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Betty Hanson 1916 – 2010

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Betty Hanson 20 November 1916 – 9 June 2010

Betty at 2010 Anzac Parade Photo Robert Hanson

It is with great sadness that we record the death of Betty Hanson,. Betty had a deep and lasting love of Piha and a peerless history of commitment and service to the community. 

Betty, whose maiden name was Crump, came to Piha via Karekare which she stayed at in the 1930s. The Crump family had links to Bayley’s Beach outside Dargaville so the West Coast was in her blood. She was a supporter of the new surf club at Karekare and met her husband, Bill, there. After the war, the Hanson family, 5 boys and a girl, moved their holiday life to Piha, eventually buying a property at 18 Garden Rd.

As well as giving great dedication to her family, Betty became deeply involved in education, serving on the Auckland Education Board and the Auckland Teachers’ College Council, of which she was the first woman chair. 

Betty served, many years on the committee of the Piha Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, both as president and even in her 80s as a committee member. This involvement led her to election to the Waitakere Community Board in 1989. She was re-elected there until she retired  2004  having  served  as chair for a period. 

I became a committee member of the Piha Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association in the 1983 when Betty was president and first got to know her . An excellent chairperson, she gave countless hours to the Association and had a special interest in the Post Office and the Domain, working in the Domain Working Party with representatives of other organisations on the Domain. She built up good relationships with Waitakere City Council officers. 

Betty loved the surf and in summer made a daily trek from Garden Rd to the beach in front of the surf club, carrying first a wooden surfboard and then a boogie board. From her house, she had a wonderful view of both beaches and over to The Gap which meant she could always be in sight of the sea. For Betty, this was the perfect location. 

Even when she had to leave Piha to live in town, she still wanted to hear all the news and what was happening in the Ratepayers’ Association. She was especially happy at the miraculous survival of the Post Office. Often, when visiting her, she would express her longing to get out there for the day and was extremely happy when she was taken there. Her last visit was on Anzac Day this year, a day very dear to her heart. 

Betty was a remarkable woman, always gracious, friendly and welcoming, always interested in other people, always wanting the best for the community and prepared to give of herself to try to achieve it. She was an inspiring example of what “commitment to the community” means. The Piha community has lost a great champion and one of its finest members.

 Helen Pearce

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