Excellent history of Iona
Iona: Celebrating 100 years 1914-2014
By Jo McGlashan
Iona College Publisher
Reviewed by Michael Fowler
The best local histories are often written by someone with a close relationship to the organisation or person, and who has the ability to represent the story in writing. Jo McGlashan, an old girl and past chaplain of Iona, has certainly done this in the best local history I have seen to date. Combined with the stylish book-layout by Sue Wilson, this book is a most interesting reﬂection of 100 years of Iona – the only school out of the three major Havelock North private schools to have started there originally.
The book is divided into chapters of the significant periods of the various principals’ tenures, beginning with the indefatigable Miss Isabel Fraser (1914-1921) a woman, as an aside, who introduced the Chinese gooseberry (now Kiwifruit) to New Zealand after a trip to China.
Anyone who had doubts about the capabilities of women in a professional context in the early 20th century need look no further than the headmistresses of Iona College.
This was especially true over the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake period under Miss Irene Stollery, when the future existence of Iona College – badly damaged, was under threat.
In creating the book, Jo McGlashan had an archive second-to-none to draw upon, and the best of the material including the photographs, provide rich visual displays.
Recollections of the school by past pupils – including the 1914 foundation students, provide interesting anecdotes throughout the book.
The book also provides insight into the social history of the education of young girls, and how their preparation for womanhood has changed over the years.
Judging by recent local history book sales, and the reasonable price of the book, I am sure this excellent local history will sell quickly.
Iona: Celebrating 100 Years 1914-2014 is available at the reunion on March 28-30 or for $45 from the Iona centenary website: iona.school.nz/ about-us/centenary.