Lover of dogs and music
LORAYNE Tennet has spent her life mingling with some of the best entertainers and singers in the world and now, in her retirement, she is the only person in New Zealand to breed sealyham terriers.
Mrs Tennet was nominated for Everyday People by Liam Murphy, senior sales consultant at the Matamata Telecom branch, after she told him a few of her tales.
Mrs Tennet moved to the district from Auckland 10 years ago with her husband Bill to retire and concentrate on breeding the famous sealyham terrier.
‘‘For years and years sealyhams were the most popular breed of dog in England. Princess Margaret always had one with her,’’ Mrs Tennet said. ‘‘Once you have had a sealyham, you won’t want any other dog.’’
Her father was a dog breeder and she followed in his footsteps, breeding her first litter in 1972.
Despite her love for dogs, Mrs Tennet also poured her heart and soul into the music industry which allowed her to socialise with the likes of Elton John, Sammy Davis Junior, Cliff Richard, some of The Beatles and many others.
She owned a number of record stores along Queen St in Auckland and was the label manager for Polygram records.
‘‘Part of my job was looking after incoming artists and for some reason I didn’t think about getting everyone’s autographs. Imagine how much they would all be worth now,’’ she laughed.
Although she doesn’t have many autographs, she has memorabilia.
Sammy Davis Junior gave her his Star of David necklace, which she hasn’t taken off since, and Elton John often brought her presents including a gold bracelet.
‘‘I have a lot of great memories,’’ she said. ‘‘Elton John is just fantastic. So friendly and kind, I never had a problem with him and when I retired from the music industry he sent me a letter.’’
Elton John will perform in New Zealand in October and for the first time Mrs Tennet will not be present.
Mrs Tennet said she is a ‘‘bit of a music freak’’ and always will be. Her favourite song is Imagine by John Lennon, her favourite singers are Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and her favourite artist is Sammy Davis Junior. Her top sealyham dog was named Sam, after Sammy Davis Junior, but died a few weeks ago from old age. He was the top winning sealyham dog for three years running.
Mrs Tennet also breeds west highland white terriers, otherwise known as ‘‘westies’’.
‘‘I am not the sort of person to just sit here. I have to have a hobby. We never had children, so we had dogs instead.’’
She has five at the moment and a handful of puppies. ‘‘They are incredibly good dogs. Grooming is the hard part rather than the training.’’
Last month she went to Wales and visited Sealyham house, from where the dogs originated more than 100 years ago.
‘‘I walk in there and ask the receptionist if I can have a look around because I am a sealyham breeder all the way from New Zealand – and the only one at that.
‘‘She said she will go and get the owner and what a surprise I got. Out walked a Maori man, Sam Richards, who greeted me and said he comes from Matamata. What are the chances?’’
Mr Richards promised to visit Mrs Tennet next time he was in Matamata but until then she has yet another fond memory and photo to put in the album.
Everyday people: Lorayne Tennet shares her story.