Home' Waitomo News : 5 May 2016 Contents WAITOMO NEWS Thursday, May 5, 2016 3
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Waitomo District Council’s Resident Survey is open until Friday 13 May
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that we provide to the community. The information
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Read about Council’s plan for the coming year
Waitomo District Council has published information on the Exceptions
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on Wednesday 18th May 2016.
Funding and Grants opportunities
Waitomo District Library
View our new Local Author Collection on display.
Many wonderful titles to choose from including:
‘Moonshine’ by Helen Wilson
‘No lily-livered girl’ by Phyllis Johnston
‘A fence around the cuckoo’ by Ruth Park
‘A touch of clay’ by Maurice Shadbolt
‘New Zealand’s Worst Disasters’ by Graham
Hutchins and Russell young
Creative Communities Funding Scheme
We invite applications for financial assistance from groups and
organisations that support and encourage creativity and opportunities to
participate in arts activities. Applications close Friday May 20th.
Discretionary Grants Fund
Are you a community group or organisation operating within the Waitomo
District on a not-for-profit basis? If so, then this grant may assist with
your project costs. Applications close Wednesday June 1st.
BY MIKE BAIN
EILEEN Burton has
devoted her life to bring-
she wouldn’t have it any
The 87-year-old Te
Kuiti mother, grand-
mother and great-grandmother says motherhood
is one of the greatest and most natural things a
woman can do.
For her, giving birth to 11 children is what she
believes she was born to do.
“I can’t think of anything else I would want to
do or be, motherhood has given me riches beyond
With 41 grandchildren and 54 great-grandchil-
dren, she is more than happy to share stories about
her family’s exploits and achievements.
The story of the Burton family starts in Black-
pool, England in 1929 – the year of Mrs Burton’s
birth to Mary and Wilfred Molloy – the first of eight
children – seven girls and one boy.
It was during the war years, at a dance at the
local air force club that she met 12-year-old John
Eric Burton (Eric) from County Durham who used
to take his mother to the dances.
Mrs Burton was also just 12-years-old.
“Eric obviously had noticed me because in con-
versation he told me he had, when on my way to
school, which was funny because I went to school
in another town.
“In those days there was a dance on most after-
noons and Eric was a great dancer, so I always tried
to partner with him as much as possible.
“Dances were every day of the week and we used
to go along most afternoons.
“Needless to say Eric being a very good dancer,
was very popular with the other girls, but we
partnered each other on the dance floor three or
four times a week.
“At the age of 17, he went to sea on a merchant
ship and we became good friends over this time.”
He eventually was employed as the second
steward for the New Zealand Shipping Company
which meant he had travelled several times to
Their courtship blossomed and they married in
1950, aged 21.
Mr Burton continued at sea for a time while his
young wife worked as a tailoress until she became
pregnant with their first child.
In 1954, now aged 25, Mrs Burton immigrated to
New Zealand to join her husband who had bought a
house in Auckland and settled into life as a baker.
“People thought I was brave travelling for six
weeks by ship with my two and half month old
daughter Judith, but to be honest I didn’t think
it was brave at all, it was just something I had
to do - this [New Zealand] was where my life was
going to be,” she says.
“At the time I never thought I would be here
54 years later. I thought I would be living back in
England with a couple of children.
“Having settled in Auckland Eric was in demand
as a baker and I stayed at home and gave birth
to two more of our children, Elaine and Stephen.
“Wanting to do better as a baker Eric moved us
to Pokeno and the family grew with another four
children Michael, Andrew, Yvonne and Rick.
“Eric’s popularity as a baker grew and another
job offer came up, so off to Taumarunui we went
and this is where another two – Patrick and Mat-
thew – were added to the family,” she says.
“Our last move was to Te Kuiti where Eric set
up his own bakery and we had two more children,
Josephine (Joanne) and Simon.
“When I was pregnant [aged 42] with Simon, the
doctor was convinced I was going to have twins, and
we were both were disappointed when it was later
confirmed, no, there was only one baby to be had.
“I would not have minded twins, after all that
is what I was put on this earth for.”
Once settled in Te Kuiti, the couple brought the
Vienna Bakery and Tearooms in Taupiri St, later
rebranding it Waitomo Bakery.
“In 2000, just before Eric’s death we opened up
our new premises in Rora St called Burton’s Bakery
and I worked there until I was 78 and then decided
it was time to retire,” she says.
Son Michael, followed in his dad’s footsteps,
working alongside his parents in their bakery
until it was sold. He later opened Crikee’s Cafe
UPS AND DOWNS
Accepting her role in life as a mother Mrs Burton
says she’s never looked back with any regrets, her
11 children and husband are her life, but it’s one
that’s had its ups and downs like any family.
“Being a seamstress back in England I was
able to make the children’s clothing and when the
machine came out, so did the girls with their dolls.
“There was always a new outfit to be made for
the dolls as well,” she says.
“But I just did what I had to do for my children,
made their sweets, dipped their apples, made their
clothes and so forth. This is what I did, people are
put on this earth for a reason – this was mine.”
The toughest time the Burton family has had to
endure was Matthew’s death in 1989. He was 23.
Through a flood of tears, she explains how she
nursed him through his last months as he fought
and eventually lost his battle to cancer.
“No-one expects to lose a child.”
And although she has not always been able to
be at her children’s special occasions as they grew
up, she is an immensely proud mum.
Because Mr Burton worked seven days and she
couldn’t drive, she says she didn’t get to see her
children play sport, staying at home to nurse their
scrapes and bruises and . . . wash the clothing.
Of all the 11 children, she proudly says it was
Andrew who made the “big time” playing rugby for
King Country in the early 1990s.
Some of her other boys played rugby for the Te
Kuiti and Waitete clubs, while the girls’ passion
was netball, basketball and roller skating.
Nothing fazed Mrs Burton, not even the long
“Once we packed up the Vauxhall Wyvern with
the bags, the kids and a three tier wedding cake
which I’d made, and headed off to Gisborne for a
“It was all well organised and the kids behaved.
“Eric would tell them before we went anywhere
‘we are leaving, any fighting any arguments, I
will stop the car and you will be put out’.”
Discipline was a key component of bringing up
a large family, and she admits having to replen-
ish the wooden spoons many a time as they were
either broken in the disciplinary process, or hidden
by the children.
The Jungle Books author Rudyard
Kipling once wrote . . . God could not be
everywhere and therefore he made moth-
ers. This Sunday, Mother’s Day, we have
to chance to honour ours. In this story,
we celebrate one mum’s journey.
FULFILLED: Brimming with pride at the achievements of one of her 41 grandchildren is
Eileen Burton of Te Kuiti whose walls are filled with memorabilia.
An immensely proud mum
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