My paternal grandmother is Barbara Nola (Nonna to me!) and her ethnicity includes English, Scottish and Maori. She was born in Lower Hutt, Wellington and then her family moved to Auckland when she was 10 months old where they lived with her grandparents for 4 years. Her grandmother (my great-grandmother) immigrated from England when she was a teenager. My Nonna's great grandfather came on the S.S Dunedin in 1880 from Scotland. One of her great-great-grandmothers is completely Maori and married a British settler.
My Nonna's earliest memory is of her brother when was born 10 days before her 4th birthday. She remembers her mother telling her that she was getting a baby sibling for her birthday, this was back when you didn’t know the gender of a baby. Growing up, she was always super close to her grandmother, owing to the fact they lived with her for four years. My Nonna's parents and grandparents were really loving and kind. Her maternal grandmother treated her father like a son as her dad’s mum died when he was very young. Her grandparents are parents have a lot of siblings so we have a big family and everyone is really close and tight-knit. Growing up, my Nonna told me about some travels and traditions her family had: "We would visit my Dad’s half-brother by train to Martin in Wanganui in the May holidays. I would love going to visit two cousins and they had all these comic books they would let me borrow which was always a real treat. On Christmas day we would go to my maternal grandparent’s house with the whole family and have a big celebration, all the kids playing in the yard. For Christmas holidays we would sometimes go to a friend’s beach house in Maraetai - East Auckland. Most weekends we would go to my aunts in Greenlane to see our second cousins who in fact is Rachel Hunter."
My Nonna's role models as a child included Mother Teresa who she really admired and really looked up to. When she was a child she used to enjoy watching the Royal Family as it was very popular back then! Everyone also used to love The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
My Nonna was the first Head Girl at Glendowie College. She then went to teaching college and became a teacher. She has loved all of her jobs working as a teacher. Most noticeably she has worked at St. Cuthberts and Diocesan College. She said, "I have always enjoyed teaching and known it was what I was meant to be doing". My Nonna was raised Presbyterian and her first husband (my grandfather) and her were very involved in the church and community when they were younger and had had my dad and my uncle, Simon. Now she still believes and is active, but not as much as she has gotten older.
My grandmother's reflection: "I am always happiest with my family. It's nice to have a close relationship with them, as we do and have. Looking at back what has change over the years, I know there used to be not as many female role models. Marie Curie was one but there were barely any academic or political female role models. Now, our gender is definitely more respected. It used to be that you could either go to teaching college or university and there wasn’t much option for women. I’m glad that now my grandchildren can live in a different era." She encourages us and all her children and grandchildren to always do their best.