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BETTS, RACHEL FLORENCE WARD (FLOSSIE)

 

Flossie Betts was born on the 28 August 1862 at Tonbridge in the south of England, the daughter of Henry and Charlotte Dorcus Betts nee Rodell.

 

In 1873, at the age of eleven, Flossie and her family sailed for New Zealand on the Rakaia landing at Lyttelton and settling at Rangiora.  In 1883, the Betts family of Flossie, her five brothers and their parents came to Okaiawa where the property that became known as “Hollybank” on the Normanby Road had been purchased.

 

No community effort in Okaiawa district had gone unaided by Flossie who was a willing helper in the raising of funds for the Okaiawa Town Hall.  During World War One, she was a member of the Okaiawa Patriotic Committee and in the 1918 influenza epidemic; she worked tirelessly, with others, in the nursing coverage of a wide district to assist those who had been stricken.  In acknowledgement of her efforts, Flossie received from the Government a certificate of thanks for service rendered in a voluntary capacity.  She was largely responsible in the raising of funds for the establishment of the Manaia Presbyterian Church.

 

Fond of music, Flossie was also an instrumentalist favouring the violin which she played in association with her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Jane Betts nee Lees (piano) and Miss Maud Putt as an orchestra, the services of which were in frequent demand for concerts and dances.  The players always performed without though of making a charge.

 

In later years Flossie laid her violin aside to tend to her garden as recreation.  Hollybank” was once the venue of garden parties for many Hawera people when Okaiawa had a WDFF branch and the Hawera Municipal Band played at the foot of sloping lawns.

 

Rachel Florence Ward Betts died on the 16 December 1959 at New Plymouth aged 97 years and is buried at the Okaiawa cemetery.

 

SOURCE

Interview 91st birthday “Hawera Star” 27 Aug 1953

 

 

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