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Glendining always lending a hand

John Glendining, long a prominent South Wairarapa resident, died in Taupo on Wednesday, March 29. His funeral was held in Taupo yesterday, Good Friday.

John Hember Glendining was born in Wellington on October 29, 1941.

His father Rupert had tried unsuccessfully to delay his embarkation to the European war theatre to see his son before leaving, but it was not to be. He died at Cassino in Italy in May 1944.

John and mother Barbara first lived with his maternal grandfather, Don Baird, in Masterton and then with stepfather Tom Gaddum in Gisborne after his mother remarried.

Initially, John Glendining attended West School and Hadlow in Masterton, then Norwood in Gisborne, Huntley in Marton, where he was head prefect in 1955, and finally Whanganui Collegiate. In his final 1959 report, his housemaster wrote: “ He is reliable, with high ideals. He is respected, gets things done and has a mind of his own.”

After leaving school, he worked on Fred Tatham’s Homewood station, where he met Danna McHardy. They married on April 2, 1964 – beginning a happy 59 year-long partnership.

John briefly managed the Gaddum family’s Waituna station in the wilds of the Whareratas before the couple bought the Brown Hill farm at Tuturumuri in 1966. They were to spend 33 years there in the property’s iconic Chapman Taylor house, raising children Rachael and David and playing a particularly active part in the community.

John Glendining was secretary of the Tuturumuri Hall Society for a quarter century and on the St. Andrew’s vestry in Martinborough for eight years. He took a leading part in many farmer initiatives like road straightening when the council was slow to act, and was always quietly supportive of wife Danna’s varied political involvements.

In 2000, the Glendinings sold Brown Hill, moving to 20 acres south-west of Hamilton at Ngahinepouri where, with his well-developed ‘fix it’ skills, John was greatly in demand among smallholding neighbours.

By 2019, with John not well, the large Berkers Road house, garden and property were too big, and they moved to Taupo, where Rachel now lives. John found Taupo cold and missed all his farming ‘toys’, but the number of close and wider family and friends nearby compensated.

John Glendining was famous for his patched shorts and berets, for knitting dishcloths and beanies, and for always being happy to fix things for neighbours and people in the wider community.

Latterly, on a hospital visit, when a doctor asked him what he did, John replied: “I sharpen knives and scissors!”

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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