spiritual aspects of their lives and God became real to a number of men and women who previously had closed off this area of life. Under Ralph’s leadership there were as many as twenty four Chaplains both casual and full-time. We met together for bi- monthly lunches and occasionally for seminars.

About two years into this work John Dawson became co-ordinator of I.T.I.M. for Hawkes Bay. Like Ralph he too was an effective leader of the group and I found his regular times of supervision most helpful as we evaluated our impact on the various places that we were serving in. John had a background in the department of Social Welfare which provided him with a broad and in-depth perspective on human interaction and the problems that often arise from such. John followed on from Ralph as Chaplain to Hort Research at Havelock North. One of the duties I enjoyed doing was creating visual aid displays to be placed at specific workplaces. It was also my privilege to conduct some weddings and funerals during my service to M.A.F.

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Family Celebrations

A picture (above) of just one of the many Christmas meals we spent together as family in Hastings over the years. This one was 1983 and with us were not only both sets of parents but Helen and Gordon who earlier in 1983 had been married at Duart House, Havelock North on Feb 27th. Shown around the table are from left: Elsie Fraser, Jim Fraser, Dorothy Braithwaite, Audrey Fraser, Gordon and Helen, Ros and Raewyn.

The beach north of Gisborne is the site for this picture taken during our visit to attend the wedding of Raewyn and Kevin. Back row from left:- Eroll Turbitt, Frank Hicks Murray Turbitt , John Lyne , Percy Braithwaite, Dorothy Braithwaite, Annie Turbitt, Ron Turbitt, Audrey Fraser and Rewi Braithwaite . Middle row: Kay Turbitt, Glenis Hicks, John Stevenson, Edith Hicks, Nancy Stevenson (with baby Karen), Mary Braithwaite, Ron Braithwaite. Children in front: Heather Hicks, Helen Fraser, Leigh Ann Stevenson, Ros Fraser, Pollock from Nelson and Raewyn Fraser.

Page 73

Audreys’ Parents

Audreys Mother and Father are shown here on the their Golden Wedding anniversary the 15th December 1982 at their home in Florence Street, Hastings. They had been married on that day in 1932 at St Pauls Cathedral in Wellington.

Some of the family photographed at the Hastings Memorial Hospital on the occasion of Pops 89th birthday.  After living alone for about one year following Dorothys’ death on the 22nd Aug 1984 he came to live with us for one more year until a fall and broken hip took him to hospital where he stayed until his death on the 15th Jan 1987. He is shown with a patient who took a real interest in him. In the group are back from left: Robyn and Peter Mc Gregor, Lynda Braithwaite, Audrey, Noni Braithwaite, Joan Mc Gregor, Jack Braithwaite, Kaye Greville holding Kerri, Ros & Jenny Braithwaite In front: Jon Greville, a hospital friend, Pop, and Helen Fraser holding Zoe.

Page 74

Our Grand and Great Grandchildren

Daniel born 17th Nov 1986

Chloe born 5 Sept 1990

Katie born 2nd Oct 1993

Luke born 5th Dec 1996

Zoe born 4th April 1986

Christopher born to Zoe 2nd May 2003

Page 75

My Fathers Death

During April of 1988 my Father became very unwell with inflamation of the lungs which resulted in him being admitted to the Hastings Memorial Hospital where they confirmed that he was suffering from pneumonia. On the evening of the 7th April I had collected my Mother from her home and we made a visit to see Dad. He seemed bright and cheerful and after about an hour I returned Mum to her house and proceeded home. It seemed that within minutes of us leaving the hospital Dad had taken a sudden heart attack and died soon after. All very unexpected we notified all the members of the family and planned for Dads’ funeral. This was held three days later at Tong and Peryer lounge in Nelson Street, Hastings. He was buried in the soldiers section of the Hastings Lawn Cemetery.

Off to Britain Again

In 1989 and now retired from full-time employment we decided to visit the U.K. this time for a full three months. Our purpose was primarily to catch up with Raewyn who was living at Severn Ridge the home of Dave and Rhi Day. The Bristol Christian Fellowship which Dave heads up were planning an Apostolic School with invited young couples from many countries as well as local people. They came from Switzerland, Canada, America, Zambia and New Zealand. As well as staying there at ‘The Ridge’ we were asked to help the overseas couples with practical issues which we found to be a delightful experience. The African children were so cute and we were able at times to listen in to many of the lectures. Summer in England that year was really hot with temperatures which we frequently experienced back in Hawkes Bay. The Brits wilted but the Africans and New Zealanders soaked it up. It was lovely to catch up again with Rhi’s gracious Mother and all in all we felt it was a wonderful stay. We lived upstairs and as we were going to sleep would often hear their voices raised in the most beautiful praise songs.

