Dora Sheat was born on the 14 February 1901 at Pihama, the daughter of Joseph and Susannah Sheat nee Rose. In 1910, the family moved to Fairfield Road, Hawera to be closer to secondary education. Joseph travelled the 20 miles to the farm each day. A brother was William Alfred (Bill) Sheat, Member of Parliament for the Patea electorate from 1943 to 1957, and for the Egmont electorate from 1957 to 1966.
In 1932 Dora became travelling secretary for the Methodist Young Women's Bible Class Union. Her job invovled visiting each Bible Class District
Small and unassuming, Dora often suprised people with her dynamism. She could take a determined stand when her principles were threatened, and when, during her term of office, her conscience suggested to her that she should resign, Bible Class members in the districts she visited dissuaded her. Later when in 1942 the Rev Ormond Burton was dismissed from the ministry because he refused to stop denouncing the war from his pulpit. Dora resigned from the Methodist Church, Saying "if a Church expels a minister who believes that the Holy Love of God as shown by Jesus Christ is the centre of all good life, I can do no other than withdraw from it."
Upon the death of her father in 1948, Dora ran the old family home in Hawera as a boarding house, unitl the early 1950s when she moved to London. Here she worked in the immigration section of New Zealand House until her sister Alice died in 1967, when she returned to New Zealand.
She then worked for a number of institutions for the elderly, until she retired to live to Mangakino. There she made a lively contribution to community life, serving on virtually every committee in the town. She died in 1985.
Out of the Silence - Methodist Women of Aotearoa 1822-1985 by Ruth Fry`
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