Topic: Foxton 1888-1988 - Contributors' Profiles

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The following people contributed to this book: Tony Hunt, Ken Cassels, May Flynn, Valmae Hayes, Mary Malthus, Ian Matheson, Marjorie Mitchell, Ted Murphy, Margaret Speirs and Jim Titcombe.

Tony Hunt, Editor, although born in Taumaranui, considers himself a Foxtonian by virtue of having resided in the town most of the past 40 years. He arrived there in 1946 with his parents, Neal and Daphne, when Neal took up a position at the Foxton District High School. After receiving his education in Foxton, Wanganui, Victoria and Massey Uni­versities, Tony was appointed to the staff of Manawatu College. While there his interest in the town's history was aroused through mem­bership of the Foxton Historical Society. This led to the editorship of "Flax Through The Century", produced to celebrate 100 years of the flax industry in Foxton. In later years Tony produced publications to help celebrate the Centennial of the Foxton Rugby Club and Diamond Jubilee of Secondary Education in Foxton. At present he is Deputy Principal of Opunake High School but retains close ties with Foxton.

Ken Cassels was born in Wellington in 1924, is a descendent of George Nye, one of Foxton's pioneers. After being educated in Welling­ton, Ken joined the railways, a service with which his family has close connections. After war service he returned to train as a teacher. He taught at primary and secondary schools before taking up a position at the Correspondence School. Ken also obtained experience in Africa both in education and in the study of railway systems. In 1983 he retired from his position as Deputy Principal of the Correspondence School and has since been able to spend more time on his prime interest, railways. Contributions to the journals of railway organisations have been step­ping stones to the publication of two books, "The Sanson Tramway" (1962) and "The Foxton and Wanganui Railway" (1984). Ken is now working on the centennial history of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway.

May Flynn was born in the mining town of Blackball and attended primary school there before studying at Greymouth High School. After training as a teacher at Christchurch Training College and Canterbury University, May married her husband Harold, and over the next 30-odd years they taught throughout New Zealand before coming to Foxton in 1961. Since then May has shown much interest in the town and its citizens and has served as a Borough Councillor for the past 12 years. Her interest in education has continued since retirement and her con­tribution to this publication is an example of this.

Valmae Hayes was born in Levin in 1939. She was educated in Ran­giotu, Te Awamutu, and Otorohanga before coming to Foxton upon marriage to Don Hayes, a local tradesman. During her 29 years in ­Foxton, Val has helped with her husband's business and raised a family. Val's great-grandparents lived in Foxton for many years and she has developed an interest in local history, particularly the role of people in creating it. For the past five years she has served as Treasurer of the Foxton Historical Society.

Mary Malthus (nee Barton) was born in Wanganui and gained her education there leaving Wanganui Girls High in 1938 to attend Otago University. She graduated from there with a B.H.Sc. degree and taught before marrying Dr Bill Malthus in 1946. They moved from Christ­church to Foxton in 1951 when Bill took over the practice he still owns. Since that time Mary has been active in many community organisations and was a member of the Borough Council for 12 years. For a number of years she represented the Borough on the Manawatu Branch of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and was a foundation committee member of the Foxton Historical Society. As part of her education studies at Massey University, Mary wrote a history of the first 30 years of the Central Districts Play Centre Association, an organisation of which she was president for 10 years.

Ian Matheson was born in Palmerston North and educated at Palmer­ston North Boys' High and Massey University. After some experience as a teacher, Ian was appointed Archives Officer for the Palmerston North City Council in 1970. His interest in local history grew from studying genealogy and he was influenced by his uncle, A.G.S: Brad­field, who in the early sixties produced two books about early Manawa­tu, "Forgotten Days" and "Precious Years". Ian's particular interests have been the history of the flax industry and the Maori people. He is regularly consulted by other local historians on these topics. He has been very active in the Manawatu Museum Society and the Manawatu Committee of the Historical Places Trust. The newspaper tabloid "Birth of Palmerston North"( produced by Ian in 1971 on the occasion of the city's centennial) is still in demand. He has produced contributions to several publications and is working on a definitive history of the flax industry in the Manawatu.

Marjorie Mitchell was born in Christchurch in 1908. She attended primary school and Christchurch Girls' High there. In 1927 the family moved to Wellington where four years at Victoria University and Teachers Training College completed Marjorie's formal education. In 1935 she joined the staff of Turakina Maori Girls' College where she remained for 28 years, the last 13 as Principal. After nine years in Wellington caring for her elderly mother, Marjorie shifted to Foxton Beach in 1973. She became keenly interested in the history of the local area after joining the Foxton Historical Society, an organisation in which she has served as Secretary and is currently its President.

Ted Murphy is Foxton born and bred. After gaining his education in the town he left school and tried a number of jobs before joining his father in his bus company just before World War Two. After service in the Army, he returned to Foxton where he worked for his father before taking over Murphy Motors in 1954, a position he retired from when the business was sold in 1969. In 1954 Ted made his first step into historical writing when he producedd the booklet as part of the reunion held to celebrate a century of schooling in Foxton. Since then Ted has resear­ched the history of both the Anglican and Roman Catholic faiths in Foxton to produce "Century of Faith" for the former and "In the Begin­ning" when they later celebrated the century of its Saint Mary Church.

Margaret Speirs was born at Heatherlea East near Levin but gained most of her education at Foxton District High School. Of the contribu­tors to this publication, Margaret's "pedigree" as a Foxtonian is the strongest as she is a granddaughter of Captain Francis Robinson and is in fact living on "Herrington", Robinson's original estate. She has been a member of the Historical Society for over 10 years and is at present its Secretary.

Jim Titcombe was born in Tokomaru where he received his primary education before attending Palmerston North Boys' High. Jim moved to Foxton with his parents at the age of 14 and began work in the family butchery business. Jim later worked in the grocery and transport sec­tors before joining the Home Defence Forces. After several postings he was manpowered to essential industry in Petone and Foxton. After the war, 'Jim joined the Post Office as an exchange attendant where he served for 32 years before retiring as Supervisor in 1979. After being elected on to the Foxton Borough Council in 1974, Jim took over as Mayor in 1980. He served in this office until ill health forced his retirement in 1985. He continues to serve the community as a J.P. and in 1987 was awarded the Queen's Service Medal.

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Foxton 1888-1988 - Contributors' Profiles by Pippa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License