Newspaper Article 1937 – Their First Christmas

Their First Christmas

Coronation Triplets to Celebrate

Mary, Elizabeth and Rose: Blue Eyes Gaze from Three Baskets


By the Hawke’s Bay Correspondent of the “New Zealand Free Lance”

AWAY out in a lovely country district some twenty miles from the town of Hastings three very bonnie babies, the triplet daughters (born on Coronation Day, you remember) of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Anderson, of Kahuranaki, are celebrating their first Christmas. They are seven and a-half months old and thriving excellently. So over hill and bridges, rutty roads and country lanes drove the Hawke’s Bay representative of the “New Zealand Free Lance”; for it is worth telling all New Zealand how charming are Mary (14lb. 14oz.), Elizabeth (14lb. 11oz.) and Rose (15lb. 3oz.), and how beautifully they are cared for by their family and the nurse.

That public interest is keen was proved recently rather to the dismay of their mother, who took the three babies in their large pram into town, and was positively mobbed by passers – by, cars, and cyclists. One woman rushed to a shop to buy three rattles, and everyone called to friends to come along for “Here are the triplets.” Mrs. Anderson escaped to a back street, and says she can never face this publicity again. The babes looked about placidly, and took it as their due.

Arriving at the neat Anderson homestead, which has a perfect rural setting of tall trees, hills and fields, there were the babes – three pairs of deep blue eyes looking very brightly from three baskets. It was meal time, but they must first be dressed. So fat limbs and plump bodies were clad in dainty woollies, and pretty white and pink frocks with smocking and hand-work, given by the Sherenden Women’s Institute. Rose promptly chewed the hem of hers and waited patiently for her bottle.

“Do you always know which is which” Mrs. Anderson was asked. “I must own to getting a wee bit fogged sometimes,” she replied.  “Daddy isn’t at all sure of the difference in each,” broke in a small sister, Nola. “Wee Mary is his pet, though.”

Asked if there is a great deal of work to do when one is blessed unexpectedly with “Coronation triplets,” Mrs.  Anderson smilingly told how she and nurse get up at 5.30 a.m.; “and then we stop up, and just carry on.” There was no complaint whatever in her voice. “It is rather hectic at times,” she owned, “but they go down at 5.30 at night, and we don’t hear them till 5.30 a.m. so that saves us.” Quietly the nurse put in her tribute to Mrs. Anderson’s pluck: “She is such a good mother and a marvellous worker.”

“Have you had much help?” was another query. “People have been wonderful, sending little frocks and presents, and the people of Hastings sent by the Mayoress a cheque for £50.” Nurse said quietly when Mrs. Anderson had turned away: “But they haven’t got any too much now.” When it is a question of three small daughters to be cared for, fed, clothed and housed, it can be seen that expenditure is going to be heavy, even with the utmost economy. The “proud grandfather,” as they call Mr. Chapple [Chappell], has risen well to the occasion, and has made delightful little blue painted chairs and three roomy cots; and soon the nursery will be papered with tints to match the charming pink and blue curtains and cot covers.

The lasting impression one brings away from a visit to the triplets is that love surrounds them. The care of the mother and nurse is echoed in the way the three sisters of the babes tend them and fondly watch their pretty ways.

Already picnickers are hovering about hoping to catch a glimpse of the babes, and large numbers of visitors are somewhat adding to the problem that Mr. and Mrs. Anderson must face. Maybe some day Kahuranaki will be well on the map instead of a charming, hilly district off the beaten track. Anyway it is a pleasure and a tonic to see this mother, whose eyes are blue as those of her babes, and to hear her speaking of Christmas as a time “when 1250 sheep must be shorn,” and to see her real pleasure in the burden of possessing Mary, Rose and Elizabeth.

(On left): Mary (left), Elizabeth, and Rose find the small blue chairs very comfy that Grandfather made them. (On right); “Aren’t they darlings?” says Mrs. Anderson, who finds them a fairly hefty armful. And this is their own special Christmas tree.

Original digital file


Date published

December 1937

Format of the original

Newspaper article


New Zealand Free Lance


  • Mary, Elizabeth and Rose Anderson
  • Mr and Mrs J C Anderson
  • Nola Anderson
  • Mr Chappell

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