Tea and scones go a long way

SCONE IN HAND: Peace activist Kara Nelson partakes of the cake she has become synonymous with.
SCONE IN HAND: Peace activist Kara Nelson partakes of the cake she has become synonymous with.

Gill Alcock digs out some new facts about some of Waiheke's best-known characters.

Kara Nelson, 93, is a well-known face on Waiheke. She has jumped out of a plane and tried out the ziplines at EcoZip in Onetangi and, along with friend Maynie Thompson, has been involved in many protests against nuclear weapons since they met in the early 1980s.

The two women raised money to fund their activities by selling tea and scones.

Their story has been documented in a film by Susi Newborn and Claudia Pond Eyley titled Tea Scones and Nuclear Disarmament. It shows how the pair joined thousands of others outside the American air force base in England known as Greenham Common to protest against the 96 nuclear cruise missiles that had been sited there and how, at age 77, Kara and Maynie joined the Women's Peace Flight to Tahiti to protest against the French government's nuclear testing in the Pacific.

15 facts you might not know about the seemingly fearless and famous peace activist.

1. She was born in Manchester, England, before moving to Canterbury. She left England for Canada when she was "30 odd" and spent nine very happy years there. She decided to come to New Zealand after meeting so many nice Kiwis while in Canada.

2. She came to Waiheke 48 years ago after a friend suggested a weekend visit. She loved it so much she moved to the island.

3. She was a music teacher in schools in Auckland. Five of her former pupils have since moved to Waiheke.

4. She loves sport and used to play all sports. She was cricket captain at school.

5. She loves rugby and likes to see it played fast with quick hands and lots of kick and chase.

6. She was married for 40 years to a Scotsman.

7. They never had any children but she has lots of nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

8. She gave up riding her bike at age 85 after the broken edges of the roads in Waiheke made her worried she would fall off - although she never did.

9. Her most favourite places, after Waiheke, are Mexico and Cuba.

10. Her favourite foods are fruit and veggies and home-cooked, freshly caught snapper.

11. She says she is really enjoying life. "I don't think people expect so much of me now," she says.

12. She is writing her memoirs although she has only got to chapter one.

13. She and her husband built their own catamaran and happily sailed around Waiheke for 20 years.

14. She later built her own sailing dinghy.

15. She says it's when older people start feeling they can't get out that they should really make the effort to get out. "It's too easy to stay at home and get sad. Meet younger people and do what they do," she says.

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