The Owaka Writing Group recently celebrated the 90th birthday of one of its members, Frances Knight, with pavlova made by another member in her 90s, Bessie Waddell who celebrate her 94th birthday in October.
Yet another member, Rona Williamson, who drives herself from Kaka Point to Owaka to attend the monthly meetings, is also in her early 90s. The writing group began with a night class in July 1998, and then spread to meetings at members’ houses.
People write stories of their lives, the lives of their families and ancestors, and read them out. Some people write poems, others read the writings of older relatives, but mainly they write up their own memories.
Frances Knight said she enjoyed the group because it was an easier way to gather stories for her children and grandchildren than having to write a whole book.
Bessie Waddell uses the group to prepare for the family memory books she writes and researches in conjunction with her daughter Glenda Landreth. Rona Williamson has a host of stories of the early days of Kaka Point and Maori life and the lifestyle, including housing, clothing and schooling, of the 1930s.
All three of them enjoy the social aspects of the group as well as the historical stories they hear there.
Frances Knight, left, who celebrated her 90th birthday recently, with members Bessie Waddell and Rona Williamson.