Ballentynes fashion parade held mid September, was better than in other years, the clothing more suited to women in their later years such as us of WI, I thought.


The highlight of the day for most was a show and tell presentation by a lady who had been the wardrobe mistress for the RNZ Ballet Company for 35 years.  Bev Williams and Alison Underhill have been friends since young, and because of that Alison brought a marvellous collection of costumes she’d made or had her machinists make, over the years.  She had mostly children’s costumes, with lots of clever improvisations to enable different sized children to fit them.  She also had the black and white swans’ tutus from Swan Lake.  And frock coats made for Capt Hook and Dr Coppelius, character parts taken by one of our better known ballet dancers, Jon Trimmer.  It was such a revelation and I along with others, was entranced.


There was a general election in NZ last Saturday, 20th,  and as the 121st anniversary of women’s suffrage in NZ fell on the 19th, the local NCW  (National Council of Women) invited women to come along and vote on that auspicious date.  Men could too of course, so Hugh took Margaret and me along to Te Manawa  (the Heart) where the polling area was set up. 


We thought there might be a brief ceremony to mark the occasion and the suggested time was 11am. It was quite amusing really as we went in expectation of something of that nature, but in the area where these ladies congregated, there were a few of them blowing up silver balloons and tying a silver ribbon to each one.  So Margaret and I were given a balloon, also a sticker saying ‘I have voted’. Just a little anti climax which we chuckled about.  It really was a nice thing they did.


I was telling one of the ladies there who happens to be a city councillor of the pleasure our WI had in 1993 to mark the 100th anniversary. The Institutes set up a parade of wedding gowns through the century in the atrium of the Plaza, the big shopping complex in town, they were many and varied, from Victorian to present day.  My own dress of chantilly lace was displayed on a mannequin.  


We also based our A&P Show Court around the suffrage theme, with the foremothers who brought ‘votes for women’ into being, and the present day women of the time, still working for the good of all.  I have some of the material we used in the Court, (stored in the loft here) which this lady suggested could be put in the Archives.  It might be of interest in future years, and would reduce our loft’s contents by a fraction!