Maria Annette Spicer


Maria Annette Spicer (1872 - 1948) was the ninth child and fifth daughter of Archibald Hitchins Spicer his wife and Harriett Elizabeth nee Preece. The family lived in Auckland.

Always known as "Marnie", she was a person of great vivacity and creative energy. She was ten years old when her father died.

Marnie worked in the Deeds Registry Office in Wellington before transferring to Auckland. She was fluent in the Maori language and was often called upon to do translations.

She never married.

Marnie was a keen photographer and developed and printed her own photographs. She was a keen traveller and kept a journal. She attended the Marsden Centennial in 1914 and the Treaty of Waitangi Centennial (in period dress) in 1940. She contributed photographs and articles to magazines about her adventures. She wrote verse, some of which was printed. She gave historical talks on the Auckland radio station 1ZB.

Marnie researched her Preece and Spicer family history and met various branches of the family in New South Wales and England. She complied a Spicer family tree which appears to reach back to the "Volunteer Soldiers" of the Norman conquest.

Marnie was President of the New Zealand Pioneers and Descendants Club. She gave talks about the pioneering days to many different societies, sometimes (being a tiny woman) wearing the dresses which her missionary grandmother had worn. She was a staunch member of the Anglican Church. She was a foundation member of the Auckland Choral Society. She was a member of the Penwomen’s Club, the Lyceum Club, the Howick Historical Society and the Red Cross Society.

Marnie’s life-long interest in New Zealand’s early history has led to the preservation of many significant artifacts. Much of Marnie’s collection was bequeathed to the Old Colonists’ Museum. Unfortunately a great deal has been lost. Most of the papers however were eventually deposited in the Auckland Public Library and the Auckland Institute and Museum Library. Some documents are kept by family members. Letters and documents from these collections have been transcribed and form the basis of the book, "Marnie Spicer’s Bequest". Marnie was leaving her Howick home, about to travel in to Auckland to give a talk on Radio 1ZB’s Women’s Hour, when she died, aged seventy-six. She was a delightful woman.

Look at other parts of the Preece story by following the link to the Index page.