Te Kiato Riwai
Friends and relatives from all over New Zealand filled the Christchurch Cathedral to capacity to pay their respects to Miss Te Kiato Riwai, who passed away on 31 August.
Mr G. J. Walker, Member for St Albans, representing the Government and Mr N. Kirk Leader of the Opposition, were among the many who gathered in sorrow at Rehua Meeting House for the Tangi.
Kia, as she was affectionately known by all who came in contact with her, was born in 1915 on the Chatham Islands. She was one of a family of eight children of Te Oti and Mere Riwai. She came to Christchurch as a child for her education at Te Waipounamu Maori Girl's College but the depression years intervened to prevent her acquiring a higher education. In spite of this she was at home in any company, were they Civic Leaders, Adult Education Groups, University Women's Organisations or the many others who from time to time sought and acted on her advice.
In her youth she returned to the Chatham Islands to recuperate from a serious illness. With courage and faith she overcame this and came back to Christchurch to work in a factory.
The outbreak of war saw her entering whole-heartedly into Patriotic and Red Cross work. She helped to organise a club for soldiers on leave and took a prominent part in the Otautahi Maori Concert Party formed to raise patriotic funds.
She was one of only three Maori women selected as members of the V.A.D. to go over-
seas on war service and was attached to the hospital at Caserta in Italy at the time of the Battle of Casino. When hostilities ceased she was in Kent, England, serving in a hospital caring for ex-prisoners of war. She later moved to another hospital at Folkstone for soldiers on leave and finally returned to New Zealand serving on the hospital ship Maunganui. For her outstanding service over this period His Majesty King George VI awarded her the B.E.M. and she was invited back to England to attend the Victory Parade.
For six years after the war Kia had her own confectionery business at Heathcote, where she was respected and loved by all in the area.
In 1952 she joined the staff of the Maori Affairs Department as a Welfare Officer. She brought to bear on her duties a dedication seldom matched by any. She had the happy ability of inspiring others to give of their best whether it was to improve themselves or to assist others.
In 1962 she was appointed the Senior Welfare Officer for the South Island. About this time she was awarded the M.B.E. in recognition of her devoted service, not only to her own people, but to the many others who came seeking her help.
She saw in Maori clubs a strong asset for the preservation of Maoritanga, and due to her efforts, clubs from all over the South Island were encouraged to take part in Cultural Competitions.
Kia was a keen sportswoman and during her younger days played basketball for the Otautahi Maori Club and cricket for Mai Moa. Hockey was another interest, and she was once chosen for the New Zealand hockey team, but caught measles and was unable to play. She retained a keen interest in Te Waipounamu College. As a Foundation Member she became the second President of the Old Girls' Association, a position she held for 25 years. For many years she was also a member of the Board of Governors of the College.
Her services were also sought as a member of the Board of Governors of the Whakarewa Children's Home at Nelson and of the Y.W.C.A.
Kia's death has left all who knew her with a sense of irreparable loss. In offering our sincere sympathy to her family may we express the wish that they will find comfort in the knowledge that she dedicated her life to the service of others.
Many people in the Gisborne area were saddened to hear of the death of Mr William Mataara Ferris, son of the late James Paumea and the late Heni Ferris.
Coming from a well-known gardening family, Bill was admired as an enterprising and keen nurseryman. He started market gardening in 1950 with a quarter acre nursery. This grew to 4 ½ acres, and he planned to bring in another 1 ½ acres. He had a complete range of flower and vegetable seedlings, and sent them as far afield as Rotorua. Napier and Hastings. His well-known kumara plants were flown as far south as Motueka.
Mr Ferris experimented with modern equipment and techniques, giving a lead to many other nurserymen.
He employed four full-time and four parttime workers, and his son Dave who worked with him full-time is expected to carry on the business.