Obituary: Fabulous teacher made impression

By Pippa Brown

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Sandra du Plat-Pearce taught ballet for 20 years and was well loved by her students.
Sandra du Plat-Pearce taught ballet for 20 years and was well loved by her students.

A woman who was one of Rotorua's oldest residents will be remembered for her friendship, love of life, the arts and dedication to ballet.

Sandra du Plat-Pearce died last week at the age of 105.

Mrs du Plat-Pearce was born in England, survived two world wars and lived in London until the 1950s when she moved to Rotorua with her keen trout fisherman husband, Arthur. He died in 2004, a year after the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

The couple had no children.

She began the Du Plat School of Dance in 1960 and taught ballet for 20 years.

Regarded as an inspirational teacher who had a huge impact on her students, she is remembered as a wonderful teacher and friend, full of fun, who influenced many lives.

Mrs du Plat-Pearce had wanted to be a ballet dancer herself but had polio as a child which stopped her career but she still managed to gain more than 40 years of ballet experience.

Being tall restricted her from taking part in ballet productions and she went on to pursue other career options -- including being a model for fancy dress stores and a radio host.

Family friend Elizabeth Miller said Mrs du Plat-Pearce was a wonderful teacher who went to great lengths to help her students.

"She was always a memorable person, a great hostess, who was strong and independent, and always a lady. A stylish woman and a great conversationalist who was interested in everybody and what they were up to and made friends quickly when she came to Rotorua."

Mrs du Plat-Pearce was very active in life, and involved in music and the theatre.

She continued to make friends after moving from her home on Matipo Ave to The Gardens Rest Home and Hospital two years ago.

When Mrs du Plat-Pearce turned 105 last year, she was treated to a dance and song from former students.

A celebration of Mrs du Plat-Pearce's life will be held today at Osborne's Funeral Home Chapel at 11am.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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