2 Minutes with ...


Dawn Jamieson has had her name put forward for a Tawa Community Civic Award on two occasions (so far). The wording on her original nomination read: "Always doing things for other people, helping run children's programmes, childminding, organising the church garage sale, etc." She is one of those people who keeps herself more than busy in her retirement years, working with both younger people as well as being there to assist the not-so-young.

Although she's endeavouring to "wind down" a little (with limited success), when the chips are down and there's a shortage of volunteers for a given project, you're more than likely to find Dawn putting her hand up and in the thick of the action. The Tawa Community Civic Awards were set up for the very reason of thanking "unsung heroes" like she is.

Where were you born, Dawn?

Where did you grow up?
"It was all split." Went to Christchurch when I was 3. Came back to Wellington when I was 7. Lived in a little terrace off The Terrace. It's not there now. It went with [the construction of] the motorway. Went to Kelburn School when I was there. Shifted to Tawa when I was 13. We lived in Cambridge St where the Tawa Community Centre hall (the old ANZ bank) is now. Lived there till I got married when I was 23. "I never went flatting. You didn't go flatting then."

Where were you educated?
Went by train to Wellington Girls'. Steam trains they were. We heard the whistle at Linden and we knew we could get to the train in time. There wasn't any [overhead] bridge then [at Tawa Station]. We had to cross the lines.

What is your line of work?
I worked in the ANZ bank in Wellington when I first left school. Only had two jobs before I was married. In my next job I met John [future husband]. He employed me as an accounts clerk at Arnold & Wright (electrical people). Before retiring in 1998 I was the office manager at the Bible Society in Wellington for 20 years.

What about family?
I was married to John for 49 years and 9 months. 2 daughters, 1 son and 6 grandchildren.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I like crafts; exercise - going to the pool. I walk, I read. Gardening. Working with young people - my R.E. work [teaching a Religious Education class at Greenacres School]; Sunday morning intermediate-age group. Elderly friends that I look after. "I seem to be accumulating a few." I like my [Tawa Baptist] church group.

How long have you lived in Tawa?
Since 1947. When we first got married we lived in Ngaio for five years. Lived in St Johns Tce (Tawa) for 43 years. I've been at Redwood Village for the last six years.

What do you think is great about Tawa?
"I think it's a very nice town, like a village, and close to Wellington. A bit like being in the country, with the hills and the animals around. Also the amenities, because Tawa's got everything really, and transport's good."

What, if anything, would improve Tawa?
Tawa has most things but, for sportspeople, if we can get that [artificial] turf, that would be good.

What is your favourite dessert?
For being a diabetic who doesn't eat many desserts, what can I say? [After a pause ...] apple crumble.

Favourite sports team and/or sportsperson?
I like lots of sports teams. Probably the Hurricanes. I'm also a very good watcher of the Silver Ferns. "But as I don't have Sky, I don't see a lot of sports now." I do take an interest. I was very involved in sports like athletics until I got married but then didn't have enough time to train. Also netball (called basketball then), tennis and table tennis - "used to dabble."

Favourite musical group or style of music?
I like lots of styles - classical, jazz, and some modern music. [At this point she showed me a DVD of the V8 Vocal Ensemble based in Auckland - Ed.] "Their singing is beautiful, and their harmony."

Favourite holiday destination in New Zealand?
I used to like going to Papamoa. "John and I used to camp there." Lovely long beaches to walk on. You could walk up to Mt Maunganui if you wanted to. "We used to do a lot of long walks on the beaches."

Favourite quote(s) or saying(s)?
Life is a tapestry. We are the warp; angels, the weft; God, the Weaver. Only the Weaver sees the whole design.

If you could meet any two or three people (alive or dead), who would they be?
Mother Teresa; Billy Graham (the preacher); C S Lewis.

What three things would you take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
One would be my Bible. Also a large bottle of water and my sunscreen.

What is one talent you would like that you do not have?
I'd love to have been able to play the piano. I learnt for one year when I was 15. My mother sent me to the convent, St Mary's it was. All I learnt was scales and from an exercise book. The next year I managed to persuade my mother to stop. My mother was a music teacher but she wouldn't teach me.

What are one or two talents you have that you could not do without?
I think perhaps my caring [nature] and my ability to talk to people, young and old. And I was very good at embroidery and smocking, but my hands don't allow me to do those now.

What accomplishments/achievements in your life give you much satisfaction/pride?
Getting married and having a family.
Being able to serve God in whatever I am guided to do.
Working with young people for 58 years from when I first became a Girls' Brigade officer at age 18. I was an officer for 35 years, all in Tawa. I started in the 1st Tawa company in what was the Methodist Church and became a lieutenant there, then the captain. Shifted to the Baptist Church in 1963 as captain. I was District Commissioner [for Girls' Brigade] for six years.
Through most of the years I taught Sunday School, from little ones up to intermediate- age, also third formers. Involved with Club Intermed (intermediate-age youth group) for 10 or 11 years.

What are one or two things you would like to do before you die?
Keep well enough to do things with younger people.
To see my grandchildren grow up.

Compiled March 2011.

Other Tawa people