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CHRISTIE, DOROTHY MAY nee SAGE

 

Dorothy May Sage was born in Los Angeles, California on the 15 December 1901, the daughter of Robert Scott and Edith Jane Sage nee Missen. Robert Sage and his wife were born in New Zealand but took up residence in Los Angeles for four years before going to Central America for six years, two years on missionary work for the Brethren Church and four years managing a coffee plantation.  The family then returned to New Zealand and took up residence in Hawera about 1910.

 

Dorothy attended Hawera Main and Hawera High Schools before training as a nurse, starting at what is now Ngahuru, and then was one of the students who made the change to the new Hawera Hospital on Hunter Street when it opened in 1927. She also became a deaconess in the Presbyterian Church.  In 1929, Dorothy went to India to serve in the Christian Hospital, Jagadhri as a missionary of the Presbyterian Bible Class Movement, and worked there until 1932 when she married Scotsman and fellow missionary Jack Christie.

 

After their marriage Dorrie and Jack worked for the British Churches of Christ in Bihar and in Madhya Pradesh.  For Dorrie this meant providing medical care and acting as a midwife in isolated, difficult territory without the back-up of any established hospital or doctor. Transport was by bicycle.

 

In 1952 Jack had to organise a conference of medical people to devise a plan for health services to the area.  He had to get supplies of food and there was strict rationing.  Grain could not be carried across state borders without a permit and Jack had to get it from Madhya Pradesh.  He applied for a permit for rice and was told by the official concerned that he had issued the permit which Jack could pick up later, but that in the meantime Jack could go ahead transporting the rice.  He did this and was going on foot past the check-post with a coolie carrying the rice when both were caught, beaten and arrested for illegally transporting rice across the border.  It was a trap set for them by a crooked official.  That State was well known for its opposition to Christian work.  It was a time of great stress for the Christie's and after three years of litigation and continuous tension, Jack was sentenced in April 1955 to two terms of four months hard labour.  Finally it was only on the intervention of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, a Christian woman Cabinet Minister of the central government of India, that Jack was acquitted in 1956.

 

After their return to New Zealand, Dorrie was actively involved in Nelson, Dunedin and Onehunga where Jack was serving the Leprosy Mission.  Both were also active members of the Ludhiana NZ Fellowship. Dorothy May Christie died on the 21 February 1991 aged 89 years at Auckland.

 

SOURCES

Sister Lorna Aberley (friend) Rev David Sage (brother)

Obituary Robert Sage "Hawera Star"