Right: Here we are at Napier Airport on Sat May 20th 1989 with some of our friends and family. From left: Ferg, Joan, Audrey, Clare Osborn, and Anne and Bill Wilms. We returned to Hastings on the 16th Aug with many happy memories of our visit to England.

[Pages 76 and 77 missing]

Page 78

Life in the 1990s

This was to be one of the most spectacular decades for N.Z. This was when Kiwis spread their blankets out on the ground of the Domain in Auckland to hear our own Diva, Kiri Te Kanawa. Beneath a canopy of stars on. a warm summer night her voice soared, its purity casting a spell over the 200,000 assembled. We had other stars too swimming champion Danyon Loader, equestrian Mark Todd, yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, our own Academy Award winner Anna Paquin (for the Piano). For many homes, two cars were now the standard. With more cars came another nineties term: gridlock, its chokehold was felt most keenly in the biggest centre, Auckland.

Meanwhile in sunny Hawkes Bay life continued at a leisurely pace. By now we were part of the Havelock North Baptist fellowship following the collapse of the Community Church at the Fire Station in Hastings. The Pastor then was Bruce Bradburn, under whose steady leadership the church grew. Bruce and Jo were very much ‘outdoor’ types and we enjoyed many picnics and tramps into the nearby Kaweka or Ruahine Ranges.

Left: Talented cellist and writer Kate Contos gets a farewell kiss from Audrey at the Napier Airport as she prepares to fly to Hawaii after some fifteen years in Hawkes Bay. Kate was a freelance photo/journalist and over a period of years we had developed a friendship. I processed and developed her films as she did not have any facilities of her won [own]. Born in America Kate now felt it was time to return.

Photo caption – A group of us heading over the Armstrong Saddle in 1990

Page 79

Raewyn and Steve Marry

On March 30th 1991 Raewyn married Steve Winny at ‘The Old Meeting House’ the home of John and Sally Birch in Olveston. The Old Meeting House was formerly the original starting place of the Quakers in England. We thus had one more occasion to visit the U.K. While there we were kept busy with preparations for the wedding and I found myself overseer of a group of guys re-gravelling the drive into Dave and Rhis’ property Severn Ridge.

The observatory was freshly painted and the path and gardens at the back of the property were given a tidy-up. Audrey had baked the three-tier cake and we brought it with us to be iced in England. Our job on the eve of the big event was to prepare the layered salads – which I can still remember helping put together. Strange how things work out – nearly half the cake made a return to N. Z. when Raewyn and Steve arrived in Auckland later that year!

Branching out into Rimu Craft Work

A request to make Queenie Winters a letter box was the catalyst to set me on another venture which has truly brought me a lot of pleasure. After the letter box I came by some Rimu bedheads and began thinking of ways to transform this re-cycled wood into a breakfast tray. I was away! Queenie arranged for me to have Arthurs’ Triton sawbench and over the next few years I had created patterns to manufacture about seven different items including trivets, trays and a simple jewellery box. One day while coming home from Napier Audrey suggested that I offer my products to the Gallery at the Mission, in Church Road, Taradale. They are a co-operative comprising painters and potters and in due time I was invited to join the group with my Rimu items. From that small beginning I now produce more than twenty five articles.

Venturing into precision craft work has taught me that with patience and a little thought one doesn’t have to fear redundancy or re-skilling it is all a matter of taking time to handle a new endeavour. The Triton is an excellent machine for the home craftsman and very adaptable.

Page 80

Some of my Rimu Products

Page 81

My Mothers Death

Following Dad’s passing Mum stayed on in her Kiwi Place flat until 1989. After a holiday in Auckland we returned to find her living with Glenys and Stephen Taylor at Raureka, a shift that had taken place during our absence. Glenys and Stephen belonged to the local Branham group to which Mum and dad were attached.

A little later Mum decided to have a short holiday with Joyce and Bob in Balclutha – a holiday which stretched on for months. By now she was showing early signs of dementia so upon her return to Hastings she took up residence at Cornwall Park Resthome.

