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No. 36 (September 1961)
– 62 –

GIRLS COME TO THE CITY, Continued from page 31

Mr White encourages the girls to take a practical interest in dressmaking. Some stay after work to make their own dresses, the firm hopes to find some girls who will go to technical college to learn designing—at the company's expense. It is a surprise to Mr White that with so much natural taste, Maori girls do not go in for dress designing as a profession. He keeps on looking for someone with this ambition.

Shortly after the girls' arrival the firm formed the SOMA Softball team, which in the first year of its existence won the Wellington Junior A Grade Championship. There are also plans for the girls joining a hockey team.

Most of them put money regularly into a savings bank; last Christmas they had saved enough for their trip home, complete with presents.

The girls come to work regularly, only one has left, only one has, for a short time given some slight trouble in the hostel where she lived. In this case some help from Maori Welfare was necessary, also a sympathetic Maori woman was found to look after the girl for a while.


Summing up, one is struck with the smooth way this small group of girls were able to settle into the city. The fatherly help of the firm, the support of Mrs Manuel were sufficient to overcome, in these cases, the various difficulties of Maori youth one hears so much about. The simple remedy was to spend a little time meeting the essential needs of the young migrant.

At the same time, it is clear that such help was very much needed. The accommodation problem was too tough for the girls to handle really well independently. All the little gestures made in the first few days in the city were necessary to give the girls enough security to settle in well. Furthermore little things did keep on happening which, with the guidance they had, were quickly remedied but they could easily have become big things.

Most young Maori people have the ability, by and large, to succeed in the city. But many can succeed only with a little help.