How rural women make it happen!

 

I love the small things in communities that no one much knows about out in the big world. This is tribute to my late mother  – Patricia Jeanette Rowley.

The West Otago Provincial Executive of Womens Division of Federated Farmers is quite a mouthful. My mother served the WDFF Otago (we think) as President as well as being the President of the Roxburgh Branch. Later on she was elected to the Dominion Council and travelled to Wellington for regular meetings. She contributed greatly to the work of this organisation in spheres such as Health, Education and Law as it affected rural women.

She was a woman before her time and she was forward thinking.”The Rowley Brooch” competition was instigated by my mother Pat Rowley in 1972.

I googled the subject and found this Oamaru entry; ” The Rowley Brooch Speech Competition Sponsored by FMG.  Topic is “After the Ball…….” Entries – Limit of two from each Provincial. Entrants names to Jocelyn McIlraith Ph 03 4360694 By 5th June 2014.” I then discovered  the 2013 and 2014 winners.

Rowley brooch 1

Above: The Rowley Brooch

In 1967 my mother organised a tour for members to Canada and California. She arranged home visits with rural women in Saskatchewan and other exotic sounding places. I recall her returning from this trip with multi coloured, geometric and very bright panty hose; something not seen in NZ back then!!

She also felt that the officers of the WDFF needed to talk together and formed the Linking Committee which proved invaluable. As a farmers wife she often got bored although she could spend hours gardening and often did! She started a travel group where women met monthly and talked about travel, a book club and she was on the executive on the Womens’ Division of the N.Z. National Party. A very busy and liberated woman to say the least!

Pat opened a small jeweller shop in Roxburgh which was very successful for many years. During this time she instigated the “Rowley Brooch” for competition between WDFF members within the Otago interprovincial area. The annual speech competition was about ‘current affairs’ . The talk was more than 5 minutes and less than 6 minutes.  When Otago/ Southland became one entity as Region One, it was decided that the “Rowley Brooch” be competed for by both Provinces, using the speech title chosen for the National competition, though no record of this decision has been located. The timing of the speech was reduced to four minutes, as dictated by the National Rules

After my parents retirement to Paihia in the Bay of islands, she served on the Paihia Local Body Council and regularly  wrote letters to the Prime Minister or local MP.

Mother

Above: 4 Generations – Lynn Clayton (nee Rowley), Pat Rowley, Cameron & Colby Clayton taken in 2006.

I have a dream final winning speech by Jenny Malcolm from North Otago in 2014.IMG_7073

I have a dream that my 4 teenage daughters have a brain transplant that advances their age by 10 years!

You see, I have 4 teenage girls aged 13-16 – and Yes I now know that teenagers are the price you pay for having sex!! But Why does no one tell you that at age 13 someone rips the wiring out of your teenagers brain and doesn’t reconnect it for another 10 years.

What happened to my lovely girls??!  BUT I have a dream, and I’d like to share it with you – so sit back, close your eyes, relax. – heres what a typical day looks like with my 4 teenage girls   age 16-18, brain age now 23-26

As the sun peeps over the horizon, My 4 lovely girls leap up out of bed, in  10 minute intervals for a short shower, leaving the bathroom beautifully dry and clean by the time they arrive  for breakfast with a spring in their step and a smile on their face.

They eat a healthy breakfast while they make their lunches and chat about what their day will hold. They clean up their breakfast dishes leaving little trace of their meal.

On a week day, they kiss their dad and me goodbye, as we wave from the kitchen window and they enjoy their walk to the bus. On a weekEnd, after breakfast, they attend to their washing, depositing it in the laundry and offer to hang it out when its ready.

Because they keep their rooms tidy during the week they ask if there is anything they can do to help ME! They trot off with Dad to the yards for a couple of hours of sheep work, happy to help, and spend the afternoon reading, doing homework or catching up with friends. B4 tea we have a driving lesson,that is calm and pleasant with my daughter listening to the advice of an experienced driver, soaking up the tips like a sponge, and then demonstrating them with ease.

At night We dine together with jovial banter, demolishing dinner with thanks and clear plates to the dishwasher without prompt, as the eldest goes off to prepare for a party that starts at 8pm and will finish by 10.30, because she knows she needs her sleep.

