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In May 1926, Lady Marjorie Dalrymple came to Hawera to start the Girl Guiding movement.


The first Brownie leader was Dorothy Corrigan (Atmore). Her Brownie pack started with an attendance of 16 girls.  Within a few weeks, 90 girls were attending and Miss Edna Free and Miss Sylvia Lysaght were called in as assistant leaders.


Mrs Olive Henderson started the first girl guide company with 20 girls who met in the Scout Hall (beside the RSA).  Soon too many girls were coming to be comfortable in one company so another, under Miss Ada Ballantine, assisted by Miss Patricia Lennon and Miss Edna Hawken, was formed.  As the need arose further companies were opened until by 1930 there were four in operation.  Other early Guide captains in Hawera were Miss Isobel Stewart, Miss Bessie Young, Miss Grace Death and Miss Dorothy Clement;  Manaia Miss Beryl Bridge; Opunake Miss M Cook; Alton Miss Alice Gibbs; Patea Mrs T A Prescott; and Kaponga Miss I Melville.  Mrs F C King was an early district captain.


Mrs P McKenzie was an early Ranger leader, with Mrs Freda Barber having been the original Ranger captain.


Mrs Ellen Winifred Millicent Houston (1st wife of John Houston the lawyer) was the 1st Divisional Commissioner.  During 1927, she was also acting Provincial Commissioner whilst the incumbent was overseas.  Much of the success of Guiding in South Taranaki for more than a decade is directly attributable to Winifred's efforts.  In the 1930s she had a monthly column in the Hawera Star on Guiding in the South Taranaki district. Mrs Ruth Hawken was an early commissioner at Patea, later becoming Mrs Ruth Rutherford and serving as Division Commissioner for the Stratford area and later as Taranaki Provincial Commissioner.


The 1927 annual report recorded that "good progress had been made and now we have 14 companies and packs with 368 girls (Rangers, guides and brownies) and 33 guiders."


By 1930, the annual report quoted Mrs Houston thus: "Hawera Rangers sat for and obtained the Child Nurse Badge without any of their number failing.  Nurse Dix, the examiner, remarked that the work was of a very high standard and complimented the company on its interest and efficiency.  The most popular badges were cook, laundress, homemaker and needlewoman, however many guides also obtained their pioneer badges, one passed naturalist and a good number have the swimmers badge, all of this pointing to the fact that South Taranaki girls have a love of out-of-doors pursuits.  An Alton guide entered sewing in the Lady Alice Fergusson Cup (a national Guiding competition) and a Hawera guide entered a knitted article."



In 1937, Hawera guides took part in a New Zealand wide presentation for the coronation of  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.  A message of loyalty in the form of an illuminated map of New Zealand on lamb skin, with a message in Maori, was carried right around  New Zealand by many different methods.  The gift passed through Hawera in April 1937.  Guide Kathleen Wren carried it by bicycle then handed it to another guide, Frances Fyfe, who carried it further on her horse.


During World War II Guides joined in a national effort to make camouflage nets.  It was a tedious job involving untangling large bundles of cut twine in various lengths, then knotting the lengths together before making the nets.  Guides also gathered rosehips and ergot, collected clothes for refugees and clean rags for the services.  They knitted garments of homespun wool for the men of the merchant navy.


In 1944 the Guides and Brownies joined with the Cubs and Scouts to celebrate 21 years of guiding in New Zealand.  They gathered in Caplen's paddock (in Caplen Street) and lit a camp-fire shaped like a trefoil as a symbol of continuing light of Guiding in New Zealand.


In 1926 to gain the ambulance badge, a guide had to know the names and positions of the principal bones of the body, know the difference between arterial, venous and capillary bleeding and how to treat each, as well as eight other clauses.


For the electrician's badge she had to be able to make a simple electro-magnet, repair a broken electric connection and pass five other clauses.  Among other things for the health badge, she had to know the dangers of unhealthy diet, intemperance, wet feet, breathing through the mouth, stooping, irregular habits, reading in bad light and excess in any form.