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Twenty years of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace


NEWS
Filed by Jack Yan/October 16, 2008/13.05


On Tuesday, I had the pleasure to attend the 20th anniversary of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, officially in the capacity of the publisher of this magazine but also as a political candidate in the next General Election.
   US ambassador Bill McCormick and his wife Gail were among the diplomatic guests. I didn’t recognize the others; the Ambassador and I had corresponded in the past, so it was fairly easy to identify him.
   We didn’t chat about politics. Most of our conversation revolved around sea life, the patrolling of exclusive economic zones around certain Pacific islands, the over-fishing by Mediterranean fishermen who come to the Pacific, knowing they would not be easily caught. He is passionate about the cause and advocates the US helping preserve many species.
   The McCormicks will return to the US at the end of the year.
   Actress Pat Evison (Close to Home, The Flying Doctors) was there with her husband, and I remarked to her that the last time I saw her on regular prime-time television was a guest role on Shark in the Park, with Jeffrey Thomas.
   Mrs Evison recalled her role but said that her hearing was not as good as it once was, but it was clear that there was not a thing wrong with her memory.
   It is important to acknowledge the work of Oroyo Day, the founder president of the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society, who was present at the event. She was the driving force for the restoration that saw the Birthplace open as a historical home in 1988.
   I’d encourage all who visit Wellington and Wellingtonians themselves to visit the Birthplace. This year marked my first visit there, and I have been hitting myself for not having gone there earlier.
   While the Material Mansfield exhibition has been and gone, the house has fascinating displays, especially the photographs on the walls.
   The feeling that one is walking around in the home of New Zealand’s most famous author is humbling.

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