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FEAVER, HELENA MARY (NELL)

 

Helena Mary Feaver was born on 13 December 1880 at Hastings, Sussex, the third child of John Feaver and Kate nee Russell.  She came to Opunake with her parents in 1895 at the age of fifteen.

 

Nell soon became involved with life in Opunake and hers was one of the first confirmations held at the newly opened St Barnabas Church.  She was also involved with the choir and Sunday School.  A water colour of the interior of the church, painted by Nell in 1914, still hangs on the church wall.

 

She had a special talent for painting and drawing, using water colour, pastels or Indian ink, as her medium.  Her love of the sea is reflected in her many works of this subject, but she was also fond of illustrating excerpts from classical literature and poems.  Many of her works were exhibited in the Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington, and also in the Tate Gallery in London.  She was also actively associated with the Opunake tennis and golf clubs, being a keen player in both.  Mountaineering was one of her enthusiasms, and she climbed Mt Egmont many times, as well as making expeditions to Mt Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe.  Another of her interests was the Girl Guide and Brownie movement, which she helped to establish in Opunake.  Astronomy was yet another interest and she owned a telescope which she enjoyed using to instruct others.

 

In 1927-28, Nell and her widowed father went on a trip to England to visit relatives whom they had not seen for over thirty years.  Many paintings were done at this time of old castles, cathedrals and villages, and Nell had considerable success in selling them to art galleries and at art shows.

 

Nell died on 8 March 1931 in New Plymouth aged 49, and is buried at Opunake.

 

Nell's older sister Margaret Warren Feaver was a frequent exhibitor in fine art displays - she painted chiefly in oils although she sometimes exhibited water colours, black and white and chalk work.  Her subjects were for the most part landscape and classical.  Magazines in both Australia and England regularly featured short stories by Maggie.  She was also deeply interested in Maori lore and mythology.  Margaret married Stanley Hamilton Stronge in 1907 at Opunake, and died in 1934.

 

SOURCES

Feaver Family Reunion Booklet