Early in 1991 she started experiencing problems with her right foot which they put down to circulation troubles. One evening her Doctor phoned me to say that he was going to admit Mum to Napier hospital that evening. With the threat of gangrene setting in he intimated that there was the thought of amputation of the foot. As family we already did have some thoughts about such radical measures so after about ten minutes of discussing all the issues involved he agreed how difficult that would be for a 90 year old. Asking what our choice would be for her we said that we would like to think she could stay at Cornwall Park and with the aid of pain killers and attentive nursing be allowed to die in dignity.

Over a period of time her foot became very infected with gangrene but the staff were wonderful as they ministered to her.

The last week of her life will ever remain a vivid memory to me. She would take my hand and request that I sing her many of her favourite hymns. Although I had not sung many of them at the time it was truly amazing how the words kept coming back. Her eyes sparkled when I read some of her special psalms. What a privilege to spend those days and hours with her as I remember how she had kept many a vigil with me when I was very ill when young. One morning one of the staff walked quietly into the room and gently laid a lovely red rose on the pillow beside Mum’s head and in a gentle whisper said to me…. “Today, it will be today”. And so it was a few hours later I observed her breathing become shallower and shallower until no more. It was also my privelege [privilege] to conduct her funeral service.

Photo caption – 1902 -1994


In February of 1992 I teamed up with Dennis Hibbs to compete in the two-day Course 3 of the Kaweka Challenge a gruelling climb up the range from Kuripaponga [Kuripapango] to the tops with a field of some 500 trampers and coast to coasters taking part. Dennis and I finished 69th in the overall placings completing the course in 12 hours and 13 seconds. What a slog!

Page 82

Church Tackles Huge Building Project.

In 1995 the first Pastor of the Havelock North Baptist Church the Rev Bruce Bradburn and his wife Jo concluded their ministry with the church and accepted a position with the Te Awamutu Church. Their leadership had seen the church grow from a meagre handful when initially begun to quite a sizable congregation with lots of young families but few older people.

A search committee was formed to find someone suitable to carry on where they had left and in the interim a group of us arranged services. This continued for about eighteen months. Meanwhile in 1992 the leaders of the church made a purchase of a sizable block of land in Te Aute Road with the intention of one day commencing a building programme. At the time the coast [cost] of that block was quite a large sum to repay so the then church council decided to sell off about 5 sections to help repay the loan a decision which would ultimately have big repercussions.

Early in 1997 the church was approached by St Luke’s Anglican offering us a sizable building known as ‘The Supper Room’ which had to be moved to make way for their proposed retirement village. About this same time we had just welcomed our new minister the Rev Mark Fox and his family from Rotorua. And so began the formidable task of moving this building to our site in Te Aute Road. Most of the work was undertaken by the members of the church under the direction of Keith Thomson a former engineer with the Hastings District Council. A sizable book could be written about this venture but is not needed in this memoir. I spent many months employed in various aspects of the removal and consequent rebuilding at Te Aute Road. The official opening of Village Baptist Church took place on the 16th December 1997 the official ribbon being cut by our new minister Mark Fox.

Above: Recording the historic moment when the two parts of the building arrive on site.

Right: Keith Thomson the brains behind the romoval [removal] project.

Page 83

Medical Misadventure Changes My Life.

Abdominal pain in 1998 landed me in hospital and my surgeon Mr Shields said that an X-ray which we initiated and paid for in Napier revealed that I had some large gallstones. He said that until the inflammation had settled down he could not operate but before he would do so he advised me to undergo a procedure called an E.R.C.P. Some time later he arranged for me to have this test done as day surgery in the Hastings Regional Hospital. Conducting this test was Dr Huib Selderbeek whom Mr Shields said was an expert at this procedure. The day for the E.R.C.P. came and I was to be in the hospital for half a day. I was ready to go home BUT I had been told the procedure was a failure. I didn’t really know what this meant. Within an hour of being at home I became very ill, collapsing, vomiting etc. Audrey rang the hospital, I must return immediately.

It had all gone horribly wrong and I was very ill with a severe case of acute pancreatitis – a life threatening condition with a 50% fatality rate. Mr Selderbeek later told me that during the procedure he had met resistance and punctured my pancreas. When he met Audrey he was genuinely upset and apologised profusely for what had happened.

And so began a stay of ten weeks in hospital in I.C.U. I had two operations, a pseudo cyst had formed on the pancreas requiring complicated drainage every three months under anaesthetic in Radiology.

Ever since then I have had many trips back to hospital with pancreatic related problems.

How greatly my lifestyle has changed since that fateful day of the E.R.C.P. As a result of that I am now a Type 1 Diabetic which has further complicated and limited my life. Up till then golf and tramping were two of my favourite pastimes but these I have had to abandon.

