Lover of dogs and mu­sic

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

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.

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