High tea for Cora

After living on the Awhitu Peninsula for nearly 60 years, Cora Brooking is making the move to Possum Bourne Retirement Village later this month.

On Saturday 11 March, a high tea was organised for Cora at the Matakawau Hall to celebrate her achievements on the Peninsula. All of the community groups that she helped were brought together to say thanks and farewell.

Former Franklin Mayor, Mark Ball was a guest speaker. His mother trained with Cora as a nurse in the early 1950s.

“When you think of the word philanthropic, Bill Gates comes to mind. However, we have one philanthropic person right in our backyard of Awhitu, and that is Cora. She has been the backbone of the community for so long. Cora is a respected matriarch who helped mesh the district into what it has now become. Cora is definitely going to be missed,” he said.

Forever humble, Cora has been an active member of the community. When she wasn’t making preserves and jams to raise funds for volunteer groups like the Awhitu Rural Fire Force, she could be found lending a hand where ever it was needed.

From the Combined Churches, Women’s Institute, to the badminton club, Cora was involved in a diverse range of groups, all for the betterment of the Peninsular community.

However, Cora says she now feels that it has come to the point where the time is right to begin the next chapter in her life.

“Most of my family have moved out of the area and I know so many people who are at Possum Bourne already, so I definitely won’t be lonely,” she laughs.

Cora was completely blown away by the high tea, which was organised by Gael Oswald from the Awhitu Rural Fire Force.

“At first I didn’t want it to happen, I didn’t want the fuss. You know, I just did what I had to do; We all did. I liked helping where I could. The hall was decorated beautifully, and everyone was so lovely. I had such a great day,” said Cora.

“We just wanted to say thanks for all she has done for our community, and to wish her the best of luck for her next chapter,” says Gael.

One of Cora’s favourite memories from living on the Peninsula was taking part in the annual Awhitu Flower Show.

 “It did take me 21 years to win the most points Trophy at the show, but I love gardening.  The people and my garden are what I am going to miss the most when I move.”


Cora Brooking (centre) stands in front of the team from the Awhitu Rural Fire Force at her farewell high tea. Photo by Raewyn  McConnell