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Mary Johnstone was born at Kohi, Waverley in 1895, daughter of John and Agnes Johnstone nee McLean.  In 1922, Mary married Frederick William Finer at the Waverley Presbyterian Church, and the couple lived at Kakaramea before leaving to manage a back country property at Ohura.


Later, they moved to New Plymouth and on the outbreak of World War Two, Fred was transferred to Wairoa, and in 1941 served as a records officer in Napier and Wanganui.  Following the war, Fred and Mary started an auctioneers business in Patea, and later in Hawera.


Fred was elected Mayor of Hawera in 1953 , and as Mayoress, Mary took a great interest in many organisations and was always ready to attend meetings, socials and sports gatherings to which she was invited.  She assisted her husband in his capacity of mayor with complete devotion to her various duties and her proudest moments were Royal and Vice-Regal visits when she was a hostess as the borough's first lady.


Keenly interested in horticulture, Mary took an active part in the affairs of the Hawera Horticultural Society as an exhibitor.  Interested in band music over a number of years, she was patroness of the Hawera Pipe Band and also a member of the Hawera Women's Club.


She had a profound concern for the welfare of other people, and will be remembered for her work in the backblocks at Ohura in the days when road access was poor and there were no telephones or electricity.  She was always on hand in any emergency.  An expert bread-maker, she tended to the wants of shearing gangs, no easy task in those days.


Her unusual name, Ion, was given to her after a family friendship with two men and their sister named Ion who came from Scotland and settled in Kohi.


Mary Ion Finer died on the 15 February 1966 at Hawera and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



Obituary "Hawera Star" 15 Feb 1966