Mak­ing a Dame

Waihi Leader - - News -

I was pleased to lis­ten to Dame Margaret Ba­z­ley at the Me­mo­rial Hall on Sun­day at the com­mem­o­ra­tion for Armistice Day, where she was the guest speaker.

She spoke of liv­ing in Waihi with her par­ents at their home in Re­gent Street, and ac­knowl­edged the strength of the women who sin­gle-hand­edly raised their fam­i­lies, hav­ing lost their hus­bands in the war, or in the case of their neigh­bour, also sup­port­ing a hus­band who was un­able to work due to war­related in­juries.

Dame Margaret at­tended Waihi Col­lege as Margaret Hope, later train­ing as a nurse, be­came Chief Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer on the Waikato Hos­pi­tal Board, fol­lowed by a ca­reer in the pub­lic ser­vice, and was awarded the New Zealand Suf­frage Cen­ten­nial Medal in 1993, and ap­pointed Dame Com­pan­ion of the NZ Or­der of Merit in 1999. Not bad for a girl from Waihi.

I com­mented to her later that I had en­joyed lis­ten­ing to her RNZ in­ter­view, which was over a year ago, where she re­counted her ex­pe­ri­ence of, while still at Col­lege, and af­ter talk­ing to a neigh­bour, ap­ply­ing to do spe­cial nurs­ing train­ing.

When she was ac­cepted, at age 18, and on her own she caught the bus all the way to Welling­ton, to ar­rive at the hos­pi­tal to be­gin her train­ing.

There was no ex­pec­ta­tion in those days that a par­ent would take you there, and she re­called when we spoke, that the four pounds she had saved through her school years in the school Post Of­fice Sav­ings Scheme was used to pay for the bus fare, and ex­penses. Yes, that was the mak­ings of a Dame. CLARE BOYD

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