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Memoirs follow teacher's eventful life

Last updated 05:00 29/11/2013
Jules Clark

MEMOIRS PUBLISHED: Trish Gribben and Diane Miller edited Riri Stark’s memoirs. Diane Miller is her daughter. The book benefits the Diocesan Heritage Fund.

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A French teacher who inspired hundreds of students has had her memoirs published in a book which will benefit Diocesan's Heritage Foundation.

Riri Stark, who died in July 2012 aged 93, taught French at Diocesan School for Girls for 25 years.

After she retired she would tutor people wanting to improve their French in her Parnell apartment.

Her pupils ranged in age from 8 to 90 and she taught right up until she was 93.

"I ostensibly went to Riri for French lessons and she really knew the language. But I learnt a whole lot more," celebrity chef Ray McVinnie says.

"Riri was excellent at Greek and other Eastern Mediterranean cooking which I did not know much about at the time.

"She used to feed me her filo cheese rolls," he says.

"I could never quite get mine to be as light and fluffy as hers."

Ms Stark's recipe for Greek-style poached pork balls is one of several that particularly inspired Mr McVinnie.

"That recipe was one of the first to teach me you can make a really good meal from minced meat.

"The breadcrumbs soaked in milk were less about spinning out the pork than giving the boulettes a wonderful creamy texture which poaching also helps."

Ms Stark, who was born Elefteria Diana Dimoulitsa in 1918 in Greece, began hand-writing her memoirs when she retired.

They trace remarkable events that shaped her childhood in Alexandria, Egypt, through her education in many schools in Cairo, to marriage to a New Zealand soldier and her adjustment to life in faraway New Zealand.

The book includes early photographs, eulogies by two former Diocesan pupils and several of Ms Stark's favourite recipes.

The book is $30 and a portion will fund the joy of conversational French for students, teachers and members of the Diocesan community.

Inquiries email acoe@diocesan.school.nz or phone 520 9378.

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- East And Bays Courier

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