Friendships with a number of people over the years have enriched my life and here I am not long after my long stay in hospital with Audrey, Neil and Sue Mc Callum at Trelinnoe Park on the Taupo Road a place where we have frequently spent a weekend together admiring the wonderful selection of flowering trees in their spacious surroundings. The former shearing quarters have been converted to back-packer accomodation.

Page 84

My Very Special Friend

I have waited until this point in time to speak of my most wonderful friend, my life’s companion for nearly 50 years, my wife Audrey.

The experience of true friendship is one of life’s most treasured gifts: the enjoyment of shared interests and pleasures, the development of deeper levels of understanding and communication, the standing together at times of crisis and suffering, all this and much more.

In the book of Ecclesiaticus it [Eccelsiastes it] is recorded …… “A faithful friend is the medicine of life”.

Friendship is not something about which we can learn rules. Friendship and loving are arts, but not some kind of commercial art so we can impress people. Friends are free individuals who risk being themselves with each other – people who share their uniqueness and delight in seeing each other grow as a result of their shared relationship. No real and lasting friendship just happens, it is built. Throughout our 50 years Audrey and I have developed a strong relationship built on three essential qualities.

1. GIVING. Audrey is not someone who meets my needs but the one whose needs I can meet.
2. VARIETY. Encompassing the breadth of interest that we share.
3. ENCOURAGEMENT. Audrey has always been there for me when life was tough, giving help and support but helping me look away from the difficulties to an all-sufficient God.

As I draw near to ending this story oy [of] my life I honour Audrey for all that she has been to me and our extended family.

Another Special Friend.

It has been said ‘a man with few friends is only half developed; there are whole sides of his nature which are locked up and have never been expressed. He cannot unlock them himself, he cannot even discover them; friends alone can stimulate him and open him.’

I have found such a friend in Jim Stewart whom I met because of our common love of photography. At the time of meeting I was soon to conduct the wedding of Sandy Longman. Their neighbour Jim had been asked to take the wedding photographs and since I had photographed many weddings we met together to chat over all the pros and cons.

Thus our friendship began some ten years ago and we have enjoyed the pleasure of each others company ever since. We have shared many meaningful hours together dining, chatting, praying, attending exhibitions of art and photography and sharing many personal aspects of our lives. I thank God for Jim a loyal and trusted friend.

Page 85

Entering the New Millennium.

Throughout most of the century Pakeha celebrated their roots during royal tours. But by the Nineties, the Queen’s visits, which once generated so much excitement, had become the subject of polite and limited curiosity or the target of protest from anti-loyal and radical Maori. Slowly the Queen and her most loyal and far-flung subjects were moving apart as the first serious debates began about Republicanism.

In other ways it was clear we had arrived at a new cultural maturity. Our outpourings in literature, art and the proliferation of good foods and wines proved as much, as our sense of informality grew together with a cosmopolitan cafe culture.

It was true Kiwis had greater freedoms than ever before in travel, finance and business and in new lifestyles. They adapted and displayed their resoursefulness [resourcefulness] by adding value to products in rapidy [rapidly] growing industries like the manufacture of electronics and electrical equipment.

As the millennium neared with all the fanfare over the new Century’s first sunrise in New Zealand we had arrived once more at another beginning.

Three Day Coastal Walk.

After being so unwell for about two years I decided to test my fitness by joining with more than 250 other people from around New Zealand on a three day coastal walk arranged annually by the Waipukurau Rotary Club. The majority of the walk was along beaches from Mangakuri finishing at Porangahau. The final leg was from Porangahau Station up a steep climb to Old Hill Road and down into Porangahau a distance of some 40 Km in all. The walk took in Te Angiangi Marine Reserve and DOC staff were on hand to explain features of the reserve. I was very pleased with my fitness and ability to complete the three day course. The picture (above) was taken at Aramoana during the evening meal. The Rotary Club handled all the cooking of the meals for the walkers. All told a delightful experience. The event was held from the 4 – 6th of March 2000

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Pastoral Support Team

Life at Village Baptist Church was exciting as our new minister Mark Fox outlined his vision for growth. As part of that strategy although there were no appointed elders nevertheless a group of men who had captured what was on his heart were invited to join with him in what was known as ‘The Pastoral Support Team’. Others who made up this team were Derek Wiltshire, Rex Couper, Kerry Brewerton and myself. The primary source of growth at that time was in the area of young people and over a period of years many young people made decisions for Christ and frequently they were baptised either out [at] Stoney Creek or most popularly in the sea at Ocean Beach.

