by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — A former senior mistress at Takapuna Grammar and a teacher at Carmel College,
Moira Carew, received a papal blessing on May 14 in honour of her 100th birthday and in
recognition of a lifetime as a practising Catholic.
The parchment scroll was presented to her by St Joseph Church, Takapuna, parish priest Fr
Phil Sullivan. Mrs Carew has been a member of the Devonport and Takapuna, parishes for almost
Mrs Carew said being a Catholic, “is sort of a part of your life. You don’t think how it’s
helped you. You are born a Catholic and you die a Catholic.”
Her friend Maree Mc-Naughten described Mrs Carew as, “a real lady. She has a wonderful faith,
and everytime we got together as a group, she always had something very worthwhile to say.” The two women were members of a home group that held prayer and Bible study meetings.
Another home group friend, Ishbel Cunnliffe, praised Mrs Carew for the insights she offered
during those meetings.“She’s very faith-centred.”
Mrs Carew was born in Auckland in 1914. She attended Thames High School and Epsom Girls’
Grammar. She then went to Auckland University and Auckland Teachers’ Training College.
Mrs Carew said she had always wanted to be a librarian, but her mother told her to take
up teaching instead.
“I wanted to be a librarian. I loved books. My mother chose [teaching] for me. It sounded
safe, you see,” she said.
During her long career Mrs Carew taught English and French, mainly to senior pupils. One of her first teaching jobs was in Fiji, where she met her future husband, Arthur Carew.
In the late 1950s, the family returned to New Zealand. Mrs Carew was appointed senior mistress
at Takapuna Grammar, a position she held for 14 years.
Her eldest son, David, said: “For many years, mum juggles home and family with a demanding
fulltime job, which wasn’t the norm for married women in the 1950s and 1960s”. He described
his mother as having “high standards, a zest for life and a great sense of humour”.
She has also had a sense of adventure and travelled extensively in the United Kingdom, Europe,
North America, Turkey and Southeast Asia, often on her own.
In 1967, Mrs Carew went back to get her MA in English, 30 years after she got her teaching
“That wasn’t the norm, either, in those days,” said Alison Carew, her daughter-in-law.
Mrs Carew moved into Lady Allum Village in Milford in 2002. “She is still mentally alert, but
has poor eyesight. She listens to National Radio, loves having visitors and enjoys lively conversation. She still has a great sense of humour and maintains a keen interest in family and her friends,” her son said.