A Tribute to Family
- Bruce Guilford, Heather Rotzel and Llew Amon
Bruce John Guilford
(1940 - 2001)
Of the 4 surviving children of Henry and Mavis
Guilford, Bruce was the only one to remain in Fairlie district. He started
his schooling by correspondence and with the family's move to "Te Puke" 4
miles from Fairlie, attended Fairlie Primary and District High School. He
enjoyed music and learnt the violin, and completed his schooling in 1956
by gaining School Certficate.
He worked for two years for his father
Henry at home then a short spell at the Hodder Concrete Post Factory and
'seagulled' on the wharf in Timaru. Two years at Craigiemore at Maungati
employed as tractor driver and mechanic were followed by eighteen months
with his cousin Bernie Scarlett's Engineering at Hadlow.
between town and country was won when Bruce went to work for Frank
Morrison at Waratah Station at Albury and enjoyed the full responsibility
while Frank was away. Up to 200 acres of wheat was grown so the scale of
the operation was a real challenge.
Bruce married Jeanette
MacDonald from Timaru in 1962 and they had 3 sons, Stephen, Murray and
When Henry and Mavis decided on a second overseas trip, Bruce
and Jeanette returned to Chasleton and managed it and Te Puke and in 1969
Bruce purchased the Middle Valley property and this became his home.
Like his father before him, Bruce had always been restless with the
status quo. Soon after he took over the sheep flock received a shake-up
with the introduction of a Texel East Fresian-by-Finnish Landrace cross.
This was followed, in 1992, by a Texel Merino Cross. Uncertainty with
summer droughts and brutal winters and reduced farming returns, at one
time he even considered leaving sheep altogether. Goats were tried for
three years, as were German angora rabbits, but both failed to promise a
long term income. In the 1980's he converted some areas to deer which was
very successful and the expanding herd were given more space to reduce the
stress on the animals and improve handling.
In the winter of 1997 Bruce
gave himself and his neighbours a fright. As hay was being unloaded from a
lorry, a steel pin pulled out of a bale and hit Bruce where he stood, with
considerable force, piercing his chest. Ambulance, doctors and a
helicopter were called and he was whisked off to Christchurch Hospital
where it was some time before doctors were sure he was going to live.
Before professional help arrived wonderful neighbours did what they could.
That close brush with death brought about a whole new philosophy for
Bruce in his remaining years - "don't put off things that are important
and take time to enjoy yourself and your surroundings". He put it more
succinctly - 'Take time out to smell the roses!'
His hobbies of radio
controlled model aircraft, rifle shooting, the gun club and gardening got
more attention. He looked around for alternatives to what he was doing -
considered spagnum moss on the coast - no drought there!but came up with a
alternative when he leased the farm "Chaselton" and started a glasshouse
flower growing business at Rangiora. During his last four years, Bruce
relished farming on an intensuive scale in an enviroment where you had
some control over the elements - temperature and water.
away June 22nd 2001. Ref. Interview for ""The Raincliff
Heather Rose Rotzel nee Guilford (1942 - 1992) We each
have our own special memories of Heather - images we will retain - hope
and shared laughter, modesty, serenity and endeavour and above all, the
warmth of her love. Heather was born in Fairlie on the 13th of November,
1942. She was the fourth child of Henry and Mavis Guilford and sister to
Bruce, Allison and Winsome. Farming and family life shaped her enjoyment
of the outdoors and her love of animals, and she had real ability at team
After attending primary school at Fairlie, Heather boarded in
Timaru and her secondary education was received at Timaru Girls High
School. Academic success and recognition of her practical capabilities saw
Heather accepted into the two year Teacher Training Course at Dunedin and
Christchurch, specialising in her chosen field of Home Science.
student classmates became lifelong friends with contact being maintained
through the years. Heather was one of a small group who celebrated their
Teacher graduation by walking the Milford Track from Te Anau. A young
tourist, freedom walking from the Milford end - the backpacker of
yester-year, met Heather on the Track and accepted her invitation to visit
her home in the Mackenzie Country. Jurgen was absorbed into the "Te Puke"
farn life and his extended stay culminated in his marriage on the 18th of
May, 1963 at Saint Stephen's Parish Church at Fairlie.
took the happy couple to Germany where Jurgen presented his New Zealand
bride to his parents Rudolph and Hilde along with other family members.
