Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 32, September 1988
On Sunday 9 August 1987 members of the Paeroa and Waihi Historical Societies gathered at the Presbyterian Church Hall, Paeroa, to honour Mrs Nell Climie, Patron of the respective Societies and Mr and Mrs J Brown, longtime members. Mrs Climie and Mrs Eunice Brown celebrated their 90th Birthdays in August and Mr Jim Brown, in September.
Mr Sam Orr, President of the Paeroa Society, welcomed those present and congratulated the guests of honour on each reaching their 90th year.
Mrs Climie's actual Birthday was on August 13 and Mrs Brown's on August 14.
Mr and Mrs Brown arrived in Paeroa in 1940 from Waipiro Bay, Gisborne. Christchurch born, Eunice (Whiting) Brown, a pianoforte teacher, was in demand not only as a teacher, but as an accompanist and became well known in musical circles. She was always readily available to play at social gatherings and for many years was organist at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church and accompanist for the Paeroa Ladies Choir. Many a soloist sought the services of Mrs Brown to accompany them at concerts and various "do's" in the district. Mrs Brown was also a keen member of the CWI.
Mr Reg Hughes, Secretary of the Paeroa Society, told the audience that both he and Mr Brown, best rememberedasConstable Brown, had served in the police force. Mr Brown had been a dedicated member of the Paeroa Branch Royal New Zealand Institute of the Blind, a member of the Orphans Club [see Journal 27: Paeroa's Orphan's Club - E], and is a life member of Paeroa Rotary.
Both Mr and Mrs Brown were enthusiastic members of the Paeroa Caledonian Society and had greatly enjoyed the old time dances. They were also keen members of the local horticultural society.
Mr Bob Hughes spoke of the early years of the Society. He said it was formed in 1964 and at that time Rev Rogers was President, Nell Climie the editor and he was secretary.
Mrs Climie was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in 1970 for her services to education and Thames Valley Historical societies. She was presented to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited New Zealand during that year at a ceremony in the Wellington Town Hall. Mr Hughes spoke about the joy among society members and the general community when the award of BEM was announced.
Paeroa's Mayor, Mr Ted Leigh, congratulated the guests of honour and then proceeded to give a very interesting expose of the Mayoral Chain of Office. Each medal was engraved with each Mayor's name, date and term of office and many of the more senior members present remembered well those early identities.
In reply, Mrs Climie said she was fortunate to live in such a caring community and thanked the Historical Society for arranging the occasion. She spoke of her involvement with the Paeroa Society when it was formed and said that ever since she and Eunice Brown had discovered that they were the same age and that their birthdays were within a day of each other, had remained very close friends. She thanked the Mayor for his most interesting talk on the Mayoral Chain and the history surrounding it.
Mr Brown then spoke. He thanked the Society, the Mayor and Mayoress and all present for acknowledging the "two young ladies on becoming nonagenarians".
Floral tributes from the Historical Societies were presented to Mesdames Climie and Brown and Mr and Mrs Gary Staples presented Mrs Climie with a copy of the Thames Star issued on her birthdate, Friday August 13 1897.
Mesdames Joyce Kinnaird and Joan Edmonds entertained with a vocal duet of several old favourites, accompanied on the piano by Lee Glass. Mrs Glass later contributed with a medley of melodies, old and modern.
The beautiful birthday cake, baked and iced by Mrs Irene Hughes, was then ceremoniouslycut by the guests of honour, and sampled by those present during afternoon tea.