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Here's to all the mothers

Written by Margot Boock
on May 13, 2019

This Sunday, the second Sunday in May, we celebrate and honour mothers.

All mothers. It's Mothers' Day!

Mutter, mama, mom, maman, moeder, ma, meme or mum. They may be our own biological mother, a foster mother or an adoptive mother. It may be a chosen mother, or we can honour everybody who embodies the spirit of motherhood.

There are many kinds of mothers.

At Rita Angus, a mother and daughter live independently from each other but draw comfort from their closeness.

This is a very special mother/daughter relationship. Margaret Barns (103) has lived in the same unit at Rita Angus since it opened, nearly 20 years ago. Jenny, her daughter moved in more recently.

Their love for each other is palpable, they laugh and finish each other's sentences, hug and get great pleasure from each other's company.

Two little girls brought Margaret back from England, to her home near Wellington in the early 1950's.

Margaret's sister Shirley had sadly passed away, leaving her nieces without a mother. There were grandmothers and aunts and cousins to help, but when Margaret met the girls, she said, "I fell in love with them and they fell in love with me."

She remembers the youngest, Jenny, shadowing her everywhere she went.

She never returned to her "marvellous time" in England, instead becoming Libby and Jenny's vivacious and adventurous mother, bringing up her nieces as her own children. And what a childhood they had.

Margaret was a teacher and had studied for her diploma in gymnastics in Sweden just before World War II began.

Jenny recalls a childhood with lots of activity, cycling to Pencarrow Head and over to Butterfly Creek and spending lots of time in the water by their seaside home in Eastbourne. "It was an energetic upbringing, in a very loving home."

They often visited a family farm where Libby had a pony called Tinkerbell and Jenny inherited a Shetland pony called Nibby.

For a school holiday treat they used to go into town and have lunch at James Smith's department store, then go to a film and get the bus home.

She also remembers all the neighbourhood children getting together and putting on "the most appalling plays" for the adults.

"They were very happy times," she said.

Margaret loved her Bridge games, but when they "finally got a television, the game would be stopped so we could watch 'Peyton Place'" – a long running American soap opera.

With both mother and daughter living in the village Margaret and Jenny are close but not too close. Jenny had a "good look around" at retirement villages before deciding on Rita Angus.

Margaret says, "it's wonderful," but she made it very clear that Jenny was independent and lived her own life.

For Jenny, it's lovely. "Before, I was going backwards and forwards visiting Marg."

This Sunday along with other residents, men and women, this mother and daughter will celebrate Mothers' Day in the village, remembering all mothers are special.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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