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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 26, November 1982

By 'Jean Heather'

Ivy Greening was probably well known to the residents of Karangahake and Paeroa, but as a child she lived in Waiorongomai where many of her age group were life long friends.

Her father, Mr Greening, was then in a responsible position in the Assay Headquarters of the Mines. Her mother, Mrs Greening, was an expert horsewoman who drove a sparking colt in a beautiful oak varnished gig. It was a wonderful turn out, the harness always gleaming and the horse shining. Apparently they had bought the horse and gig from Norsewood when they moved to Waiorongomai.

During the trips to Te Aroha Mrs Greening would stable the horse and visit the ladies of the town on visiting days. In those days people had their 'Day at Home' when visiting cards were exchanged on other days. Mrs Greening would tether the horse to a hitching post at a rail and do the shopping in the town.

As a family they also played a part of the daily life in Waiorongomai. At this time Ivy was a little blue-eyed, golden-haired child attending school at Waiorongomai. This school was quite large for a country school. Dances were held there frequently. The open brake from Te Aroha was always full of well wrapped young ladies and men. Mr J. Robinson drove the three or four horse team. Music was supplied by Mrs Glover on the piano. Extras were played on the small hand accordian [accordion – E].

Every home had a beautiful garden of guilder roses, lillies and wonderful moss roses, a deep mauvy colour besides pinks and Canterbury bells, a vegetable garden and fruit trees.

As Ivy grew older she attended the first local Convent in Te Aroha, learning all the things a young lady should know, such as playing the pianoforte, singing and embroidery. Then she would sit in the gig with her mother - no young girl was better dressed in those days.

Mr Gallagher may have owned the first motor car in Te Aroha but Ivy Greening certainly had the first 'motoring bonnet'. It was a beautiful view rose affair mounted on a buckram shape composed of pleated chiffon in the two large rosettes, one over each ear, and joined at the top centre. Instead of ribbon ties it had long strings of six inch wide chiffon which would go around the neck and tie in a large bow. We all loved that bonnet and no one ever felt jealous of Ivy because we were sorry she was an only child in those days of large families.

Later when the mining failed they moved away and Ivy had a varied career. She was one of the first women to wear an airforce uniform. Whether she actually flew we did not know, but her most treasured possession was a photo of herself in her uniform.

She took part in many choral societies and also managed a florist shop in Karangahake to which she retired and her love of flowers and plants were seen by many. When meeting in Paeroa, acquaintance was renewed and one would talk of old times. Despite failing health she was still thought of as the 'Golden Girl' of her youth, always immaculately dressed in blue, pink and gold.

One day she said a friend had fashioned her a blue trinket from a pebble in the stream at Karangahake. It was beautifully polished and too nice for her at her age she thought. However, she had sent it to a girl she admired very much - Yvonne (Goolagong) Crowley. Just one of her deeds that not many know of.

She also had a great sense of humour known only to her friends, and for Ivy.

To her quiet dwelling

In singing or sighing low

Came love of friends and parting

and all things women know.

(with apologies to the author) 'Jean Heather'