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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 15, June 1971

By A.A. Radford

It is with sincere regret we learn of the passing of Miss Margaret Stewart (known to her many friends as "Maggie"), at the age of 78 years. She was a foundation member of our Society, also a member of W.A.C.M.A. Coming to Waihi over 50 years ago she served as a Lieutenant in the Salvation Army with Captain Radcliffe. Some time afterwards she went to live with Mrs. Daniel Coutts, (nee Landy). A true and wonderful friendship began, lasting over 40 years ending when Mrs. Coutts passed away nearly 7 years ago. During the last 7 years of her life, Mrs. Coutts spent most of the time in bed. Maggie was a most devoted friend, never sparing herself in attending to the comfort of her dear friend, and always ready to give smiling hearty welcome to the many visitors. Maggie was keenly interested in the early history of Waihi. (She even tried to have the Richard Seddon Memorial restored and erected in a prominent place, but apparently was unsuccessful).

About 1932 Mr. Coutts was engaged as a "gold diviner" in New Guinea and spent some years there as a Mine Manager coming home only on vacations. During this time Mrs. Coutts and Miss Stewart continued to carry on both the home in Savage Rd. and the dairy farm in Ford Rd., milking the cows daily. In 1939 they joined Mr. Coutts for a memorable year but came back when War threatened, bringing with them additions to a growing museum of tropical treasures and mineral exhibits. This was set up by Maggie in a room of their home.

It was really marvellous that such a large collection could be so well arranged in a space so comparatively small. Maggie was never so happy as when showing and explaining about the exhibits to the many people who came from near and far to see the museum, a special delight to her being when classes from the schools paid a visit. Owing to ill health in Sept., 1969, she very reluctantly had to dispose of her home and leave Waihi where she had spent so many happy years, and return to Invercargill, her home town to be near her family. She donated Mr. & Mrs. Coutts' museum collection to the Waihi museum, a very fitting Memorial to Mr. & Mrs. Coutts and Maggie.