Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 39, September 1995

Les Thompson, Merv Parker, Lorna A Dixon, Isabel Veale


Dorothy Minnie (Dolly) Heath was a long time and well known resident of Waihi and Thames Valley areas. She was a member of the Waihi Historical Society and President in 1980 and 1981.

Dolly was born on 27 July 1906 and came to New Zealand with her parents at the age of 14. In her earlier days, Dolly was a very active sports person, being a prominent hockey player and a foundation member of the Waihi Surf Life Saving Club.

Following her marriage to Bill Heath they took up residence at Waihi Beach where their two sons Edwin and Ben were raised. When the two boys reached secondary school age the family moved to Gladstone Road, Waihi, and Dolly became involved in a number of community activities in the town. She was a member of the Waihi College Board of Governors for a considerable number of years and served on the Waihi Rugby Union Ladies Committee. She also assisted the Federal Band, the Waihi Swimming Club, the athletics team from Waihi College, as well as retaining an interest in other sports which included golf and tennis.

Following the death of her husband. Dolly moved to a smaller property in Waihi and later resided at Burnstein House in Katikati but continued her interest in following sport. She died on the 31 July 1994.


Les (Doc) Thompson of Waihi died in September 1994. A well known identity of Waihi, Mr Thompson once made the headlines for delivering a baby in his taxi.

He was the youngest son of Sid and Hettie Thompson, pioneer farmers on the Waihi Plains. In 1936, Les married Vergi Johns of Hawera and, on his parents' retirement, took over their farm in Ford Road. In 1958 he moved into Waihi and operated a taxi service and it was while in this job he delivered a baby in the back seat of his taxi.

Les was for some time a member of the Waihi Federal Band and a keen tennis player. He was also involved with the driving of the ambulance, Waihi RSA, Lions Club and Waihi Bowling Club.


Merv Parker, well known for his work in the Paeroa community, died on 21 May 1995 aged 65 years.

Merv began his career with the former Ohinemuri County Council in 1950. He was assistant county clerk from 1956 to 1972, county clerk from 1972 to 1984 and then county manager from 1984 until he retired in 1989.

He was involved with the Paeroa Racing Club and Paeroa Athletics Club. After a short period as a competitor in the Athletics Club, Merv served on the administrative side of the sport. He served on the club committee, as secretary, treasurer and president and later was elected as patron and life member. He also served as secretary of the Thames Valley Children's Association for 21 years and chaired the Waikato centre's children's advisory committee. He was chairman of the organising committee and produced a book covering club activities when it celebrated its 50th jubilee.

Elected to the Paeroa Racing Club committee in 1969, Merv was treasurer for nine years, chairman of the judicial committee for ten years, vice-president for five years, and was elected president in October 1990.

Rugby was another of Merv's interests. He served as secretary of the Paeroa Old Boys Rugby Football Club during its early years and was later made a life member. He refereed rugby in the 1960s and represented the Thames Valley Rugby Union on the Thames Valley Referees' Appointment Board and later served on the union as the referees' delegate for ten years.

Merv was awarded the first Outstanding Citizen of Paeroa award in 1979. The Paeroa Scout Association presented him with a Scouts' lapel badge in 1980 in recognition of 20 years as examiner for its athletics badge. In January 1994 he was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for public service.


Mrs Dixon, known in Waihi for her springer spaniels and pottery, died on 30 August 1994. She was born in Hamilton on 28 February 1921, the daughter of Robert and Alice Forster, who came from the Isle of Wight. Her father was a market gardener.

In the early 1960s she became a primary school teacher until she moved to Waihi in the early 1970s. While exercising her dogs on Martha Hill she located a pure white clay which she used in her pottery. She was a keen supporter of the museum and the vintage railway society and the local pottery community. Mrs Dixon was predeceased by her husband Len.


Miss Veale, who died on the 12 June 1995, was a member of the Paeroa Historical Society in its earlier years and was formerly a well known resident of the district. She was the elder daughter of Bernard and Elizabeth Veale of Tirohia.

Bernard bought land at Tirohia at the turn of the century and built up a pedigree Jersey stud. Isabel's younger sister, Molly was killed by a fall from a horse. When her parents health began to fail, Isabel, took over the running of the farm and was, like her parents, involved in community work. She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church and Cub Mistress for the Tirohia Pack. After eleven years she received a certificate of merit from the Governor-General.

After the farm was sold she lived in Milford for many years until she entered Lady Allum Home, where she died.