NON Awas Salan

FACES OF NORFOLK - MEET MAEV HITCH

Friday, July 29, 2016
Huttae a story about myse Mumma, Maev Hitch, she is my Grandmother, my “inspiration on life” with a work ethic which has been passed down generations. My family can put their hand to many of talents which crosses our path. This on Norfolk Island is a true attribute as careers here can change often and we must be flexible to apply ourselves to which ever job arises. An artist in her later years, Maev paints with oil on canvas. Commissioned for her works this was a stable income during her later years, she has also woven Island Hats with the local traditional ‘weave’ and has taught many on Norfolk the Tahitian dance. 

Maev would be without a doubt one of the best known women of Norfolk Island during a time when social media did not exist. Tourist would return many of years after their first visit and be asking for Meav or sending her letters from their home town to thank her for her hospitality. Recently complete retirement occurred during Maev’s early 80’s. Proud descendant of Field Marshall son of Von Blucher in Germany and of Fletcher Christian and Mathew Quintal, a true descendant of the Bounty, one of a select few thousand born on Norfolk Island, birth date of 1st October. Maev is a character at heart with a huge sense of humour, in Norfolk we would say kasard en mardun (extremely cheeky /cunning and a tad mad). Trying to paint the picture of Maev’s life span, I did have to shamefully as the misfortunate question of which year was her birth year, to her fast reply “F*#k Da!” There is no way she will divulge this information to me, even as a Grand Daughter. 

It was in the early 1920’s the story would have began, by long journey aross ocean Maevs father arrived on Norfolk Island by wooden sailing ship. Imagination runs wild picturing the arrival at the jetty on Norfolk at Kingston, I picture it to be very similar to Bounty Day in which we re-enact the landing in a long boat. Their legs would have been weary, for hours if not days once on land.  It was here he fell in love with my Great Grand Mother Louisa Heagar Christian ‘Ma’ and together they had two children, William (Bill) Blucher and Mavis Millicent. Heagar then married sweet heart George Starr and it is Starr we all hold so dearly. 

Heagar is of strong Norfolk character and appearance, when lining up photographs of Heagar, Maev, Karlene, Carli and Great Grand Daughter Aurora the resemblances are vivid.  Ma was friends with re-known Author Colleen McCullough and owned all signed editions of Cols novels, and these days her Great Granddaughter Carli is host of the tour to Cols homestead. 

During her prime years of Tahitian dancing Maev sailed throughout the Pacific Islands by sail boat, visiting distant relatives, sharing her passion and our Norfolk Island ways. During the 80’s and 90’s with husband Gill Hitch they opened a restaurant with focus on local cuisine called The Polynesian, here Maev and daughter Karlene danced with their European appearance partners Gill and Jack for the tourist and it was a huge hit. The nights would be sell-out shows and in high demand. Maev was also an entertainer at the iconic Kingfisher Hotel of Anson Bay, Paradise Hotel at Kingston and many of shows which would be arranged by locals near and far. 

Today Maev says ‘she’s retired’ her oil paintings are printed onto gift cards for tourist, her book Ghosts of Norfolk sells at book stores and her husband’s book Pacific War is also distributed and is a great selling amongst visiting tourist who are interested in Norfolk past involvement with the World Wars 1 and 2 or our unique ghost stories. Now living alone, husband Gill past away some years back now, his head stone is located in the Norfolk Cemetery at Kingston alongside Heagar, Daddy Bill and her Grandson Mitta. Norfolk has no aged care facilities, the locals of an elderly age stay independent for many of years, driving, cooking and they’d still like to say working each day. 

Maev’s three children Kim, Adam and Karlene all reside on Norfolk, spending ample time alongside their mother who is a regular amongst the cafe scene through Burnt Pine. Today as we sit outside The Black Rock Cafe son Adam jokes how Maev always claimed she found him in the cabbage patch and has never admitted to having children. 

Each Sunday morning with great long time friends Eddie and Margie Christian the three head off like the Three Musketeers to Chapel Service, followed by cups of tea and hours of laughter together The elderly community of Norfolk have a strong bond, from birth many on Norfolk remain close their whole lives and be sure to ring each other daily to check up and have giggles. 

Such is Life, this lifestyle we live! It is a blessing and it’s such an honour to be of blood line to such a magnificent woman. There is a few things Mumma has always told me in life,  “Never leave home in dull underwear”, “always wear a touch of makeup to enhance what you naturally have” and to “be you.”



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