The year was 1989. I had made it past being a third former at Bayfield High School and was now entering the Fourth Form Year.  One of my first classes was German. I remember opening up the door and seeing the other students in the class and  sitting at a desk opposite the door was the new girl. I had a vague recollection her name was  Arawa or something like that. She had the loveliest long dark hair I had seen.  I ventured over to sit beside her and we struck up a conversation, and I became quite taken with the new girl. She was friendly and kind and we got on really well. Greer came to join us later and I remember we would all be sitting together at German class.  I found out that she had a brother and sister at Bayfield as well. Her sister Laniet struck up a friend ship with my sister and they would often stay at each others houses.  Her brother David was in the Choir and Madrigal Choir with me. The next year Arawa joined the choir as well. About this time her talents for the stage started to shine and in her 6th form year she became involved in Theatre Sports, in which her infectious smile and wit  caught on very quickly. This led her to be cast in one of the speaking roles in the 1991 production of Grease, in whiche she played Blanche, the ditzy secretary to the Principal of Rydell High School. This was uncommon to give 6th formers main roles in school productions as they usually go to 7th formers, but Arawa displayed such talent and was therefore chosen to be in this role. And she carried it off beautifully. In fact I still have the video of the production here at my house. I watch it sometimes and laugh at Arawa - she was so funny and did such a great job. She outshone every one in that production.

Arawa was quite a quiet girl and flew under the radar, but everyone knew who she was and she was friends with everyone. She had a kindness that emanated from her and a very stoic graciousness that hid the pain in her heart. She never seemed to let it bother her and she carried on her days at school just as usual. She liked to keep things to herself, only venturing to confide in Kirsten at times. Arawa never spoke ill of anyone and was always there with a smile to help others.  Arawa kept on with theatre sports and they were quite successful in the Otago area at competitions.

1992 was the final year at Bayfield for us.  Arawa was cast as as Flavius Maximus in the school show Rinse the Blood of my Toga, a spoof of Shakespeares Julius Caesar.  Her delivery of the awful puns and clever jokes was flawless and she was the highlight of the show. It was no surprise when Arawa was nominated Head Girl. This was a nomination that was applauded by all.

Who would of thought 2 years later that we would be atttending her funeral. It was all so surreal. Lovely Arawa was gone. Her talent wiped out and her smile distinguished.