Rā whānau

Ivy Mairoki Patience Mary McGaughey, née Benson (Peneamene) celebrated her 94th birthday on Sunday 29 July.

Family and friends gathered together to celebrate Ivy’s big day and she was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers by Graeme Lane on behalf of Waihao whānau.

Ivy was born in Ashburton on 27 July 1920. She is the eldest of two children born to James Paiki Peneamene and Anna Crocker.

Ivy’s childhood was spent in Parnassus, where she started school and where her father worked on the railways. The family moved to Waikari in North Canterbury, then to Christchurch where Ivy attended Phillipstown School. Holidays were spent at her Aunty Hannah Benson’s home, where Ivy recalls gathering flax and making mats – as well as enjoying goose eggs and eels. The eels were caught following a walk of approximately four miles to The Box, where eels were caught both by hand and by the use of a whitebait net under The Box. Whitebaiting was also a large part of life.

Potato picking at Hayman’s was part of the work undertaken by Ivy’s parents. Ivy stated that the large potatoes were picked by the parents while the children followed with baskets picking up the smaller ones. They also enjoyed getting rides on the traction engine. She says her parents often ran euchre parties at the Māori Hall. The locals and farmers attended these with the farmers donating prizes. It was nothing to bike into Waimate to dances and euchre parties.

After leaving school, Ivy worked at the Woollen Mills in Oamaru, where she had to work for six years before receiving a full pay. Her father received five pounds ($10) per week working on the railway. Through the Depression, work was offered at one week on and one week off. This ensured that more people received a wage. If this offer was not taken up, the work was not offered.

Although Ivy didn’t, others took work at the hospital on their weeks off from the mill thereby supplementing their income. Starting at the mill, the wage paid was 10 shillings and 6 pence ($1.05) with a half crown (25 cents) rise every six months. At this time, a pair of shoes could be bought for 5 shillings and a pair of gym shoes for half a crown.

Ivy left work when she first married. She and husband George Tripp (a mechanic) had two children and named them Ivy and George. On occasion they would leave the children with the grandparents for short visits but they then had difficulty in getting them home again. Obviously these visits were well enjoyed by all. Ivy (senior) was a buyer for Millers for twenty years after the children left school. From then on, the couple enjoyed many trips in their campervan, in which they travelled all over New Zealand. They took great delight in taking Judith (their grand-daughter) with them on these holidays.

Ivy obviously has a great sense of humour as, when she was asked how they got over Cook Strait she replied “swam.” In fact they took the caravan over on the ferry from Lyttleton.

Sadly, Ivy’s husband George passed away on 18 May 1988. In 1997 Ivy married, Cecil McGaughey, also a mechanic. Cecil and Ivy continued camping and dancing until Cecil passed away in May 2002.

Throughout her life, Ivy has travelled to Australia, Fiji and Tonga. Her trip to Tonga was an eventful one. That’s where she attended the wedding of a mechanic friend, who was the mechanic for the Prince of Tonga. The Prince of Tonga was there with them. Ivy has also travelled to the top of the Fox Glacier via helicopter. This trip was won through a competition run through the Automobile Association.

Ivy now resides at Harbour View Rest Home in Oamaru. She is able to watch all the goings-on in the harbour and out to sea and she entertains the residents by playing the organ. She also knits and crochets rugs for the home and makes jewellery. She plays bowls and takes part in activities offered by the home. Ivy has two children and three grandchildren, Judith, Barry and Paul, as well as four great grandchildren. Happy 94th Birthday Ivy.

Ivy McGaughey.

Ivy McGaughey.