Dannevirke: Rose celebrates half-century in style

By Christine McKay

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Rose Evans of Rose's Hair Care in Woodville celebrates 50 years in hairdressing. Photo / Kellie McKay
Rose Evans of Rose's Hair Care in Woodville celebrates 50 years in hairdressing. Photo / Kellie McKay

Rose Evans couldn't wait to return to work in the New Year and it's been that way for all the 50 years she's been a hairdresser.

Rose, 65, the owner of Rose's Hair Care in Woodville, began following her dream of a career in hairdressing in 1965, when she was just 15-and-a-half and now, almost 66, she has no intention of retiring, or even slowing down.

"She's the energiser bunny and she makes us all feel tired," colleague Kellie McKay said.

Rose said she has never had a day when she's woken up and said, "God I have to work today.

Rose Evans of Woodville with Dannevirke's Pat Edwards-Sextus who has been a client for more than 30 years. Photo / Nigel Houghton
Rose Evans of Woodville with Dannevirke's Pat Edwards-Sextus who has been a client for more than 30 years. Photo / Nigel Houghton

"I love it with a passion. I have a passion for people and I love making them feel great."

Rose began cutting her mother's friends' hair in Woodville when she was 10, but it took running away from home to convince her parents to allow her to follow a hairdressing career.

"I signed myself out of high school, but my parents said, no, they couldn't afford the cost of me going into hairdressing," Rose told the Dannevirke News.

"I was so upset I ran away from home and slept in a horse float. My name was on the radio saying they were looking for a girl in blue Bermudas. The person hiding me became worried and told my father. A week later, my parents had the money for my hairdressing - they had taken out a loan."

Rose went to hairdressing school but the deal was she would work at the Woodville clothing factory to get money too.

"I was so excited. I was beside myself when I was picking out my towels and combs."

With a natural aptitude for her trade, just four months into her time at the hairdressing school in Palmerston North, Rose's boss convinced her to enter a competition which she won.

"Mum couldn't wait to get up town and put the results in the paper," she said.

After Palmerston North, Rose worked in Feilding, Pahiatua and Turangi, then moved to Dannevirke, all the time hairdressing, even when she had her babies.

"I even did hairdressing in the maternity annex," she said.

After time in a Dannevirke salon, Rose opened her own salon in Wright St.

"We were so busy people would be waiting out on the street to get in," she said.

"I took on five girls, one senior and four apprentices. We worked hard - 12-hour days - with two late nights and Saturdays too, all the time wearing stiletto-heeled shoes."

Rose also worked in three salons in Hastings over three years.

"I turned up for one interview in Hastings wearing ripped jeans, but I got the job because the owner said she liked my smile."

Returning to Woodville 26 years ago, Rose first worked in a salon across the road from her current salon.

And, as she celebrated 50 years in the business, she was joined by loyal client of more than 30 years Dannevirke's Pat Edwards-Sextus.

Rose's staff: Nigel Houghton (left), Kellie McKay, Rose Evans, Elva Lockyer and Jenny Bolton, with Kate Jensen in front. Photo / Christine McKay
Rose's staff: Nigel Houghton (left), Kellie McKay, Rose Evans, Elva Lockyer and Jenny Bolton, with Kate Jensen in front. Photo / Christine McKay

"Trends have become much more fun," Rose said. "I've trained eight apprentices over the years, but Kellie is my last."

But it's not all styling, Rose admits the chair is also a place of confessions for many clients.

"I've heard things which are mind-boggling but you keep those things in your head and to yourself and never repeat what you've been told - a bit like a priest really. We're not just hairdressers, we're psychologists and nurses."

However, despite her radiant smile, life hasn't always been easy for Rose.

"When you have ups and downs in your life, being with other people in the salon takes your mind off it, and sometimes people come in who are having a worse time and it makes me realise how fortunate I am. But if I didn't have a fantastic team and great clients it would have been hard to get through the tough times."

Staff at Rose's salon reckon she will still be working when she's pushing a Zimmer frame.

"No matter what life has thrown at Rose, she just keeps on going with gusto," colleague Nigel Houghton said.

And her children believe when their mother's time comes, it'll either be at the salon, or in her garden.

"If you love what you're doing why stop?" Rose said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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