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profiles shirley winter loweShirley Winter-Lowe

In 1987, I sold everything I owned and took off with one bag to see the world. My first destination was the UK, where I knew nobody. I had never been out of NZ and was on my own.
I was born in Christchurch and educated at Christchurch Technical College where I was House Captain and Prefect. On leaving college, I began my nursing training at Christchurch Public Hospital.

After marriage and two children, I studied part time for my NZCC in accounting, and was then employed by Craig Stephenson and Leeming, an accounting firm in Christchurch. The computerisation of accounts introduced me to the world of computers - Main Frames, in those days. We prepared the input and operators did the processing in a closed room - no PC‘s. I had family ties in the UK, due to my Irish/ English heritage second generation on my father‘s side. Work was easy to find. In those days, NZ was ahead of the UK in computerisation, and although I hadn‘t intended to go into accounting, I found I was in demand because of my computer experience in NZ. I also took any work that gave me a roof over my head, and would work until I had enough money to travel, mainly back-packing, staying in Youth Hostels and Back Packers. This way I saw a fair bit of the world, and no, I cannot speak other languages, but learned to be very observant and self-reliant.

In London I joined a Drama Group, with which I performed in the UK , Ireland and Australia . For 23 years my life was work, travel, work, returning to NZ permanently in 2009. There had been so many changes, and I found it very hard to adapt to life in NZ. I had returned twice before and, each time was gone again within 6 months. I knew the only way to settle back was to keep busy. I therefore became active in volunteer work, first with the Inpatient Unit at the Hospice, then at Citizens Advice Bureau, then as a Seniornet Tutor. I have now also joined a Drama group. I do miss my nomadic lifestyle, but ― anno domini has caught up with me, so here I am.
(From Newsletter - May 2015)