This is your life event marks 90th

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Dannevirke - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

Ninety years is a long time to live but when you pack so much into those 90 years it seems hardly long enough.

On Thurs­day, June 28 close to 100 of Ivan Hape’s wha¯ nau, iwi and friends packed the Foun­tain The­atre to cel­e­brate his 90th birth­day.

It was a very well-kept se­cret from Ivan who was over­whelmed when he en­tered the the­atre to the wel­come of “Sur­prise” and the for­mal birth­day greet­ing by MC and chair­man of Ngati Kahun­gunu o Ta­maki Nui A Rua, Hay­den Hape.

A meal catered by Kahun­gunu ladies then fol­lowed be­fore Ivan was in­vited on to the stage to share a couch with sis­ter Mar­ion and to be pre­sented by a pic­to­rial memory trip over 90 years en­ti­tled “Ivan Hape This Is Your Life” start­ing with him as a tod­dler near the Kaitoke wool­shed.

It traced his grow­ing up. A pas­sion­ate rugby player un­til an op­er­a­tion forced him to take up some­thing less phys­i­cal — golf — with a mix of other in­ter­ests like horse rac­ing, snooker boat­ing and div­ing. Shear­ing was Ivan’s life, trav­el­ling through­out the Tararua and be­yond with shear­ing gangs. Re­mark­ably, Ivan was able to name most mem­bers of nearly a dozen pic­tures of gangs in­clud­ing Lui Pae­wai be­fore he be­came an All Black. Ivan was at pains to em­pha­sise the part his dad played both as a teacher of shear­ing and a role model. The lat­ter was a world-class shearer with world records to his name and Ivan idolised him.

Son Tony joined Ivan for the next seg­ment of the show and covered farm­ing and fam­ily life, spent for a while work­ing out at Burn­view be­fore Ivan mar­ried Theo whom he de­scribed as “my soul mate, part­ner in crime, trac­tor driver, head shep­herd, nurse and doc­tor”.

Both Tony and Diane — his chil­dren — spoke of grow­ing up with Ivan, fol­lowed by the grand­chil­dren who spoke elo­quently about their fond mem­o­ries of Christ­masses and other hol­i­days, one say­ing Ivan had “a com­pas­sion­ate heart rarely seen else­where”.

Ivan’s huge con­tri­bu­tion to the well­be­ing of iwi then fol­lowed, speak­ers from dif­fer­ent groups thank­ing Ivan for his roles as chair­man of the Ngati Kahun­gunu Ki wairarapa Ta­maki Nui a Rua Set­tle­ment Trust, his po­si­tion on the Makirikiri Marae Com­mit­tee which saw the marae move from Ta­ho­raiti to Makirikiri, his or­gan­i­sa­tion of the first NZ Maori Golf Tour­na­ment, his man­age­ment in the tidy­ing up of the Kaitoke Ta­ho­raiti Urupa and most im­por­tantly his sup­port of the Treaty claim. In con­clu­sion Ivan cut a birth­day cake and thanked ev­ery­one for “a won­der­ful, won­der­ful party”. He said he thanked all his wha¯ nau par­tic­u­larly wife Theo, chil­dren and grand­chil­dren who have be­come “his mates”.

■ Pic­tures op­po­site.

With sis­ter Mar­ion (87 on July 4), Ivan Hape shares rem­i­nis­cences about the early fam­ily.

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