They remained there four years and Heather became proficient in the German
language and was fascinated by her new experiences in the European
Their first children Christine and Hans were German born and
the family returned to New Zealand and it was in Whangarei that they built
their home and lived for the next 25 years and enlarging their family with
the addition of two Kiwi kids, Rainer and Dieter.
This area of New
Zealand gave Heather and Jurgen the life they loved to share - the streams
and beaches for swimming and tramping in the hills and bush. Together they
were able to fulfill their other dream when they built their 42 foot ketch
"Unbound" in 1980. Heather returned to her teaching and the many children
who passed through her classroom gained valuable life skills from her
instruction - they were Heather's greatest contribution to the Northland
community, gaining respect and high regard by all who knew her. She took
advantage of the opportunity to update and extend her specialist subject
by attending courses and conferences whenever she could.
held the reins that bound her to her family, taking such pride in their
every step on the way to maturity and allowed each the freedom to expand
and shape their young lives - and often expressed delight in their varied
achievements and activities.
Heather loved her overseas travel and her
New Zealand, and took immense satisfaction with the completion just before
her death of her recent house extensions and the enlarged and landscaped
To the casual and the uninitiated, Heather could appear quiet
and reserved but for those who knew very well, it was never wise to
exchange a glance when a particularly pompous speaker was around and
infectious mirth followed. Underneath the gentle smile lurked a keen sense
of the ridiculous am her non-committed "MmmMmm" hid a devastating ability
to sum up personalities and situations. She seldom discussed her
conclusions, but showed through her actions caring thoughtfulness,
compassion and companionship. Heather shared her enthusiasm for learning
new arts and crafts and experimented happily with varying culinary
methods. She never forgot a face but names often escaped her, and her open
house policy could stretch a meal for two to accommodate ten.
Heather's last sailing, their annual trip to
Raoul Island in the Kermadec group from their mooring at Tutukaka in the
May school holidays, turned into tragedy. A week on and Heather was scuba
diving and about 20 metres down when she indicated she was in difficulty.
She was unconscious when they surfaced and all Jurgen efforts to
resuscitate her on board were unsuccessful. A helicopter was authorised to
bring her back and the six and a half hour flight by the Hamilton based
Trust Bank air ambulance was the longest attempted - 1000 km across water.
Extra fuel tanks were fitted and on the return flight it landed and
refueled at tiny L'Esperance Rock which has an emergency fuel dump. Jurgen
returned in the ketch, a difficult trip battling head winds to join his
grieving family. Heather is buried at Maunu Park Cemetery.
Llewellyn Edgar Samuel Amon (1945 - 1999) Llew was
born at Hamilton. His parents, Eddie and Edna, lived about 15 miles from
Hamilton in the rural community of Whitikahu, where Eddie ran a garage and
service station business. Llew grew up there with a younger brother
(Charles) in a country routine of tree-huts and trolley-carts, eeling in
the creek, feeding out on neighbours' farms, shooting blackbirds with an
air-gun and playing childhood make - believe games in the ti-tree gulleys
and macrocarpa groves. It was a simple, contented, family-oriented and
bucolic upbringing. Llew excelled at the two-roomed primary school at
Whitikahu where he found that having several older classes in the same
room provided him with a stimulating academic environment. Llew started
absorbing information fast and never really stopped. By the time he left
primary school to become a foundation pupil at Fairfield College in
Hamilton, he had already developed a keen interest in astronomy and was
grinding lenses to make his own telescopes.
Llew handled the academic
demands of secondary school with consummate ease and developed a wide
range of academic, artistic, scientific and technical interests, while his
formal schooling became oriented around mathematics and science. In his
mid 'teens he became a licensed amateur radio ("ham") operator and became
proficient in the transmission and reading of morse code. After gaining
his University Entrance Examination, Llew left school to take up a
position as technician at the soil research station at Ruakura. After two
years there he took a step which he was surely always destined to take and
pursued further formal education by attending the University of
There are three parts to Llew's life - First, the young eager
know-it-all. Llew had the ability to absorb knowledge, then put it to
practical use. He had an astounding range of hobbies and interests - was a
movie operator and a radio ham and by this means he could keep in touch
with his father and friends.
