Margaret Churchward, business woman


Margaret was born in her family's Nelson Street home in Blenheim in 1915, as the only child of William and Lucy Churchward. William was a well known lawyer who practised for 55 years in Blenheim.


Margaret Churchward. Image supplied by author

She attended boarding school in Havelock North during the Depression years, and following that, she was sent to England. She became a professional ballroom dancer and taught South American dancing.

On returning to New Zealand before World War II, she married Basil Collyns, a fighter pilot who soon after went off to fight in World War II. She followed him to England and worked there in the war effort, as an air raid warden.


Margaret in her dancing years. Image supplied by author

Mr Collyns was shot down and killed towards the end of the war and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously.

At the end of the war she returned to New Zealand. However, she found it difficult to adapt to life in New Zealand, and she returned to England.

She started a small travel business, taking groups around London, England and even into post-war Europe.

In 1955 she married Englishman John Kidner, and they moved to Torremolenos on Spain's Costa Del Sol where they ran a guest house.


Margaret with friends on Franz Joseph glacier. Image supplied by author

She was known for her irrepressible sense of humour and there were countless stories about her exploits during the war and her life in post-war England, Europe and Africa.

She returned to New Zealand in later life, where she became an avid collector of antiques - furniture, clothes, art and other collectibles. An auction of over 550 pieces from her collection  were sold at auction shortly before her death - an auction which drew interest from around the country.

Active and sharp right up until her death, Mrs Kidner was an avid smoker throughout her life. She died aged 92 at a Blenheim rest home in January 2009. She will be remembered for living a full life in the turbulent times of the 20th century; the Great Depression, World War II and post-war England and Europe.

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