She will be waiting to be collected from the party at the designated time and wont need alcohol as she knows she is underage and the dangers that it can cause. Kisses goodnight all round and “have a good sleep” reverberates around the house, as we all sink into bed.       Aaaahh  – and so my lovely dream continues.

Did you notice however that NOWHERE in my dream was there:

  • Slamming of doors, stamping of feet and general shouting of indiscriminate abuse without reason or warning.
  • No Empty toilet roll holders, full rubbish bins and a bathroom piled so high with wet towels, I wonder if I am running a 5 star motel
  • Never in my dream are Mutterings of “I hate you” “I hate her” under their breath OR:
  • A bedroom floor so littered with STUFF that breaking ones leg is a sure thing should you venture in there.
  • Nowhere in my dream is the need to use forensic testing to determine who permanently uplifted something of someone elses, who belongs to the sox down the back of the couch or who left muddy footprints down the hallway.
  • My dream is void of The use of threats such as Dad arriving for a 2am party pickup in pink dressing gown and blue fluffy slippers if she is not waiting on time. Teenagers are selfish, irrational, impatient know-it-alls because they are learning to be adults, and trying out the myriad of choices. Without these varied experiences they would be boring, narrow-minded adults.   Apparently the wiring in the teenage brain will reconnect in time  Thank goodness – I have a dream!
  • I realise that as I wallow indulgently in my dream, that there is every chance I’ll be woken by a slamming door and an over the shoulder retort – “It was your choice to have us!”
  • I also have it on good authority that while teenagers may be the price for having sex, grandchildren will be the reward for not strangling them. The tricky bit of course is getting them through the teenage years without the grandchildren arriving prematurely.
  • So I’m reluctant to wish for something that may backfire. In the meantime – I have a dream, and I can dream it anytime, anywhere I want.
  • But you know – Im a realist!
  • Sound familiar? (I raise my hand)

The initial recipient  of The Rowley Brooch was 1973 Mrs Dunckley

And the last five are:

2010 Iris Marshall, Southland

2011 Kim Murtagh, West Otago

2012 Kim Murtagh, West Otago

2013 Jenny Malcolm, North Otago

2014 Jenny Malcolm, North Otago (see story above)

The speech above won Jenny Malcolm the right to go onto the National speech context which she also won…My Mother would be so proud. I am proud of my mother … if you know any rural women please encourage them to enter this challenge 🙂 and share my blog 🙂

Thankyou to Margaret Pittaway for your help with my research.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “How rural women make it happen!

  1. Thanks Lynn, I loved reading this story about Antony’s Grandma, I had no idea. I’ll pass it to him to read too x

  2. YES – MY AUNT PAT WAS A VERY GUTSY WOMAN FOR HER TIME – DAUGHTER IS CERTAINLY VERY SIMILAR.
    WELL DONE LYNN FOR THIS BLOG – – JENNY MALCOLM’S, “THE FINAL DREAM” – FABULOUS.
    IF YOU EVER DRIVE THROUGH THE SKIPPERS ROAD NEAR QUEENSTOWN, TO THE BRANCHES STATION – THERE ON THE ROAD SIDE IS A SMALL STATUE OF A WOMAN – IN MEMORY OF ALL THOSE PIONEERING WOMEN IN NEW ZEALAND – THEY TOO WERE GUTSY LADIES. OUR GRANDMOTHERS AND GREAT GRANDMOTHERS & MOTHERS WERE SOME OF THEM. XX

  3. That was brilliant Lynn. Of all the years I have been in Rural Women/WDFF I never connected you with the Rowley Brooch, till our Wanaka weekend discussion. To think I belonged to the Beaumont Branch WDFF 25yrs ago and attended many of the competition days with the other West Otago Branches. Thank you for writing the blog

  4. The Rowley Brooch came up in conversation at our Rural Woman meeting last week! Now I read your blog and it all falls into place! Well done, Lynn!

  5. Pingback: ‘I MAY BE GONE FOR SOME TIME’ | KIWIGRAN – my escapades, my images, my thoughts :)

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