Below: Mark (holding Bible) speaking at one of the beach Baptismal services. Many of these young people are now committed Christians and as I write the youth work of the church is growing in leaps and bounds. One of the keys to growing healthy churches is the focus on children and young people. In 2003 the Pastoral Support team was phased out when a new Elders group were elected into office.

As I write this Village Baptist is in the middle of another growth spurt. Our numbers aresuch [are such] that we are unable to meet on a Sunday at Te Aute Road so services are being held at the Havelock North Community Centre in Te Mata Road. We are currently looking to purchase land somewhere close to the village boundary with the intention of quitting our own property and beginning afresh with new facilites [facitilities]. As I mentioned earlier in reference to Te Aute Road, if we had not sold off the five building sites that block would have proved ideal for our present needs.

The Te Aute Road site is adequate for some aspects of the church life i.e. every Wednesday Audrey and other committee members run a Craft-n-Care group catering for from 60 to 70 ladies. The main auditorium is filled as the ladies sit around the card tables busily occupied with their various craft work.

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Friends From Other Cultures

A phone call to Love Link in Hastings requesting firewood introduced. me to Greg Narit (right) an immigrant from the Philippines whom I have known since 2002. Formerly a deckhand on merchant ships Greg having visited New Zealand decided that this would be a place for him to live. Sadly though within a few years of marrying and settling in Hastings he was diagnosed with lung cancer for which he underwent radical surgery. Following this his cancer has spread to many parts of his body. Over the years I have developed a friendship with Greg and committed to being there for him as subsequently his marriage failed. Elizabeth and Greg have a daughter Jennifer and try their best to assist her. Greg and I have enjoyed many hours of sharing our lives, he was brought up a Catholic in the Philippines and with his friend Bernie they attend Sacred Heart Church.

We pray, we play chess at which he shines and sometimes I just listen to him as he plays favourite popular songs.

Recently because his cancer was advancing to a level where he could not be self sufficient I arranged to get him into the St John of God Holy Family Home where he is being well cared for by a dedicated staff.

I deem it a privilege to have met and ministed [ministered] to Greg as the Lord has enabled me.

Our Bosnian Friends

Through Jeanette Wakefield Audrey and I were introduced to our now close friends Omer and Lukreci ja Divakovic. They came to New Zealand as a result of the dreadful ethnic cleansing war which broke out in Bosnia and Croatia and led to the deaths of many, the destruction of whole families, homes and businesses. Omer had a distinguished career as a psychiatric consultant in Tusla. They lost their homes, many of their prized personal property including their books etc. Because their daughter Maria and son Drazon were living in Hawkes Bay they were able to come to Hastings and are now settled in a flat. When they arrived they knew very little spoken English so Audrey helped tutor them out of which grew our lovely friendship. Both are able to communicate now in English very well.

Audrey, Omer and Lukrecija

Ferg and Audrey with Omer

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Our Place

A view of 1002a Miro Street, Hastings which has been our home since 1987 when we sold the family house in Ikanui Road. It has been just right for us as our retirement dwelling, low maintenance and although classified as a flat it is spacious enough to house our family whenever they visit. It has a garage at left which has served as my workshop for about ten years as I make Rimu Craft products for the Gallery at the Mission in Taradale.

Above: Looking from the porch over the front garden nearing the end of summer. When we purchased the property the section was bare but over the years we have developed the garden plots and the raised borders planting out in flowering shrubs etc. The Acers flanking the bird bath add a lovely warm touch to the garden at this season of the year. The Robinia is just shedding its golden leaves.

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Church Friends

Over the years we have enjoyed the company of these people (right) whom we met at Village Baptist Church. We normally meet up at least four times a year. From left: Audrey, Ian and Penny Ellengold, Marilyn and Spencer Giffin and Jeanette Wakefield. Absent: Clare Osborn.

Audrey is seen here with our friends Keith and Trudy Thomson who we have really got to know during our time at Village Baptist Church. Keith and I have enjoyed times in the mountains and recently Keith has become interested in trout fishing. They are shown here in just one of the lovely gardens during our tour of Patoka and Rissington in 2004.

Almost 100

The oldest member of Village Baptist was Bea Nightingale shown here with me during her 99th birthday party. All those who helped transport Bea from Summerset each Sunday were invited to join her party. The young people of the church loved her and would surround her at the conclusion of the services. Sadly missed out on her hundredth by six months.

