SALLY TRACEY 1923-2018.
It would be fair to resort to the colloquialism that "they don't make them like her any more" when remembering Sally Tracey.
Born in Wellington on February 19, 1923, she grew up in Auckland before becoming a farmer's wife at Victoria Valley in 1945. Her new life required a huge adjustment, daughter Janette McLeod said, more than a kilometre from the nearest neighbour and a 30 or 40-minute drive from Kaitaia for the most basic commodities.
She not only made that adjustment, however — she also helped others, including the Japanese wife of a returned serviceman, who she made welcome, and taught to speak English.
Her contribution to the Far North was epitomised by her 73-year membership of Country Women's Institute, beginning with Te Puhi, named after the river that ran through the Tracey farm. When that branch closed she joined Waikuruki in 1981.
"Mum saw an awful lot of changes through her life, going from shanks' pony to the motorcar, from a safe in the tree to a refrigerator, computers, mobile phones, television, from a long drop to an inside toilet, and probably a lot more."
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She twice served as president of the Far North Federation, and was awarded the organisation's Good Service and Gold Honours badges, the highest honour it could bestow, only five of which were awarded each year.
CWI took her all over the world, to conferences in Onslow (1968), Australia, Nairobi, Hamburg and Canada, and the South Pacific Tonga Project (1985-87).
"International conferences ended in 1989, but over many years Mum was a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, served on national, regional and district committees, and was an arts and crafts judge and convenor," Janette said.
"She was an associate Country Women's world delegate. In 1980 she was a member of the Dominion Executive Committee, and in 1983 she took a party of 15 Institute members to Norfolk Island.
"She travelled to various institutes, teaching members any number of crafts, which she also taught to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
"She was a member of the Young Farmers' Club, Civil Defence, the United Council of Women, SeniorNet in Kaitaia, and ran the Civilian Maimed Association in Kaitaia. When she moved down to Manurewa she joined the branch there."
She also operated her own hairdressing salon from home and was a trained nurse and occupational therapist, all while working on the farm, milking, herding cows and driving the tractor, especially during the hay-making season.
She was a marriage celebrant, and in 1988 was appointed a Justice of the Peace.
"She has helped us all at various times, and was always there for us no matter what," Janette added.
"Mum saw an awful lot of changes through her life, going from shanks' pony to the motorcar, from a safe in the tree to a refrigerator, computers, mobile phones, television, from a long drop to an inside toilet, and probably a lot more.
"We had lots of laughs over the years, especially when Mum came to Perth to live with me and Tony 17 years ago. She may have had a few moments with Tony — he accidentally turned the sprinklers on when she was down the back of the section, and came in absolutely drenched.
"One winter Tony saw the sliding door open, locked it and went off to work at 2pm. I came home at 5pm and found her sitting on a chair in a little garden shed trying to keep warm. Not popular for a while, but that was our Granny, and we loved her dearly."
Sally also had many friends back home in the Far North, including Velda Berghan, another long-serving member of CWI.
"She was still knitting, right to the end," she said. "When I phoned her on her birthday she was still going strong. She said she had given up on booties, and was now on to beanies. She admitted that she couldn't see what she was doing — she just knitted."
Sally, who died on March 22, is survived by four children, 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and according to Janette "some extras". Her husband Ivan died in Kaitaia many years ago.