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Barbara Way 1913-2002

Posted by SC Comments Off on Barbara Way 1913-2002

Barbara Agnes Way 6 October 1913 – 1 October 2002

 

Barbara Way (2nd from right) with Eileen Broadhead, Zena Foubister, and Hazel Curtice, Piha

The Ways – Hadyn and Barbara – were among the early bach owners at Piha, their distinctive circular-front roughcast house is still prominent on the lower side of Seaview Road. Barbara was an elegant powerful swimmer and an early woman lifesaver, though Piha surf club did not allow women members when the Ways came to Piha.

Barbara was born Barbara Crowther at Taihape, one of 9 children, and lived in a number of North Island towns before coming to Auckland. She lived for swimming and was a founding member of the Milford Girls’ Surf Life Saving Club, founded in 1932. Water ballet was another of Barbara’s loves and she instructed troupes of performers at the Tepid Baths for years, until water ballet (now synchronised swimming) fell out of fashion.

In the 1930s Barbara met Hadyn Way and started coming to Piha. Hadyn, known as ‘The Grap’, was a big man who raced motorcycles, wrestled and surfed. His love of the water matched Barbara’s and the couple lived for the weekends at Piha. Barbara often walked or hitch-hiked to Piha at the end of a day spent strawberry picking to raise money for surf life saving. A striking good-looking blond, Barbara was magic on the water. She could backstroke onto a wave and body-surf in, and was one of the few women who went out fishing on the legendary boat, the Harmony, owned by her husband, Tiger O’Brien and Alf Broadhead.

In 1936 Barbara and Hadyn married. A baby born in 1937 died, and then Peter was born in 1939. The hard-case Peter became one of the key members of North Piha Surf Club for years, and a pioneering surfer and board maker of note.

Barbara turned her hand to many jobs in her life – she was a dietician at Middlemore, drove taxis (when in her 60s) and tirelessly volunteered for many causes, including driving vans for IHC.

She was a woman ahead of her time, game to take on anything, a good sport and totally unafraid. Surf was the great love in her life.

Her latter years were spent at Selwyn Village, but she had good friends, many from Piha, and was loved by the Crowther clan, including Brenda and Kevin from North Piha.

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