A house restorer, Llew loved working with
wood. He was a humorist, loved calligraphy, photography and going to the
theatre; he was a Goon show enthusiast - a historian and mathematician. He
became a linguist and electronics designer; and researched and documented
his genealogy and for others. He was addicted to science fiction and an
amateur hunter for fungus. Llew collected stamps; was the complete
computer nerd and music buff.
Like so many others, Llew tried his hand
at the share market. He collected hand woven rugs, designed them and even
helped to make them. A cross word addict. He set type; wrote papers and
walked with nature. He was always the ardent raconteur. He taught English
to Asian students for Llew had a deep interest in the Chinese culture.
part - his profession. Llew was always slightly disorganized yet he
managed to create order in the massive archive of tapes held by the
University. He found an economic way of accurately couelating the true
time relationships of generated signals. He worked towards being a PhD
researcher in astrophysics while juggling details of relocating the
physics Department, ordering needed stock and he designed and built
working recording set-ups in tapes and film.
Then came the relentless
growing battle with illness. Llew became a virtual prisoner of his body as
it was relentlessly attacked and slowly robbed of feeling and movement.
Multiple sclerosis wasn't diagnosed until 1981. And in three years Llew
became bound to a wheelchair. Another three years on, faced with the
reality of his increasing physical difficulties, Llew decided - He must
retire from work.
This last period of his life could only be termed
"his dependent period. " Life now for both Llew and Allison became a
learning curve. Problems - some minor, some major - occurred. Each problem
became a battle needing increasing technology and human skill, just so
Llew could stay at home.
There was community help. Good friends rallied
around and repeated calls gained professional response. Llew's needs for
more advanced technology grew in complexity.
It could only be said
that these last seventeen years could be looked at as "THE RED QUEEN'S
RACE" in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass". Hard work was needed
to stay in the same place - not only in economic or physical terms, but
simply to maintain body functions at the same level. Llew adopted an
increasing pragmatic realism. There was just no use whinging about his
growing difficulties. One simply found new ways to cope with them.
health system could be both terrifically helpful and incredibly
obstructive. The newly instituted attendant care scheme, was vital in
keeping Llew at home and in as good a physical shape as his illness
allowed. Now, a stream of attendants coped with physiotherapy, toileting,
showering and dressing Llew over the years.
equipment was acquired - a hoist, adjustable hospital bed, toilet chair
and other items - difficult times as the health system, with persuasion,
adapted to meet Llew's needs. His doctor cut through red tape, and
overcame so many difficulties for Llew. The attendant care co- ordinator,
was another invaluable source of help. The skill of physiotherapists
managed to retain some flexibility in Llew' s body. The incontinence
adviser, frequently got through vital supplies when others failed - at
times it felt like conducting a guerrilla war.
Then came relocation of
the war zone. A more suitable environment required a period of building
and Llew sometimes had to be left for long periods. Wonderful friends
didn't mind checking on Llew and live-in lodgers helped so very much over
the next two years as Allison and her builder worked to give Llew the
enjoyment of better facilities.
The pets, too, settled into the new
house quickly. But, although the warzone had shifted, the battles
continued. Llew's computer was his life line. Sending messages by packet
radio and e-mail kept him in touch with friends from all over the world.
But then came problems - Llew developed over-use syndrome with his
voice-operated computer and this meant further manoeuvring and health
system fall-backs. The occupational therapist, speech therapist and
physiotherapist were wonderful. Long-serving attendants and good friends
were meticulous and totally professional in what is a grossly underpaid
area needing high personal skills and dedication.
In Llew's situation
only a little neglect, in any area, could have devastating consequences.
Llew coped with his predicament with humour and patience. He was lovable,
but both hated and fought his illness. The war was over. The disease won
and Llew is at peace.
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