YEARBURY, BETTY DOROTHY
Betty Yearbury was born in Hawera on 26 January 1919, the daughter of Edward Joseph
and Elizabeth Malloch Yearbury
After leaving school, Betty began working for Mrs Gray at the Carlton Tea Rooms and stayed there until
she left to become a Methodist Deaconess.
Betty’s commitment to work in the Methodist
Church and the Maori Mission began
when aged 17, she used to cycle out to Taiporohenui Marae to take Sunday School and
Bible Class. Sister Anne Wilson encouraged her in this work and later challenged Betty
to work at Kurahuna Hostel where they needed an
assistant matron. She had been working
for twelve years altogether when she entered Deaconess House at the age of 27,
and settling down to study was not easy.
Voice production classes, with preliminary gargle and breathing
exercises, she found entertaining and moderately useful, and she regretted that
introductory lesson in Maori only lasted one term. She did not master the Maori language,
working on the understanding at the time that it was more important to know the
heart of the people.
Her first appointment was to Rangiatea Maori
and then in 1951, to the district work she loved, based at Opunake. Learning to drive a car (on the beach at New
Plymouth and in an evacuated cow paddock) was essential, as her district
encircled Mt Egmont.
Here, and in her later appointments in the King Country and back on home
ground, at Hawera, her work with the young was helped by the influence of
strong Maori women.
Betty’s ministry was deeply pastoral, she knew each family
in her care well, visiting them in their homes and spending many occasions at
the local marae, particularly when there was a tangi.
Betty Yearbury died on the 3 September 1991 at Rotorua. Warm
tributes were paid by Maori, Pakeha and Tongan
Betty had a sister, Peggy Tregonning
Yearbury, who was born at Hawera on the 5th June 1916. She became secretary at the Hawera Dairy
Company office in Scott Street,
Hawera for 10 or 12 years. In the 1950s
she worked as a secretary for the Methodist Youth Office in Wellington,
and as part of her work did a great deal of background preparation for annual
Methodist youth conferences. She was
also secretary for the National Council of Churches in Christchurch,
and worked for UNICEF in Wellington. Peggy married Rev George Goodman late in life
and died in Rotorua in 1979.
Wanganui Conference 1991 Methodist Church
Out of the Silence –
Methodist Women of Aotearoa 1822-1985 by Ruth Fry