|A Presbyterian upbringing at Bruntwood in the 1950s|
HAMILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAMME
YOUTH ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
INTERVIEW WITH : (Helen) Anne Whyte (nee Thompson)
INTERVIEWER : Sarah Smith
DATE : 15 November 1995
ABSTRACT BY : Kayrn Kee
|Entertainment||Awareness of Issues|
Click on a speaker icon to hear the interview.
|Tape 1 Side 1 ||Tape 1 Side 2 ||Tape 2 Side 1 |
Born in Cambridge on 28 March 1940. Mentions history of her farming family. Grandfather purchased land at Bruntwood about 1904. One brother, two years older, called Don.
Lived in Bruntwood, which was quite rural, while she was growing up. Mentions being schooled at Hautapu School and Hamilton High School.
Recalls different childhood activities and chores. Father farmed. Mother was very involved in the community. Parents were "strong members of the Presbyterian church in Cambridge."
Has a good relationship with her brother. Mentions her father being a "strong silent type".
Recalls her mother being a strong person. In one instance,
"I can remember having trouble with the school bus, at one stage, they were trying to take it off, and my mother took on the South Auckland Education Board you know and battled with them and got the bus sort of kept for us so that we could still come to Hamilton on it each day"
Other children to play with were her cousins and six (6) children in her Standard 6 class.
Remembers holidaying in Raglan in May as an important event.
"We had fresh bread every day and we never had that at home, and we had hot chips and we never had hot chips at home so for little country kids like us it was an absolute event being in a little township where there were shops"
Recalls going to Auckland, more frequently in the 1950's. Recalls visiting relatives in Hamilton who lived near Rugby Park when Hamilton had the Shield.
Mentions having Christmas with Father's side of the family. Entertainment was at home playing cards and sing songs around the piano.
Recalls going to the Winter Show, Saturday morning pictures, swimming at Lake Karapiro, school concert and Sunday School picnic as "treats".
Remembers being sick with Scarlet Fever. Read extensively. Recalls that getting whiteware/appliances was quite a dramatic change. Remembers her Aunt getting the first fridge in the neighbourhood and "she made ice cream and we'd never had ice cream we knew about it we'd read about it but to actually taste it......I don't know that we were terribly impressed really".
Schooled at Hamilton High School. Remembers the High School being split into Hamilton Boys' High School and Hamilton Girls' High School. Remembers her older brother being in charge of planting the trees around Boys' High. Remembers friends and teachers and different activities that she participated in. Left school at sixteen, at the end of the sixth form and then went to Teacher's College. Other professions that her classmates applied for were dental assistants, retail amd nursing as well as teaching.
Became an Art Advisor to Primary schools. Recalls the beginning of Maori art in schools revived by Gordon Tovey. Talks of the people: Para Matchitt, Cliff Whiting, Sandy Adsett, Selwyn Muru picked to help this renaissance of Maori Art.
Remembers living in the Halls of residence when attending the Auckland Teachers College (Ardmoor). Mentions the safety measures and the social activities that they enjoyed. Mrs Newkirk was the Dean of Women at that time. Remembers dances in the Canteen at Ardmore. Mentions the bands, one was called the Keil Isles, Bill Hailey and the kind of dancing.
Remembers the kind of clothes and make up they wore and the different hair styles in vogue at the time.
Recalls getting her drivers licence. Recalls puberty talks and mentions pregnancy issues. Mentions first boyfriend and friends relationships.
Went from being an Art Advisor to book seller.
Recalled living in Dunedin; being a Third Year at Teachers College, winning Joe Brown's talent quest with her singing group, and socialising. Mentions travelling in a Dakota, DC3.
Mentions working in soap factory, McLeods, as a part-time job. Mentions flatting in Hamilton when she was employed as an Art Advisor.
Recalls going to the movies. It was "quite a social outing" as information via newsreels were shown there as well as being entertaining. Mentions standing for the Queen while the National Anthem played.
Recalls going to the Starlight Ballroom for dances with local bands like the Satellites, church dances and being involved in a Hostess Dance. Talks about the music, the impact of Rock `n' Roll, listening to the Lever Hit Parade. Idols were James Dean, Harry Belafonte. Recalls seeing "The Platters" in concert in Dunedin.
Mentions seeing the Hamilton Operatic Society, National Orchestra, New Zealand Ballet Company under Paul Gnatt and Open Air Concerts at the Ferry Bank with the Howard Morrison Quartet, Ray Wolff, Ricky May and other New Zealand entertainers.
Mentions the bodgies and the widgies. Recalls events: the Queen's visit at Cambridge, the Tangiwai Disaster that was at the same time, the coronation of the Queen, mentions Edmund Hillary conquering Mount Everest and the Korean War. Remembers the ten week conscription of eighteen year olds. Recalls army dances.
Mentions her parents and her brother going to the Empire games. Recalls the radio programmes they listened to. Mentions "Take it from here" and "It's in the bag". Remembers the Parker-Hulme murder in Christchurch. Recalls family involvement in the Cambridge Daffodil Show.
Talks about the socialising they did in Hamilton. Recalls Garden Place as being carpark. Mentions shops: H & J Courts, Whitcombe & Tombes, Dolly Varden milkbar.
Recalls political figures/local identities such as Hilda Ross, Leslie Munro, Rogers family. Mentions Mrs E T Rogers and her husband, who was one of the first doctors to set up a general practice in Hamilton. Both their sons, Antony and Denis, became doctors and Denis went on to be a Mayor of Hamilton and Vice Chancellor of the Waikato University. Remembers race issues as being clearer, more "black and white". Believed in equality and fairness for all.