Katie ready to face the next cen­tury

Bush Telegraph - - News - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

One hun­dred years ago on Tues­day, March 20 Katie McMil­lan was born at Waipawa.

Her dad was a road­ing con­trac­tor cart­ing me­tal with horse and cart, a busi­ness which took them to live in Dan­nevirke. Af­ter a while the fam­ily moved to Umu­taoroa to farm.

Katie went to school in Dan­nevirke and was a pre­fect at Dan­nevirke High School in the mid-1930s. She left school to work in the of­fice at Wairarapa Farm­ers and mar­ried Gor­don Her­ring­ton just be­fore World War


When Gor­don re­turned from the war the cou­ple went sharemilk­ing on the fam­ily farm at Umu­taoroa be­fore buy­ing at Tataramoa where they farmed un­til son David took over.

Katie re­mem­bers those times fondly, milk­ing and hay mak­ing with the neigh­bours when every­one in the neigh­bour­hood helped each other.

“It’s all changed now,” she said. “You only have to take a drive out there to see”.

The cou­ple raised two sons, Gor­don and David, and were heav­ily in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

Katie was a keen baker renowned for her short­bread and gen­er­ous with her cre­ations, and she was also a keen knit­ter. Many a new baby re­ceived knit­ted clothes.

The cou­ple stayed in the Mata­mau area in­volved with fam­ily un­til they moved into Dan­nevirke, liv­ing in Vic­to­ria Av­enue, Guy Street and Ge­orge Street.

Gor­don se­nior died in 1992 and Katie moved to Den­mark Street where she stayed un­til she moved to Eileen Mary Re­tire­ment Vil­lage in 2014.

Katie says she has al­ways

“got on with things” and never re­ally suf­fered any ill­nesses. She re­tained her driv­ing li­cence un­til just a few years ago and still knits peggy squares which are made into quilts for Knox Church.

To­day she finds the pace of life faster but she re­tains fierce in­de­pen­dence. She is the only res­i­dent of Eileen Mary who walks with­out a walk­ing stick or walk­ing frame. She does not watch tele­vi­sion or read a book un­less just be­fore go­ing to sleep.

“I find plenty of things to do,” she said. “I have some great mates.” On Sun­day at Man­gat­era nearly 50 rel­a­tives and friends col­lected for a sur­prise cel­e­bra­tory lunch, dur­ing which a cake re­flect­ing her in­ter­ests of knit­ting and bak­ing fea­tured, with 10 can­dles to rep­re­sent her 10 decades.

Five gen­er­a­tions of the Her­ring­ton fam­ily were there to see her blow out the can­dles and cut­ting the cake.

Katie has two sons, six grand­chil­dren, 11 great grand-chil­dren and four great, great grand­chil­dren.

On Tues­day — her real birth­day — peo­ple, cards and flow­ers ar­rived in suc­ces­sion.

When told to ex­pect more in the af­ter­noon she said “well then I had bet­ter go and have a sleep”.

Katie looks set to eclipse her mum, who died at 102.

Five gen­er­a­tions, from back left, stand­ing: Laura, Jim and Donna Mol­loy, Mark and Kim Ans­ford, Jenny Gilbert­son, Steve Crock­ford, Gor­don Mur­ray, Alysha Crock­ford, Matt Ah­ern, Ta­nia Crock­ford, San­dra, Ash­ton, Kate­lyn and Aaron Her­bert. Sit­ting: Katie, Gor­don and Hay­den Her­ring­ton. On floor: Leila Ah­ern, Ava and Jus­tine Her­ring­ton.

Katie cuts the cake.

Closely re­lated Peters Fam­ily: Back from left: Jim, Anna, Jane, Mur­ray, Diane, Pam, Sarah and Aja with Bri­die Der­bridge.

The dec­o­rated birth­day cake made by El­iz­a­beth Parkes which re­flected Katie’s in­ter­ests — knit­ting and cook­ing. It was made for the fam­ily get-to­gether on Sun­day March 18 at the Man­gat­era Ho­tel. (Be­low): A can­dle for each decade.

Some of the cards and flow­ers which filled Katie’s flat at Eileen Mary on Tues­day.

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