Poet honours her mum

02:38, Mar 25 2014
Southland Times photo
Southland poet Wendy Joy Baker donates a booklet of her work to the Milton Museum where it was accepted by museum volunteer Helen Griffin.

A Southland poet has donated a collection of her writings as well as a 1950s bank book to the Milton Museum in honour of her mother who once worked as a teacher in the district.

Yvonne Barbara Drewett-Browne arrived in Milton from England in 1954 and started teaching english, art and music at the district high school. It was her first job in New Zealand.

Sixty years on, her daughter Wendy Joy Baker fulfilled a life-long dream to live in the South Island and on March 5, which would have been her mother's 93rd birthday, she visited Milton.

While there, Miss Baker gave a copy of her mother's teaching certificate from the NZ education department to Tokomairiro High School and to the local museum she gifted her mother's first BNZ bank book from 1954 along with a booklet of her own poetry.

Miss Baker said she inherited her love of words from her mother.

"It's lovely to be able to come back to where my mother started."


A former regional council employee in Bay of the Plenty, Miss Baker moved South a year ago and her latest collection of poems were all written during that time.

"There's one called Effort and Guts, it took a lot for my mum to come out after the war in search of a better life . . . and I've achieved my dream of coming to the South Island, there's a lot of sentiment in this," she said.

Donating some of her works to the Milton Museum also seemed appropriate given the number of streets in the town that have been named after poets, she said.


The Southland Times