Around 80 family and friends gathered on March 17 to celebrate the life of Anne Taylerson – a stalwart of the Warkworth Music Society, Warkworth Floral Art Club and the Warkworth Wellsford Budget Service.
Anne died peacefully at her home earlier this month. She was 81.
Anne grew up in Taihape and Kaikohe and later trained as a nurse at Whangarei Hospital.
An early adventure was travelling to England by ship with two nursing friends – an overseas experience that saw her travel all over Europe between stints of nursing and other fill-in jobs.
She returned to New Zealand in 1964 but soon afterwards joined the Australian Inland Mission, run by the Presbyterian Church, and was assigned to a small isolated hospital and children’s hostel on the Cape York peninsula.
There she learned to bake bread on a wood burning stove, recognise cuts of beef on a still warm carcass, eke out a dwindling water supply in the dry season and organise birthday parties for 60 or more children at a time.
She returned to New Zealand in 1970 – a journey that involved Anne and her sister Olwyn driving across Australia’s Nullarbor Plain in a car with a cracked radiator. The women drove at night in order to keep the car and themselves as cool as possible and kept hoping they would reach water again before they ran out.
Upon her return, Anne became a coronary care staff nurse at Greenlane Hospital. She went on study at the School of Advanced nursing in Wellington and later became a nursing tutor.
She married Peter in 1990, which opened the door to further adventures. On their honeymoon, the couple tramped around Lake Waikaremoana and numerous other journeys were completed via kayak, bicycle and barge.
Recalling their many travels together, Peter said, “I will miss her terribly”.
On retirement, Anne and Peter moved to Warkworth in 2003. Anne joined her sister Hueline Massey as a budget adviser with the Warkworth Wellsford Budget Service, a post she held for 19 years.
Hueline said Anne’s organisational skills, initiative and desire to help those struggling financially made her a perfect fit for the role.
“It was so good to have someone close who understood the work we were doing and to help solve some very difficult scenarios”, she said.
Anne was equally valued as a committee member of the Warkworth Music Society, which she served for more than 18 years. In a statement, Warkworth Music said Anne was a tireless member who helped arrange many wonderful concerts. She was a welcoming presence on the reception desk, which she always decorated with flowers from her garden.
“She was a friend and mentor to many of us and our thoughts are with her husband Peter and her family at this time,” the society said.
Another tribute came from Betty Trewin, a life member of the Warkworth Floral Art Club.
Betty said Anne was not only a president of the Warkworth club, she also held the post of treasurer for the Auckland area, which greatly raised the profile of Warkworth floral art.
She said Anne, who had inherited her love of flowers from her mother, was involved and determined to the very end. Even though desperately sick, she succeeded in entering a Design of the Year competition last year and managed to secure third place.
Betty said Anne was just as keen to see others succeed, always encouraging new members to enter competitions and supporting their efforts.
“She was unselfish – always thinking of others. With a kind word she taught us to be compassionate,” she said.