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Elizabeth Coutts was born at Aberdeen, Scotland about 1859 and came to New Zealand with her parents when five years of age.  The family spent two years in the South Island where her father was drowned crossing the Waimakariri River.  Elizabeth then came to South Taranaki with David Coutts, a relation, and married Edwin Payne on the 19 June 1878 at Patea.


Edwin was one of the first flour millers in South Taranaki, his plant being situated at Kakaramea.  Elizabeth and Edwin resided there for 37 years before coming to Hawera to live more or less in retirement. Edwin then became Chairman of the Hawera Electric Light Company, who owned and operated the power station on the Waingongoro River near Normanby.  The Payne's lived at 64 Collins Street.


Elizabeth described her life as one of three phases.  At 30 she began a noteworthy tennis career, at 40 she took to wood carving and roller skating, and at 70 first drove a motor car and started on pewter work.  She professed to a liking for golf, and was the first woman member of the Hawera Golf Club to do a hole in one on "Moses" at the Fairfield course.


Elizabeth won the Wellington Lawn Tennis Association's women's singles championship in the 1900-1 and 1901-2 seasons.  She was then over 40 years old and for 20 years was top woman for the Patea club and for five years played for Taranaki.  At the age of 57, she competed against much younger women and won a tennis handicap event at Hawera.


Horse riding was another accomplishment and she rode many times at the Egmont A & P Associations summer shows and in many hunt club meets riding side saddle.  An injury as a result of which she was permanently lamed occurred while she was roller skating at the age of 45 years.


She was possibly the oldest women in New Zealand with a license to drive a motor car when she was first examined for her driving license at the age of 71 years, this considered a record for man or woman at the time.  Elizabeth purchased a Baby Austin and she drove Edwin, her husband all over the North Island in it on touring holidays.  One night upon visiting her daughter Ada Jones at Hurleyville she had a minor accident, which upset her greatly, and she died six days later on the 30 September 1945 at Patea Hospital at the age of 86 years. Elizabeth is buried at the Patea cemetery. 



Obituary "Hawera Star" 1 Oct 1945

E A Jones, Eltham (son)