Cath has gone and you’ve read the obits so no need for me to remind readers of her many accomplishments. But I can add a couple of tales.
A few days after the announcement of her becoming our first female Governor General, I spoke to her at an Auckland function.
“Have you thought through the full implications Cath?” I asked her.
She looked slightly alarmed, correctly sensing she was about to cop something upsetting.
“Like what Bob?”, she queried hesitantly.
“In that job Cath, you become Chief Scoutmaster, or in your case, Chief Girl Guide, and have to dress in the uniform once a year and present awards to scoutmasters, not yet in prison for their paedophilic activities”.
Cath literally went white. “I won’t do it; I won’t do it,” she bellowed and as there were henceforth no further photos in the press of this annual ritual, I suspect she was responsible for ending this embarrassment.
The Boy Scout movement is a screaming anachronism and world-wide, like the Catholic Church, a paedophiles paradise. The American Boy Scout outfit has paid out over a billion dollars to date in damages while here in New Zealand, it’s a fairly regular news item of scoutmasters in the dock for paedophilic crimes. It staggers me that parents can be so ignorant as to still allow their sons to do this bloody wet activity, moreso given the host of alternatives.
The other amusing Cath tale I shall recount was a Radio NZ interview following her G.G. appointment.
Out of the blue she spurted, “I’m still a socialist you know”.
“What do you mean by that?” the interviewer asked and for several minutes she went on and on saying, “when I say socialist I don’t mean…” etc. But we never found out what she did mean and thereafter, whenever I encountered her I teased her whether she had worked out yet what she meant by socialism.
All of that aside I admired her hugely. Not for her any whining about prejudice or being invisible as a woman. She was a true pioneer who simply set about achieving whatever she wanted and never complained about barriers as a female, instead, if they existed (which they didn’t, in my view), just ignored them.
She was an example to everyone about grabbing at life’s rich opportunities.