Maud Ruby Taylor was born on the 30 August 1879 in London, the daughter of Robert and Eliza
Taylor.She was always known as Daisy.
In 1891, the widowed Eliza Taylor was
persuaded to emigrate to New Zealand where her son Albert has already
settled.On the 31 August 1891, the SS Rimutaka
berthed at Wellington, and Eliza and her three daughters
disembarked.The family settled in New
Plymouth where Daisy attended NewPlymouthCentralSchool and NewPlymouthHigh School and in due course qualified as a
schoolteacher.She joined the choir d St
Mary’s Anglican Church and took singing lessons.She was an extrovert and there were plenty of
outlets for her talents – singing, reciting at concerts acting in plays,
debating in the Mutual Improvement Society, and living the “gay nineties” life
of a colonial town.
Her teaching training finished, Daisy was
given charge of the WareaSchool, near Opunake
with 42 pupils ranging from Primer One to Standard Six.Back in New Plymouth, Daisy met Frederick
Basham, who at that time was the assistant to the New Plymouth borough
engineer.Later he was appointed
Hawera’s county engineer and on the 4 June 1904, the 24 year old Maude Ruby
Taylor was married to 35 year old Frederick Basham at St Mary’s Anglican
Church, Hawera.The wedding was held
soon after because the groom was due at a
council meeting at .
Their first baby, Frederick was born on the 3 October 1905, Nurse Gomer assisting.The Basham’s then moved to Eltham, where
Daisy bore her next two children, Geoffrey and Barbara, while her husband, as
county engineer, built the country’s first strip of tar-sealed road.
At Hawera, and later Eltham, Waipukurau and the Hauraki
Plains, Daisy took pupils for music and singing.She performed in concerts in and out of these
towns.In the early 1920s, while on a
singing engagement in Wellington, she was invited to take part in
a broadcasting experiment and sang “Il Baccio” into a
horn, somewhat reminiscent of the HMV dog.Towards the end of that decade, while living on the Hauraki
Plains she was writing and broadcasting programmes for 1YA Auckland on the
lives of composers, illustrated with songs and duets.When “Cinderella” of the children’s session
went on holiday, Daisy was invited to take over and she became “Aunt
Daisy”.This was followed by an
eighteen-month engagement at 2YA Wellington, where she continued as a popular
“aunt” for the children’s programmes, as well as arranging classical
In 1933, Daisy started the morning session at
1ZB Auckland with her cheery “Good morning everybody”
which later became her well-known and often parodied greeting.In 1937 Aunt Daisy moved to Wellington, the head office of the new
nationwide commercial network.All New Zealand now heard her daily programme,
until two weeks before her death.
Daisy was awarded the MBE in 1956 for her
services to radio, an honour for one who loved New Zealand and wouldn’t live anywhere else.
Aunt Daisy died on the 14 July 1963 at Wellington.