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All The Family Together in 2003

A picture of all our family taken on Christmas Day 2003 at Steve and Raewyn’s home in Auckland. This was the first time in years since we had been able to assemble the clan.

Back row from left: Helen, Harvey, Peter and Daniel.

Centre row: Jenna, Trish, Brett, Chloe, Katie, Roy and Chris.

Front row: Steve, Zoe and Christopher, Audrey, Ferg, Roz, Luke and Raewyn.

Our first great grandchild Christopher who was born to Zoe on the 2nd May 2003 shown here in a delightful mood with Audrey.

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Quite a few events have happened since I wrote the last page.

Deaths of Joyce & Bob McNamara

My sister Joyce died on the 5th Sept. 2006 in Balclutha hospital. Her husband Bob died in Dunedin Hospital sixteen months previously on 6th June 2005.

Although a city girl Joyce adapted very well to rural life when she married Bob the son of a well-known Central Otago farming family.

When World War II ended Bob ended his service with the army and became eligible for a farm under the re-settling scheme at the time. They had a cropping and sheep farm at Kaitangata, Sth Otago. They had a family of three Glenys, Ross and Noeline. Joyce loved country life and could often be found bagging potatoes in the furrows behind Bob’s tractor.

Our 50th Wedding Anniversary

Cutting our Anniversary Cake with the Grandchildren in Auckland during Christmas at Raewyn & Steves.

The 16th July 2006 was very special to Audrey and me the anniversary of 50 years of marriage. Where have all those years gone?

We had decided to keep the event quiet but about a month after we were asked to be ready and stand-bye [stand by] for a mystery weekend which turned out to be at the Chateau Tongariro. The weather was really bad but the company of Ros, Helen, Daniel, Natalia, Chloe and Jessie made for a truly wonderful occasion. The Chateau was fabulous!

Breakfast at the Chateau Tongariro.

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Deaths of Jack & Stephen Braithwaite

Within 20 months of each other Jack and his youngest son Stephen had died.

Jack who was married to Margaret died on the 19th Dec 2005 after a long battle with cancer. Jack and his brother Percy had a very close relationship with Audrey’s parents and us over many years. They had three children – Martin, Barbara and Stephen.

A great shock to all the family was the sudeen [sudden] death in Queensland of Stephen on the 21st August 2006 while driving a concrete delivery truck. A little while later family and friends of Stephen met together at Margarets home where we had a farewell memorial service for Stephen. At the conclusion dozens of balloons were released to mark the occassion [occasion].

Ian’s Death in 2006

My eldest brother Ian who had spent most of his life in Dunedin ultimately shifted to Hastings. His first marriage to Eunice Knowles ended very sadly when Eunice died very soon after the birth of their first child Allan. Unable to care for him Allan was subsequently adopted out and to all intents was ‘lost’ to our family or so we thought.

He married his third wife Maureen and they shifted to Hastings.

Ian and Maureen met on the bowling green and came close to representing N.Z.

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(cont) After some years in Hastings and later shifting to Otane they decided to have a holiday in Queensland where they saw a home in a retirement village. They made a quick decision to buy it and said goodbye to N.Z. (Or so we thought) Somehow in the course of being in Queensland Ian rediscovered his first child Allan. We dont know all the details suffice to say though that the next we knew was that Ian and Maureen had shifted to Perth and living next door to Allan and his wife Zara.

This re-connection of Ian and Allan must have been a most happy one. They lived there for a few years and in 2005 they decided to return to Hastings. It transpires that while in Australia Ian had quite significant health issues – the loss of a kidney and the onslaught of cancer. Once home his health further deteriorated the cancer requiring him to seek radium treatment in Palm.North. His one consuming desire was to reach his 80th birthday. This he did and on the 5th October 2006 along with all his sons their wives and friends we celebrated his birthday at the Corn Exchange in Hastings. This was our first chance to meet up with Allan and Zara. What a happy event.

Six weeks later Ian passed away at Gracelands following radical surgery. He died peacefully on the evening of 19th Nov 2006. The family requested that I conduct his farewell service and once again his four sons travelled from afar to be part of the service.

At this point in time Keith (Lindsay Brown) and I are the only remaining members of our family.

The Fraser name continues. Here are the Fraser boys on a slide at Pernel Orchard after Ian’s farewell. From the bottom: Ferg, John (Dunedin) Ian (Blenheim) Allan (the ‘lost son’ Perth) and Bruce (Central Otago).

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