Organist surprised to receive award

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2014
Margaret Hurley

MODEL CITIZEN: Margaret Hurley, 79, of New Plymouth was one of 11 recipients of a 2014 Citizens’ Award, for her service to New Plymouth’s musical community. 

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Margaret Hurley was overwhelmed to be given a Citizens' Award for her contribution to the New Plymouth community.

But the straight-shooting 79-year-old, who lives in New Plymouth with her cat Gibbie, is not 100 per cent sure she's worth all the fuss.

"What about all the others?" she asked the Taranaki Daily News, when approached for an interview.

Hurley, a retired teacher, has been involved with the New Plymouth Operatic Society since the 1950s, most recently playing the keyboard in the Phantom of the Opera.

She's also been the organist for St Joseph's Church Choir for more than 30 years and has been involved with Ars Nova Choir, St Mary's Church, New Plymouth Brass, Taranaki Male Choir and the New Plymouth musical group.

"They'd better put a halo on my head," she said with a laugh.

She's enjoyed her involvement in the society and has met a lot of nice people of all ages over the years.

"Even the mayor was in a few shows, so I can talk down to him when I meet him," she said, in anticipation of being presented with the award by Andrew Judd on Thursday night. In her years as a teacher, Hurley said the highlight was working with academically challenged students at Spotswood College, which she did in the 1970s and 80s.

Born and bred down the coast, Hurley is quick to point out she's not the only achiever to have come out of her home town of Pungarehu. All Black Beauden Barrett hails from there and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Rutherford spent time there.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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