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Rel Raine was born in Nelson on the 1 May 1894, the only daughter of Cyril Norman and Alice Maude Raine.  Cyril was a bank officer and was transferred to Manaia as manager of the Bank of New Zealand in 1899, and later to the Hawera branch in 1906.


Part of Armorel's primary schooling was done at Manaia School where one of her last public appearances before her death, was to cut the cake at the schools jubilee celebrations.  She then went to Hawera Main and later as was the fashion at the time, boarded at Wanganui Girls College.  Her father was then transferred to Wanganui.


Cyril could not bear the thought of his only daughter becoming a "blue stocking" so Rel was sent to Dunedin to train as a Karitane Nurse with Dr Truby King, and this in later years stirred her work for the Plunket Society.


In 1917 she married Lieutenant Bruce Langdon Joll at Trentham Military Camp.  Bruce was the son of Thomas Langdon Joll (of dairy factory fame) and Louisa nee Newsham.  As a wedding present, his mother built them the house on the corner of Princes Street and South Road (now Dr Walton's).  When she died, the family moved into her old home at 12 Princes Street.


Rel became a foundation member of the Hawera Women's Club, and also the Hawera Operatic Society.  Theatre was her first love, drama and music, and she had a strong true voice.


During the depression, times were tough so the house at Princes Street was let and the family moved to the farm at Rama Road. Rel developed an interest in farming and worked like a navvy at hay making time, driving the truck, working the grab for the hay stack, and  became much in demand by the neighbours.  When war was declared Rel joined the Red Cross group at the women's club, and made papier-mache splints, and packed food and clothing parcels for the war effort.


Bruce died suddenly in 1945, and with the children off her hands, Rel began breeding pedigree jersey cows and travelling overseas.  In 1958 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Horticulture, and in 1954 when the Queen visited Hawera, she was in charge of the decorations, including the flowers at the railway station.  She also became a provincial Guide Commissioner for South Taranaki.  Being always interested in young people, she found this very rewarding.






When Fred Finer (the mayor) asked her to stand for the borough council, she decided that it was something that she could do, as well as being a challenge, she would find it rewarding.  She became the first woman to hold office as a Hawera Borough Councillor in 1953, and was there until 1959.  She was appointed to the library committee from 1953 to 1959, the finance committee from 1953 to 1956, and the parks and reserves committee.


Rel was also elected to the Hawera Hospital Board and was instrumental in starting the Meals-on-Wheels service.  It seems poetic justice as she used this service herself in later years.  Rel was a very careful person where money was concerned, and would not tolerate waste. She was a very vibrant dominant person, and could show that woman can be a voice and the leader in any walk of life.


Armorel Joll died at Auckland on the 29 April 1990.



Rosemary Johnstone, Auckland (daughter)