Early in World War ll Barbara Rowarth was desperate to join the Navy. But what became WRENS (Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service) was yet to be formed, and Barbara had to wait until 1942. Initially the WRENS were only taking cooks and stewards, but she joined up anyway and ended up in signals with the rank of 4th Officer. Barbara loved the WRENS and aged 93, looks back at that time with affection. That’s despite a bout of rheumatic fever which almost certainly would have killed her if not for a dose of the first penicillin to be made in Auckland.
Reporter turned director Sonja de Friez made her mark filing stories on health and the arts, during six years at TV3. In the same period she began directing, and helmed documentaries about Margaret Mahy and painter Grahame Sydney. These days de Friez makes information-based online content, mainly for Government departments — and also reviews books for RNZ National’s Nine to Noon Programme.