The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Adrienne Haberfield Obituary - 20th Dec 2014


On Saturday 29 November, Adrienne was farewelled by her loving family, friends, and members of dancing societies, fellow Academy members and current dancers in a memorable and moving service. She was piped from the church by Jamie Hawke to Lord of the Dance as her casket was led through a huge guard of honour consisting of local highland dancers, and Adrienne’s modern and jazz pupils. Before the hearse left, Annabel Watts and ParisThormanperformed a Sean Triubhas.

Adrienne commenced Highland, Ballet and Tap dancing at age three and a half with Betty Washington (nee Carnochan (the first Director of the Technical Committee). When Miss Carnochan moved overseas, Adrienne studied and completed her examinations with Miss Muriel Waugh and Mrs Jeanie Paton. I am sure it was these early teachers who inspired Adrienne to be the active member she was.

Adrienne belonged to many dancing organisations throughout her life, either in a teaching or administration role. She served as President and Secretary of the Balmoral Club; she was Life Member and Current Patron of Canterbury West Coast Centre Piping and Dancing Association, and had previously held the role of President, and Life Member Canterbury Caledonian. And, Adrienne had been a member of the New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing for 54 years.

Adrienne first became a member of the executive in 1984-86, and then again from 2001 until her passing. The last Executive Meeting was at the beginning of November, and although unwell, Adrienne in her true stoic manner still made a valuable contribution.

A phrase Adrienne often used was - she was privileged to serveon Executive – it was us as Academy members, who were privileged to have Adriennein that role. She was always very well prepared for our long meetings, and never shied away from undertaking any resultant work or projects. Her knowledge of the Academy and its members past and present was extensive and so helpful to all of us on many occasions.

Adrienne continued her love of all forms of dance throughout her life, and still had a school of over 60 pupils. Adrienne was a passionate advocate of dance andwas much admired as a teacher, mentor and friend to her many pupils, both past and present.

Adrienne was a giver in every sense of the word. She was gracious, had integrity, vibrant, enthusiastic, and respectful. If you asked anyone to describe Adrienne’s qualities – they would undoubtedly all come up with the same.

Adrienne had amazing energy and numerousqualities – many members having benefitted from them.
• Superb host – loved having members to stay and nothing was a bother.
• Never made a decision in haste – always considered and ensuring she had all the facts.
• Never a bad word to say about anyone.
• I’ve been told - the best camp mother ever at Summer School.
• Great baker and provider of food. Examiner’s lunches, and even coming to Executive Meetings in Wellington, she would bring soup and baking in her case. After a bumpy flight, she would say – I hope the soup is okay!
• Conferences – she loved attending these and catching up with old friends and on the Saturday night function - to dance and enjoy the moment. Even this year in Invercargill, she was on the dance floor.

Adrienne’s contribution to dancing was never for self-gain, rather it was to her, a duty to ensure a loyal, strong and unified future for highland dancing in New Zealand.

We thank the family for allowing us to share Adrienne over so many years – there will only ever be one Adrienne and we will miss her.

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