Search on for past blossom beauties
BY SUE THOMAS
The first Hastings Blossom Queen, who now lives in Christchurch, will shortly shake the dust from her old crown, pack some summer clothes and head back to Hastings to take part in the final Blossom Parade of the century.
Shona MacDonald, now Holdgate, who won the Blossom Queen title ahead of 12 others in 1957, says she will be making every effort to return to the city to take part in the September 18 parade, which organisers hope will include all of the former Blossom Queens.
“It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to coming back to Hastings and meeting the other Blossom Queens,” she says.
Shona, who married and raised her children after moving to Christchurch soon after her crowning, was 27 when she won the title and had not long returned from a tour of the United Kingdom.
“I wouldn’t have dreamed of entering the contest but a friend who was involved with the Hastings Group Theatre insisted I had nothing to lose by giving it a go.
“I was amazed that I won, I didn’t know many people in Hastings but everyone knew me after that. Winning the title also boosted my confidence.”
Organisers of the final Blossom Parade of the millennium are searching for all the former Hastings Blossom Festival Queens in the hope they will reunite to star in this year’s parade.
The queens will also be guests at a civic afternoon tea held in their honour.
Parade convener David Fine said with this year’s theme – a reunion of the women who held the coveted Blossom Queen title in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s would be most fitting.
Research has revealed the maiden names of 11 of the winners, together with the year in which they held the title. But now organisers want to find out what happened to the former queens and where they are living so they can be informed of the event.
The title holders revealed to date are Shona MacDonald (1957), Barbara Inglis (1959), Hiraina Hills (1962), Nicola Hearn (1964), Colleen Bishop (1966), Margaret Humphrey (1967), Susan Harvey (1968), Jeanette Tinney (1969), Jackie Hurst (1971), Glynis Moleta (1972) and Margaret Ross (1973).
Records show that the first Blossom Parade was held in 1950 with four sponsored queens being selected in 1952 for the purposes of community fundraising, says David.
Shona was the first person to hold the title in 1957 and this tradition continued until 1972 when the title was renamed the Hawke’s Bay Blossom Queen. The Blossom Parade went into recess a year later in 1973.
The event had its hey-day in 1960s but was still going strong in 1970 when the parade included 23 floats, seven bands and six marching teams.
“I would like to invite all the former Blossom Queens to come forward and take part in this event. The parade will be a great community event and a wonderful celebration of Hastings history, says David.
The former beauty queens or anyone else who know of their whereabouts are asked to contact the Hastings Community Arts Centre in Russell Street, Hastings.
Photo caption –
Organisers of the Blossom Parade are looking for past Blossom Queens to take part in this year’s event.