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Mabel Clement was born at Okaiawa on the 21 February 1892, the fifth of nine children of Robert Hopton and Elizabeth Clement nee Hudson.  Mabel went to school at Okaiawa and Kapuni, and after she left in 1912,  the family moved to their own farm at Boylan Road, Normanby (still in the family). Here she assisted her father and younger sisters hand milk the cows, and do other farm work.


Mabel was the organist of the Normanby Methodist Church, and often accompanied her father, who was a lay preacher,  to Kaponga, Manaia, Hawera or Okaiawa when he led a service.  They went by horse and gig in all weathers.  She did this until she married Edward Thomas, of Llangwahafel, Wales on the 28 July 1915 at her parents residence.


Mabel and Edward first farmed at Ball Road, Kakaramea and then McLean Road at Okaiawa, Mabel assisting with all milking's and farm duties again.  In 1921, they moved to a farm on Ahipaipa Road, Okaiawa and tragically in 1933, Edward was killed in a tree felling accident, leaving Mabel with a family of eight children, the two youngest being twins of seven months.  In 1938, she took a big step and in partnership with her eldest son, purchased a farm on Manaia Road which is still in the family. 


Mabel was dedicated to her church, and each Sunday the family attended both morning and evening service.  She was a member of the Methodist Women's Guild and helped raise funds for the church and parsonage.  Mabel was also a foundation member of the Manaia Women's Division of Federated Farmers, and was later honoured with life membership.


Mabel Thomas died on the 18 November 1968 at Manaia and is buried at the Okaiawa cemetery.



Ted Thomas, Manaia (son)