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Acacia (Cassie) Barley was born on the 24 January 1886 at Warkworth, one of two daughters of the Rev Charles Edward and Mary Ann Barley nee King. Her father, a Methodist minister died when Cassie was three, six months after the family's arrival in Hawera.  As there were no relatives in New Zealand, Mary decided to remain in Hawera and lived with her daughter Cassie.


On the 5 September 1910 Cassie married Leonard Saywell Tarrant at the Wesley Church, Hawera and their marriage united a common love of music as he was a very keen member of the male choir and in later years was a key figure in organising the initial Hawera Competitions. Cassie worked as a music teacher, achieving many successes over the years, and was also organist at the Wesley Church for nine years.


The death of her husband after only ten years of marriage left Cassie with two young sons, who with thanks to her determination and hard work, were educated at New Plymouth Boys High School and eventually both had  successful careers as accountants.


In the early 1950's she retired from music teaching and channelled her talents into other fields.  She was a keen member of the Turitown (now Hawera) Country Women's Institute and took part in plays which were part of the 21st and golden jubilee of the institute.  Always interested in singing, Cassie became a member of the Hawera High School's adult choir under the baton of Mrs A Oakley and obtained great pleasure from their successes at the annual competition festival. One of her proudest moments was when she was asked to present the Tarrant Banner for children's chorus at one of the festivals.


A woman with a great deal of artistic ability, Cassie had a flair for flower arrangements in which she delighted, while she had a brilliant mind and enjoyed cross-word puzzles.  A keen gardener, she kept her gardens in first-class order.


One of her grandchildren is the talented principal of the Deirdre Tarrant dancing school of Lower Hutt.


Cassie Tarrant died on the 4 August 1976 and is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



Obituary "Hawera Star" 11 Aug 1976