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FAMILY LIFE: I came from a Dutch background, and have spent most of my life in the country region of South Canterbury in New Zealand. (The Dutch are known for their inventiveness.) I was blessed with two wonderful parents who through their love, hard work and devotion raised a large family of talented adults in their own right.
My father came from a farming background and was orphaned at the age of 9 after serious illness and sudden death took his parents. He came to N.Z. in 1953 after serving as a medic in the Dutch Army in Indonesia. Things were not good in Holland due to the war, so Dad decided that New Zealand would be the place that he would raise his children. He worked for a short time on the Roxburgh Hydro Dam which was the earliest dam to be built across the great Clutha River before moving to Geraldine where I, the third of his 7 offspring was born.
We then moved to a lovely property in Peel Forest near the Orari River where my three younger brothers were born. After selling the property to a neighbour we shifted to Waitohi where again Dad and Mum worked as a married couple on a farm. Just before my baby sister Diana was born we moved to Temuka. Our house on North Town Belt and later named Richard Pearse Drive was to be our family home, the place where we all grew up. In 1995 Dad moved for the last time to Winchester where he and Mum had almost 15 more years of retirement together. Sadly, Dad passed away on September 1, 2009, but is fondly remembered being in his workshop fixing or creating something, usually for someone else or for his potato growing prowess. He won the longest potato top in a bucket every year for a local competition.
My mother did most of the child rearing, while my father worked to support their seven offspring. She was the daughter of a Headmaster and was able to teach all of us how to cook, bake, knit, sew and do household chores, skills we all put to good use in our lives to this day. Mum lost her mother to T.B. at the age of 16 she then raised her two brothers and five sisters until she left Holland in 1954. She was 27 when she boarded a ship to make a new life in New Zealand and the journey would take six weeks. She bravely left all her family behind in the Netherlands to meet up with and marry my father on the other side of the world. Sadly, my dear mother passed away after turning 86 in 2012. She was a good friend to many families in the community and especially to those in the Dutch community. She is greatly missed.
My brothers are Mathew, an electrician working on yachts in Auckland; Henry, a manager also in Auckland; Will, the fabulous chef formerly of Wanganui and Paratiho fame and now working in Nelson. Stan, an auto electrician in Timaru. My sister Cathy, was an insurance broker in Melbourne, and Diana, a Machine and Parts purchaser for a coal mining company in Queensland, Australia.
My sister Cathy sadly died of brain cancer on July 2nd 2015 after a long battle. She was just 59 years of age. She leaves behind her long time partner and friend Will Sugrue and son Liam and daughter Manon.
I was educated at Pleasant Point and Temuka and married a young farmer in 1978. Mervyn is the second son of Robert Wilson More and Mary Isobel McAuley More of Totara Downs. Life on our 610-acre farm was great and the 3 boys we raised loved the animals and wide-open spaces. We also took into our home 8 foster children along with 2 Japanese students Emiko and Yuko; to give them a taste of what we enjoyed.
In 1989 my second son at the age of nine was diagnosed as having a learning disability, this was a scary time for me as a mother and led me to becoming involved with the local Pleasant Point Primary School as parent help, and then to joining S.P.E.L.D., which is an organization, helping children with special learning needs. A teacher, Mrs. McMillen had done the training and while at a young mothers meeting she demonstrated what to look out for if you fear that your child has dyslexia. I went home and the next morning tested him with this lazy eight method to find out for myself if he did have this misunderstood condition and to my amazement and dismay, he did. This same dear son made me a Nana in October 2015 with the help of his partner Trish and will again in December 2017.
I also became involved with Pleasant Point Plunket Society and Plunket Mothers Club, (President, Secretary and Committee member). We raised funds to support our Plunket Nurse who in turn took care of our babies, coming to the house and weighing them each week and answering any mothering questions we had,telling us when to start to introduce solid foods etc. She was an asset to the community.
The South Canterbury Family and Foster Care Association, (Secretary) Due to my involvement in helping foster children find safe and caring homes I joined this club to support other foster parents who dealt with these troubled teens.
TeNgawai Floral Art, (President and Committee member)
Tots and Toddlers (Coordinator and Tutor) running courses at the local High School, along with teaching Elective subjects for several years.
1995 was not a year I would like to do all over again, but without this tumultuous year fingerithmatic would probably never have been discovered, well at least not by me anyway. They say every cloud has a silver lining, its just not always easy to see. My 18-year marriage ended suddenly and I had to leave the farm and take the boys from their home, they were happy to come and we started our lives again on a vineyard about 10 minutes away in the Opihi Valley. Jono and I have wonderful memories there as we roamed around the Hanging Rock cliffs and river finding Moa bones and rock drawings.
In 1996 my landlady put me in touch with an adult literacy organization, South Canterbury Literacy to utilize my teaching skills and to use up some of the spare hours I now had. This was to be a good move, and a way to help others on a voluntary basis while learning and benefiting myself.
On completing the training, I was offered a job at a local horticulture-training unit, this position lasted 3 years. I enjoyed working with the young school leavers and other adults who had slipped through the cracks in the school system without the 3 R’s.(Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) I was always looking for ways to help them and encourage them to learn. Helping them, gave me confidence which in turn boosted theirs, which was good for everyone.
In 1999 my manager sent me to The Aoraki Polytechnic, to gain a Certificate in Adult Teaching. It was through this training that I was able to develop this new times table and memory technique, hence this web site, a new company, a new career and a new purpose in life, a new beginning and best of all Help for all those who struggle with mathematics!!
For More about what I have done up to 2004 click on the Newsletters link