By Geoff Vause
Masterton shares the world premiere of the Beatles’ documentary Eight Days A Week next Friday thanks to three hard core fans of the fab four.
Video maker Allan Honey has kept the Beatles Wairarapa connection alive with the help of Masterton bookseller David Hedley and former Wairarapa Times Age reporter Steve Trotman who each share Allan’s passion for all things Beatle.
Eight Days A Week was directed by Ron Howard (Opie of The Andy Griffith Show) and David Hedley agreed to sponsor the show by booking out Masterton’s Regent 3 Cinema.
Times Age reporter and Beatlemaniac Steve Trotman kept the unique Wairarapa link alive by rounding up main photos and revisiting the story 30 years later in 2002, and has helped pull the premier together.
The band toured New Zealand in 1964, and then Wairarapa Times Age photographer Norm Dekan used his media connections to arrange a meeting between Lennon and Lynda Mathews, then 17, who lived at Eketahuna.
Ms Mathews was a cousin to Lennon, and Mr Dekan used this to gain access to the Beatles’ Wellington hotel, armed with his camera.
The unique connection had already started to unfold two days earlier.
Lennon had been raised in Liverpool by his aunt Mary Smith (Aunt Mimi) who knew she had relatives at Eketahuna. Lynda’s father came out from Liverpool as a baby, and he and Mimi kept in touch.
“We knew cousin John was in a band,” Lynda told the Times Age in 1964, “but we didn’t know what they were like.”
One of the reasons the Beatles came to New Zealand was because Lennon wanted to give something back to his aunt by helping her have time with her Kiwi relatives.
Another two cousins also live here.
Mimi arrived on June 12 and loved the place.
She spent almost five months with Lynda’s family, only returning to London because Lennon kept calling the Mathew’s place to ask when she was coming back.
Mrs Mathews, now living at Upper Hutt, will be at the premiere, along with another Beatle fan and friend of Mr Honey, sports broadcaster Keith Quinn who is expected to speak.