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Simply irresistible love of
life and music plays on
By ANNA PRICE
IN TUNE: Nancy Meherne works with Te Aroha HeiHei and Tamara Foroti on the recorder in
her music class at Bamford School.
CHILDREN ARE never late for Nancy
The 84-year-old free spirit has an
unquenchable passion for music -- so
much so, she insists deaf children share
the joy with the melodica, through vibra-
tions, rhythms and her expressive dance.
The Sumner grandmother teaches a
range of instruments including the auto-
harp ( it's easier than the guitar'') to
fledgling talent at Bamford School,
There is the recorder group, piano
group, percussion, xylophone and ukulele
groups and harmonica lessons.
The kids just adore her. They're never
late to her classes. She's like a gran to
them,'' Bamford principal Colin Ham-
Mrs Meherne laments the fact that
some schools have expensive musical
instruments unused, while others need
them but cannot access them.
There are many gifted and talented
young children in the east who are not
getting the benefit of an instrument and
they really rely on schools for tuition.''
This was not made easier by a lack of
interest in some homes.
She disdains the trend to teach in
Education has this weird idea to com-
partmentalise -- five weeks of art, five
weeks music, and some miss out com-
pletely. Music and creative arts should
run through school life, and not be com-
partmentalised,'' she said.
Raised in Ohakune, Nancy moved with
her family to Wanganui where she learnt
piano and then recorder.
She completed early childhood edu-
cation training before going on her OE.
Her travels took her to Bedales School
in England -- which shunned conformity
in favour of individuality, initiative and
an inquiring mind.
In Holland she stayed with the head of
the school to the Dutch princesses. In
Denmark for a high school conference in
music and dance, she visited a kindergar-
ten which served raw food and raw oat-
meal in the harshest winter -- the only
place where no-one succumbed to the
With a friend, she travelled through
Europe, Greece and Lebanon and on
In Lebanon, the New Zealand flag on
her backpack attracted locals.
Kiwi, Kiwi' they would say -- these
men came up and said how much they
liked our soldiers.
They showed us where to get
food and where to get a bus to
Damascus . . .''
They boarded a cheap bus to
Syria -- just two girls and three
old local ladies in a bus full of men going
to the oilfields. One man spoke English.
He became our friend.
We got to the edge of the desert just as
darkness descended suddenly. Just
before we got out our bread and oil, he
came up and offered us an onion. They
were wonderful to us.''
She met her English-born husband
Doug on her return to New Zealand.
Coincidentally, he had sailed into New
Zealand the day she sailed out.
Both later left for Pakistan for three
months' voluntary service for the inter-
national peace movement.
On return, she taught here using ideas
gleaned from Europe's avant-gard
Mrs Meherne has no plans to quit.
Music stays with you forever. It
should be a part of every curriculum.''
Pair will have time
with Dalai Lama
FROM Page 1
freedom of speech,'' Mr Thutop said.
They came to New Zealand separately on Indian
passports. Mr Tsering has a Kiwi wife and has
been here eight years.
Mr Thuptop, a carpenter, came here a decade
ago to care for a family member and stayed.
Both enjoy their new freedoms.
Here you can do anything,'' Mr Thutop said.
The pair joined a programme to train people to
work on the rebuild and have enjoyed being part
of the March team for the last five weeks.
The Dalai Lama's visit is special for the pair.
They have seen him before, as part of a crowd in
India. In Christchurch they will spend 10 minutes
with him in person, as part of a group he will
It is a good opportunity,'' Mr Thutop said.
He is very busy.''
The furniture will be the first made out of 100
per cent native timbers -- a Kiwi touch -- by the
seven-strong expatriate local Tibetan community.
Eighty per cent of the work is finished, and the
pair will be working hard after their days on the
road to make sure the job is completed on time.
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