Margaret is one of Paekākāriki’s thoroughly good souls. She grew up in Blackpool, England, and came to New Zealand with her carpenter husband at the age of 21.

Her husband expected to build wooden houses but was disappointed to find that his first job was building in concrete at Oriental Bay. The couple lived in Karehana Bay and when Margaret’s parents eventually followed them to Aotearoa they bought a little house in Ames Street, “so we ended up living here.”

From the first Margaret was involved in the community — especially activities of St Peter’s church. She was a teacher, taught Sunday school downstairs in the hall, was Akela with the Cubs and still does “everything to do with the church.” Attendance is fewer now, although it’s not long since there were five churches in Paekākāriki. The church Hall was always used by the wider community and Margaret supported the generous move to virtually gift it to the community. Then she could be found helping stall holders and welcoming visitors to the monthly market.

Margaret’s husband was well known as a local carpenter. He was older than her and died aged 80.

Margaret may be slowing down a little but can still be found in church activities, walking dogs in Queen Elizabeth park or quietly lending a hand where it is needed.

“Paekākāriki is a wonderful place,” she says. “There’s no place like it.”