Norma Evans (1927 – 2017) – loss of a true Rotorua icon

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Norma Evans (1927-2017) – the loss of a true Rotorua icon.

Born in Invercargill on 27 May 1927, Norma Mae Jackson was brought up in Kurow, Central Otago, in a family steeped in the ‘making-do’ tradition. Her mother and grandmother were dressmakers; her father a craftsman saddler. In 1942, when she was just 18, Norma set up her own dressmaking business in Kurow.

Her skills stood Norma in good stead when she married Bob Evans in 1946, and the young couple went farming in the Hakataramea Valley, South Canterbury.

After a decade of marriage Norma, husband Bob and their four daughters, migrated north to take up a farm block on the raw pumicelands of Rotomahana. This was part of a nationwide resettlement scheme that saw almost 14,000 ex-World War II servicemen settled on land readied for them by the government.

Norma Evans (right) and curator Ann Somerville at opening of the exhibition Down the Hall on a Saturday Night, Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa, September 2013

Norma was an active volunteer in the community. She was a member of Women’s Division Federated Farmers and Association of Country Women. She was also involved in the Girl Guides and Sunday School. Later, after Norma retired to Rotorua, she became a member of Te Amorangi Trust Board. For her services to the community, Norma was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996.

Norma’s awareness of the importance of her family’s story makes Rotorua Museum’s collection of almost 5,000 items of their clothing and other household treasures an asset of national importance. A significant collection of the family’s everyday items and archives are also held at the Rotorua Settlers and Steam Museum and Rotorua District Library.

Green ensemble, Norma Evans collection, Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa


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