Margaret | Sunnynook

“I would like a train service from the North Shore to Auckland Airport, because I often have to go to the airport to collect my family from overseas, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen. Not while I’m still alive.

I grew up on Tyneside in Newcastle, Northumberland and came to New Zealand in 1971 with a husband and two children, and lived in several parts of the North Shore, lived in Wanganui and Whangarei. I trained as a nurse and a midwife in England, and I have been retired now since 2002. Well, my husband was an architect, and the Ministry of Works in 1970 decided they needed some more architects in New Zealand, so they came over and we had an interview with them in London, and we decided to come out to New Zealand. I was alright for six months, and then I got very homesick.

In England I didn’t need to drive a car. I just got on a train wherever I wanted to go, I had to learn to drive when I knew I was coming to New Zealand. I’m still not a very confident driver. Unfortunately the only grandchild I’ve got who is living in Auckland, she’s 19 and I’ve got three small grandsons. The youngest is 18 months, and then there’s a five year old and a three year old living in Dublin. I would love to see them growing up, but I think perhaps one of the things I might be looking at this year is selling my house in Sunnynook and moving into a smaller house. I don’t want to live in a retirement village.

Well, I’ve got a family. My son and his family live in Dublin, in Ireland, and I would quite like to go and visit them, but it’s a very long journey. So they came out last Christmas, which is very special.

It’s a very interesting question that, because growing up, my mother hated the Irish, and so it wasn’t until I lived in New Zealand and I bought some Irish music, and then I got interested in the music and then my eldest son went to live in Ireland. So I love Ireland now. I think it’s the most wonderful place. This is Eyre, not Northern Ireland where the troubles were. I’m very sympathetic to the Catholics in the Irish Republic, and I’m interested in the history of why it all happened. I’ve only discovered a lot of it recently reading about Queen Victoria. My eldest daughter has a lot of problems, and it would be difficult to move away from Auckland.

I’m very interested in history, and the history in New Zealand doesn’t go back far enough for me anyway, being English, Pākehā. I do have a part Māori grand-daughter, but my husband and I separated in 1991, and he went to live in America. I’ve got a son and daughter-in-law living in Wellington who are part of the Hare Krishna society, and the man I married became a Mormon.”

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