THE name Geraldine Inder is synonymous with dancing in Masterton and in recognition of her 58-year career and services to the community, Miss Inder has been awarded the Queens Service Medal in the New Year's honours list.
Miss Inder (Mrs Madden) said that when she knew she had been awarded the QSM, "all the memories of all the lovely children I'd taught just came flooding back".
Some of her pupils cover three generations of the same family with her teaching ballet and ballroom dancing at Masterton colleges since 1949 and an impressive total of more than 5000 dance and speech and drama students have come under her tutelage.
Every year she also produces a recital and pantomime and has the longest record in Masterton for a woman in business.
Miss Inder, born in Nelson and living in Wairarapa since she was a small girl, said it had been a dream of hers to one day be a dance teacher, and her path to realising that ambition actually started with learning speech and drama as a child of seven.
She moved on to dancing and the scene was set for her, at 20, to buy her first small studio in Chapel Street.
"I had left college at 18 and wanted to start teaching then, but my father thought there was no living to be made in teaching dancing so I got a job for two years with a Masterton accountant before I bought the studio."
There will be countless Wairarapa families who will remember Miss Inder's studio in Queen Street where she taught for 35 years, before making her final move to the Colombo Road studio.
These days with her daughter Nicole Madden, (Mrs Swallow) Miss Inder is now co-director of the Geraldine Inder School of Dancing and Drama, and very much keeps her hand in among other classes putting the top group of ballet dancers through their paces every week.
Along with a lifetime teaching children to "reach their potential and learn the joy of dance and drama", she has also been a busy member of Harlequin Theatre since 1947 and later added an association with MATS to her theatrical involvement.
In 1998 she received a Masterton District Council Civic Award and a year later was made a life member of the Royal Academy of Dancing.
She said it has been a wonderful 58 years and assured for a second generation with Miss Madden being a co-director.
What is not so sure, she said, is whether there is a third generation waiting in the wings with grand-daughter Holly Swallow at the moment favouring a career in acting.