Stratford Press editor Ilona Hanne looks through the archives to see what was making the news 50 years ago, in February 1970.

Members of The Valiants, a junior marching team from Stratford.
Members of The Valiants, a junior marching team from Stratford.

In February 1970, 350 marching girls descended upon Stratford for the Stratford Marching Championships.

Competitors came from as far afield as Rotorua and Marton for the event.

As the Stratford and District Pipe Band played, the teams marched past Mrs Boon, the patron of the Stratford Marching Association.

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The Stratford Press reported that hot weather kept the St John Ambulance busy attending many fainting marchers, as the competition heated up in Victoria Park.

Pictured are members of Stratford's junior team, The Valiants.

They, along with Stratford's senior team, Mountain Motors, took honours at the handicap event, it was reported.

Swimming record makers: left to right are Philippa Gordon, Deborah Wake and Nicola Gordon.
Swimming record makers: left to right are Philippa Gordon, Deborah Wake and Nicola Gordon.

In 1970, three students from Taranaki Diocesan School (then known as St Mary's) broke a total of six school swimming records at the school swimming sports event.

Philippa Gordon won the senior championship, managing to break the school's 25 yard butterfly record at the same time. She completed the swim in 21.4 seconds.
Philippa also set a new record in the 50 yards freestyle event, with a time of 35 seconds.

Deborah Wake won the intermediate championship, setting a new record of 1 minute, 47.6 seconds in the 100 yards medley.

The Junior championship was won by Nicola Gordon who broke three records on the day.
She set new record times of 16.2 seconds in the 25 yards freestyle, 21.1 seconds in the 25 yards breaststroke and 29.1 seconds in the lifesaving kick.

Toss Woollaston was born in Toko, and returned to the district as a guest artist for the Stratford Art Society's exhibition in 1970.
Toss Woollaston was born in Toko, and returned to the district as a guest artist for the Stratford Art Society's exhibition in 1970.

One of New Zealand's most important painters, Toss Woollaston was born in Toko.
In 1970 the artist returned to the district as a guest speaker at an exhibition held by the Stratford Art Society.

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While growing up in the district, Toss went to school in Huinga and on to Stratford High School.

In an article about his return as a guest speaker, the Stratford Press reported that despite receiving little recognition in his early years, by 1970 Toss was represented in most of New Zealand's public collections of art as well as in collections in Australia, Europe and the USA.

Stratford Mayor Mr G Boon presented a gavel to Mr L C Harrison to mark the transfer of the borough's electricity department to the Taranaki Electric Power Board in February 1970.
Stratford Mayor Mr G Boon presented a gavel to Mr L C Harrison to mark the transfer of the borough's electricity department to the Taranaki Electric Power Board in February 1970.

The transfer of the Stratford Electricity undertaking to the Taranaki Electric Power Board took place at midnight, February 3 1970.

To mark the occasion, members of the Stratford Borough Council, the Power Board, the Electricity Commission and legal advisors all gathered in the Council Chambers following the transfer.

Mayor G Boon said half a million dollars had been involved in the discussions of sale.

He said while the Council had not been in favour of selling the undertaking at the time the Commission was being formed, it could see it had no alternative but to sell.

Stratford was the first borough to transfer its electrical undertaking since the Electrical Distribution Act (1967) came into force.