Katie ready to face the next century
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.