Eastern Courier : April 22nd 2011
3 EASTERN COURIER, APRIL 22, 2011 NEWS 3653168AI Easter Sale Now Outlet store hours: Monday-Friday 10-4, Sat 10-1 18 Greenmount Drive, Botany Ph 273 9636 www.possumdown.co.nz Up to 40% off all Possum Merino garments and accessories War brides' love story The story of a war bride: Claire Dunlop followed a Kiwi soldier to New Zealand in 1945 and 3700 women did the same. Historian Gabrielle Fortune is telling the war brides' story in an exhibition at Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo: MICHELLE COOKE Newlyweds: Claire and Allen Dunlop on their wedding day in England in 1944. By MICHELLE COOKE THEY came in droves from all over the world, following the New Zealand soldiers who stole their hearts during World War Two. And now the war brides' collective story is being told at the Auckland War Mem- orial Museum. It's a story of war, love, fol- lowing your heart and the challenges of adjusting to a new country. Claire Dunlop was only 20 when she left the UK for New Zealand on a ship with 40 other war brides. About 3700 women from 37 countries, including Canada, Italy and Palestine followed their husbands and fiances to New Zealand. I followed my heart to the other side of the world and I've never regretted it,'' the Pakuranga resident says. Mrs Dunlop is one of the women historian Gabrielle Fortune interviewed for her thesis on war brides. Her story appears in the Mr Jones' Wives exhibition, along with personal accounts from 60 other women. Mr Jones' Wives is the name newspapers gave to the women who fell in love with New Zealand servicemen. Frederick Jones was the Defence Minister who oversaw their immigration to New Zealand. Dr Fortune began inter- viewing war brides in 2001 and had no idea what stories she would uncover. I really came to under- stand what it meant the choice and the courage,'' she says. Women as young as 17 would arrive on our shores not knowing what their futures held. Some would be shocked to find the farm their husband promised was a small piece of rugged land and others were left to care for their husband's elderly parents. For some their new lives in New Zealand were too much to handle and they took their own lives. Dr Fortune says the war brides' story doesn't only appeal to people interested in history but to anyone who knows about moving country, settling, cultural adaptation, meeting new in-laws and so on''. Mrs Dunlop had an interes- ting first few days in New Zealand. She arrived in Auckland where her husband Allen met her. They caught the train to her husband's home town of Westport, where she was greeted by cousins throwing confetti over her. But she wasn't too impres- sed with the town or her husband's stepmother. He said: By the way my stepmother won't have you in the house'.'' The stepmother changed her mind and let her stay in the smallest room in the house despite two larger rooms being available. Either the girls were received with open arms or they really weren't wanted,'' Dr Fortune says. A lot of the women smoked, which was something New Zealand women couldn't fathom. New Zealand women and in particular mothers-in-law were just appalled that these women smoked,'' she says. Soldiers were stopped on the street by women asking why they married a foreigner and not someone from their own country. I was a fallen woman because I'd go into hotels and drink and nice girls in New Zealand didn't do that,'' Mrs Dunlop says. She met her husband in Christchurch, England, where her father had sent her and her mother to have time out from the air raids in her Sussex home. Mr Dunlop had just arrived in the country three days earlier. He was invited to her home to stay and eat and would return to stay with her family every time he was on leave. They married in 1944 and Mr Dunlop returned to New Zealand shortly after. The couple moved to Wel- lington where Mrs Dunlop joined an overseas wives club and formed strong friend- ships with other war brides. One was Anne, a Scottish native who married Tom Grayburn. It turned out Mr Grayburn had been with Mr Dunlop when he met Claire. When she asked him whether he knew of me he sat straight up and said: Good God, Allen didn't marry that woman did he?'.'' But indeed he did and a loving marriage of 59 years ensued until Mr Dunlop died a decade ago. Mrs Dunlop has no regrets but it still feels like home'' when she returns to the UK for holidays. She's well aware her life would have taken a very dif- ferent path had she not met Mr Dunlop, the Kiwi who won her heart and who eventually led her to a country which holds a very special place in it. The exhibition includes photos, audio and written accounts, curated by Georgina White. It runs until September. Makeover for your club or playground on offer Do your local clubrooms look a bit shabby? Has your neighbourhood playground seen better days? Does your community hall desperately need to be brought into the 21st cen- tury? If your community's got a much-loved and important local building or landmark that's in dire need of a new coat of paint, Dulux wants to hear about it. The New Zealand paint manufacturer has launched a nationwide competition that aims to help brighten up com- munities all over the country. A total of 20 extreme paint makeovers are on offer, with each prize including up to 100 litres of Dulux Colours of New Zealand paint, a free colour scheme from a colour experts, plus technical speci- fication advice and tips on suitable preparation and products. Dulux New Zealand gen- eral manager Patrick Jones says the company launched the competition as a means of giving back to the local com- munities of New Zealand. Many community groups work tirelessly to provide things like sports equipment for their youth teams or amenities for their Scouts and Girl Guide troops but they often simply don't have enough money to keep their halls and club rooms up to date,'' he says. There are also a lot of charming old buildings around the country that have great bones but have become a bit run down. They could easily be given a fresh colour scheme.'' Community groups wishing to nominate a local com- munity project in need of a paint makeover can go to www.dulux.co.nz to lodge an entry. Entries close on May 15 and the winners will be announced in early June. Homeless Canterbury cats need new owners Adopt me: Gavin is one of the misplaced cats found in Christchurch after the earthquake and needs a new home in Auckland. Canterbury cats who couldn't find their way home after the earth- quake have come to Auckland to find new families. Auckland SPCA received eight cats that were picked up as strays and two have been adopted so far. Auckland SPCA mar- keting manager Martin Mackenzie says the Can- terbury branch is strug- gling to find enough homes for the stray animals coming into its shelter. Unfortunately there aren't enough people back in their own homes for them to even start thinking about taking on apetsotherestofus around New Zealand need to pitch in and res- cue these poor homeless animals. I'm sure we'll have no problem in rehoming them as all eight are beautiful cats and set- tling in quite nicely,'' he says. All cats have received a vet check and are in great condition. They can be viewed online at www.spca.org.nz.
April 20th 2011
April 27th 2011