Maida Innes-Smith

July 30, 1936 – June 27, 2018

Maida Mary was born in Pukekohe, New Zealand on July 30, 1936 to Vera (nee Wright) and Joseph James Hoe.

She was the second youngest of seven children including Lola, Shirley, Richard ‘Dick’, Patricia, Josie and Margaret. As the two youngest, Maida and Margaret were loved and spoilt by the older siblings who by this stage were working: Dick on the farm, Patricia school teaching, and Lola, Shirley and Josie office workers.

When Maida first started school, she sat behind Josie on her horse to ride to school before the bus run was introduced. The siblings would walk to Sunday school, about two miles.

She could remember, when she was only three or so, the men walking the roads looking for work during the Great Depression.

The children did not have many clothes, they would be taken off at night, washed and put by the woodstove to dry by the morning ready for school.

Maida was good at sport in primary and high school: running, hurdling, basketball, hockey, swimming, gymnastics.

She enjoyed playing the piano that sat in the lounge.

Throughout her childhood she and the neighbourhood children loved to spend hours playing in the beautiful native bush in two gullies. It was here they caught freshwater crayfish and eels using a piece of string, a bent pin and a bit of fresh meat.

When Maida was about 11 years old, after her father’s death, she did her part by feeding the calves and she loved to clean out the pig styes.

She met her husband-to-be Peter at a Helensville dance, a weekly Saturday night outing.

The couple married in 1958 and had three children: Dearwyn, Neil and Sandra.

Peter and Maida moved to Temma in 1995. Together they carried out some pioneering work in Circular Head, instrumental in land development.

Maida was always at Peter’s side and much a part of the decision making process. Their investment decisions took them to all parts of the region, from the wild west at Temma Farm to various locations around Smithton, Nabageena and Redpa.

They certainly enjoyed an entrepreneurial spirit and were great at this together.

It is fitting that in the year of her passing, Smithton has just won the national Tidy Town award. When Maida first came to Smithton, she could see what needed to be done.

At that time, there were open drains out on Brittons Road, old street infrastructure, and little beautification. She was a fierce advocate for Smithton’s beautification and served on a number of committees to further that outcome.

Her enthusiasm pre-dated the forming of a Tidy Town committee. She was never afraid of hard work, to carry out the improvements that she had won support for.

When visiting her flower room at the couple’s Massey Street home, you soon came to understand Maida’s love of plants. Over the years, many people were blessed with a gift of flowers or flower arrangements or decorations. She had an absolute passion for making things better, in her own way.

Maida had no fear and this allowed her to approach anyone to press her point of view: be it prime ministers, premiers, ministers, councillors, general managers or CEOs.

She was a stalwart of the Liberal party because of her belief in free enterprise and the many common values that her and Peter shared with the Liberal party philosophy. She took a keen interest in local and state decision making, and if the politicians got it wrong according to Maida, they were certainly not left wondering how she felt.

She loved unconditionally, despite her strong views.

Not knowing how to influence the nations, she became a prolific letter writer. Her letters would go all over Australia and in many cases to world leaders. She also wrote many a letter to the editor for publishing in local and mainland newspapers. She had a way and a presence in getting her message across.

No matter what station in life Maida found herself, she was always a welcoming person, you could see she always had time for others.

She would go out of her way to be welcoming and befriended all sorts of people, often making room for others to stay with her and Peter. Nothing was too much trouble, there was always a welcoming home and attention from Maida.

Maida’s love lives on in Peter, her three children, 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

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