Home' Rangitikei Mail : February 16th 2012 Contents Phone: 06 327-8671 Fax: 06 327-6879 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Delivery problems? Phone 06 350-9547
Thursday, February 16, 2012
RURAL TIMBER &
Your Shed Specialists
Fencing & Outdoor Specials
SEE YOU AT THE FIELD DAYS FOR OUR
DISCOUNTED PRICES SITE K17
FEILDING, 11 Eyre Street, Ph 323 3400 MARTON, 40 Racecourse Ave, Ph 327 5458
Living life to
the full and
By LAURA WALTERS
Spice of life:
81, is winding
down after a
life full of
I just take life as it comes.
There's not much I haven't had a
I must have been hyperactive
Betty Walker sits at the table
in her Marton home.
room, which she built herself, is
part of a downstairs extension that
reveals the tale of her life.
The 81-year-old tells her almost
unbelievable stories in a no-fuss
way, pointing to photos and books
that she calls memory joggers'', to
prove all the episodes in her jam-
packed life really did take place.
All the while she puffs away on a
cigarette to keep relaxed, despite
her doctor's warnings.
Betty Walker has tried her hand
at most things, both regular and
unconventional, in her 81 years.
From teaching music to running a
scrap metal dealership, to training
race horses, and driving stock cars,
Betty's kept herself busy.
I just take life as it comes,'' she
There's not much I haven't had a
crackat. . .
I must have been hyperactive or
Betty was born in Taranaki, and
moved to Marton in 1952.
When she was young she trained
and owned race horses which just
about led her to meeting the Queen
Mother when she visited New Zea-
It was called the Te Rapa Royal
Meeting.I heard the Queen Mother
would be presenting the trophy so I
thought that's it, I'm going to win
And she did.
However, the Queen Mother fell
ill and did not present the trophy in
Her determination saw Betty get
her fair share of wins and placings
and become recognised as an
During Queen Elizabeth's visit in
1953 Betty heard the Queen and the
Duke were travelling to Feilding by
She did not want to wait in line
with everyone else at the station, so
she jumped on her motorbike and
took off after the train.
She met them at a bridge and her
frantic waving caught the Duke's
attention, who pointed Betty out to
the Queen, and the royal couple
gave Betty a personal wave.
The grandmother, and great-
grandmother of two, told the story
of her royal experience with pride.
During her 63 years as a violin,
clarinet and music theory teacher,
Betty also came across her fair
share of music royalty, but that's
Despite her exhilarating life
Betty also had her share of difficult
times, especially the loss of two of
her five children.
However, Betty believed life was
what you made it.
And it was fair to say this lady
made it into a real celebration.
After she stopped training race
horses she started driving stock
I started off in the powder puff
derbies, for women,'' she said.
And when they allowed women to
drive in the men's races Betty
jumped at the chance.
The musically-talented petrol-
head and her number four stock car
usually came in at the front of the
But more often than not they
were stuck in fourth place which,
Betty said, was a bit of a running
She last drove a stock car at the
Palmerston North Speedway's 75th
anniversary in 2005.
Of course from there, the next
natural step for Betty was to
become a scrap metal dealer.
I was always crazy on cars.''
After she retired in 1975, Betty
held on to some of the old car parts,
which were now considered vintage,
and took them to swap meets.
Again I was one of the few
females,'' she said.
I've always been a tomboy . . .''
Betty still drove herself every-
where, including over to Whanganui
on regular occasions to take part in
functions and catch-ups at the RSA.
Oh yes, Betty also served in the
army for two years.
Furthermore, the part-Maori
Marton woman had a crack at politi-
cal life when she ran for the Parlia-
ment with the Social Credit party in
She also served as a community
councillor for 15 years, and was on
the National Council of Women.
When asked how she did it all,
Betty replied by saying she had to
That was my thing: You're never
allowedtobeidle. . .
There's that saying: a rolling
stone gathers no moss.
Well if you roll your own stone it
won't gather moss either.''
Betty also gave a lot back to the
region she loved.
She was one of the founding
members of the Marton Country
Music Club and The Young New
Zealanders Club. She started up a
holiday programme for children,
which turned into tours for the eld-
erly, and she drove the morning and
afternoon school bus.
I had a really busy life,'' she said.
I like to look back at what I've
But I don't want to go through it
The veteran athlete and former
softball player said her advice to
young people was to make their own
fun and learn while doing it.
Get off your chuff and do some-
However, Betty was ready to
hang up her helmet and take some
time to relax.
She did not go to the stock car
track or the race track anymore.
I'm like a jockey without a
On her way outside to her relax-
ation area'' in the back garden,
Betty by-passed the buckets of paint
she was mixing together to paint
her garage roof.
By the looks of things Betty would
keep plenty busy in her retirement.
Why break the habit of a lifetime?
from providers questioned
passion for dog training
Links Archive February 9th 2012 February 23rd 2012 Navigation Next Page