Bowls appeal just the start

Act of kindness initially got life member Norma Peck on to a bowling green.

Act of kindness initially got life member Norma Peck on to a bowling green.

COSY: Bowls Gisborne-East Coast life member Norma Peck and husband Garth enjoy some peace and quiet at home, out of this week’s wild weather. Picture by Paul Rickard

Norma Peck, lawn bowls stalwart and life member, talks to John Gillies about the friendship and fellowship she has enjoyed with the bowling community . . .

Norma Peck has been made a Bowls Gisborne-East Coast life member, but she might never have stepped on a bowling green were it not for a friend’s act of kindness.

Norma has fond memories of the late Marie Hill.
“She was my first friend in New Zealand,” Norma said. “We met through guiding.”

In 1985, Norma had gone out for dinner with Marie, who said during the evening, “You have to come with me, Norma. It’s for a new bowling club. It will be good for you to come along.”

Norma went along and became the first secretary of the Poverty Bay Women’s Bowling Club. It was the first step on the road to administration — umpiring, coaching, selecting, team management, committee and board service, and recording.

She won some club titles as a player but after she had a heart attack, she concentrated on the administrative side of things.

Norma’s first husband, Tony Starr, had died in 1982. They and their two children, Ann and Ian, had come to New Zealand from England in 1964 on the immigrant ship Southern Cross.

“The Suffering Cross, we called it,” Norma said.

Initially they lived at Wainui Beach, renting a beach house from Tony’s relatives, who had sponsored them out.
“In those days, there was nothing at Wainui,” Norma said.
“It was bleak and barren. The house next door was 10 sections away.”

When the chance of a house in Childers Road opposite the Elgin shopping centre came up, they grabbed it.

Fifty-three years on, she is still in the same house, with Garth Peck, the widower she met at the bowling club and married in 1987.

Between the two of them, they have 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, but only one of them — a great grandson — lives in Gisborne.

Norma will be 88 in November and still drives.
“And I don’t have to wear glasses to drive,” she said.

Norma’s accent is not pronounced, although she was brought up in the north-east, near Newcastle, and she puts this down to her mother’s influence.

“I don’t think I ever had anything like a Geordie accent. My mother wouldn’t have allowed it. I was taught you didn’t speak like that; it wasn’t correct.

“I was an only child and lived with my parents in a village called Milfield near Berwick-upon-Tweed in the Borders. My father was a gamekeeper on an estate.”

In the village during the war, the school had a teacher shortage.
“If you went to school in the morning, you couldn’t go in the afternoon . . . we didn’t have the teachers.”

She married Tony Starr, a mechanic who lived in Yorkshire . . . “in All Creatures Great and Small countryside” in Thirsk.

Among the cars Tony worked on was one belonging to Alf Wight, the veterinary surgeon who wrote under the pen name James Herriot.

Then came emigration to New Zealand and a new and different way of life.
Norma said she would like to thank all the bowlers of the Gisborne-East Coast centre for their wonderful friendship.

Norma’s bowls milestones include —

  • 1990-92: Vice-president of Poverty Bay Women’s Bowling Club.
  • 1991: passed her umpire’s examination.
  • 1993: passed her coaching exam.
  • 1993-95: President of Poverty Bay Women’s Bowling Club.
  • 1996: elected to the Poverty Bay-East Coast centre committee.
  • 2002: elected to the position of centre vice-president.

Norma has served as a Bowls New Zealand councillor, been convener of the women’s coaching school, been a centre women’s senior and junior selector, been president of the Gisborne Umpires’ Association for 10 years, and performed umpiring and recording duties at centre and club level for 18 years. She has managed representative teams and coached at senior and centre level. In 2012, she was made a life member of the Gisborne Umpires’ Association.

Norma Peck, lawn bowls stalwart and life member, talks to John Gillies about the friendship and fellowship she has enjoyed with the bowling community . . .

Norma Peck has been made a Bowls Gisborne-East Coast life member, but she might never have stepped on a bowling green were it not for a friend’s act of kindness.

Norma has fond memories of the late Marie Hill.
“She was my first friend in New Zealand,” Norma said. “We met through guiding.”

In 1985, Norma had gone out for dinner with Marie, who said during the evening, “You have to come with me, Norma. It’s for a new bowling club. It will be good for you to come along.”

Norma went along and became the first secretary of the Poverty Bay Women’s Bowling Club. It was the first step on the road to administration — umpiring, coaching, selecting, team management, committee and board service, and recording.

She won some club titles as a player but after she had a heart attack, she concentrated on the administrative side of things.

Norma’s first husband, Tony Starr, had died in 1982. They and their two children, Ann and Ian, had come to New Zealand from England in 1964 on the immigrant ship Southern Cross.

“The Suffering Cross, we called it,” Norma said.

Initially they lived at Wainui Beach, renting a beach house from Tony’s relatives, who had sponsored them out.
“In those days, there was nothing at Wainui,” Norma said.
“It was bleak and barren. The house next door was 10 sections away.”

When the chance of a house in Childers Road opposite the Elgin shopping centre came up, they grabbed it.

Fifty-three years on, she is still in the same house, with Garth Peck, the widower she met at the bowling club and married in 1987.

Between the two of them, they have 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, but only one of them — a great grandson — lives in Gisborne.

Norma will be 88 in November and still drives.
“And I don’t have to wear glasses to drive,” she said.

Norma’s accent is not pronounced, although she was brought up in the north-east, near Newcastle, and she puts this down to her mother’s influence.

“I don’t think I ever had anything like a Geordie accent. My mother wouldn’t have allowed it. I was taught you didn’t speak like that; it wasn’t correct.

“I was an only child and lived with my parents in a village called Milfield near Berwick-upon-Tweed in the Borders. My father was a gamekeeper on an estate.”

In the village during the war, the school had a teacher shortage.
“If you went to school in the morning, you couldn’t go in the afternoon . . . we didn’t have the teachers.”

She married Tony Starr, a mechanic who lived in Yorkshire . . . “in All Creatures Great and Small countryside” in Thirsk.

Among the cars Tony worked on was one belonging to Alf Wight, the veterinary surgeon who wrote under the pen name James Herriot.

Then came emigration to New Zealand and a new and different way of life.
Norma said she would like to thank all the bowlers of the Gisborne-East Coast centre for their wonderful friendship.

Norma’s bowls milestones include —

  • 1990-92: Vice-president of Poverty Bay Women’s Bowling Club.
  • 1991: passed her umpire’s examination.
  • 1993: passed her coaching exam.
  • 1993-95: President of Poverty Bay Women’s Bowling Club.
  • 1996: elected to the Poverty Bay-East Coast centre committee.
  • 2002: elected to the position of centre vice-president.

Norma has served as a Bowls New Zealand councillor, been convener of the women’s coaching school, been a centre women’s senior and junior selector, been president of the Gisborne Umpires’ Association for 10 years, and performed umpiring and recording duties at centre and club level for 18 years. She has managed representative teams and coached at senior and centre level. In 2012, she was made a life member of the Gisborne Umpires’ Association.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    ​​If the council does proceed with an online voting option for the 2019 election, will you likely vote online or by ballot paper?