‘Passionate’ former Mayor’s story told

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Eve Poole during her tenure as Invercargill Mayor, a position she held from 1983-1992. Her daughter Vivienne Allen's book Leading Lady: Eve Poole, A Life in the Spotlight will be launched tomorrow. Photos: Supplied

EVE Poole (1924-1992) had many achievements in her life woman to run for the Invercargill City Council (ICC), the first one to be elected and the first female mayor of the city.

She was instrumental in the construction of the Invercargill Public Library and also brought the Christmas lights tradition to the city.

Those were just a few of the initiatives she introduced her daughter Vivienne Allen has put her mother’s story on paper in a book about the former mayor.

“She had a lot of passion for what she did and she wanted to improve the city so a lot of things that exist there now are due to her tenacity.”

Mrs Allen said she always wanted to write a book about her mother, but there was never a right time.

In 2017, when her family house in Invercargill “burned to the ground” she decided it was time.

“My sister and I went back there to see what was left point for me. It needed to be done.”

From there, she started a journey delving into her mother’s past.

Eve Poole and her daughters Michele and Vivienne in 1968.

Mrs Allen interviewed fellow councillors, actors and people who had met her mother.

She also went to Germany and Israel to find out more about her mother’s earlier years.

Mrs Poole (nee Auerbach) was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, with her family in 1932.

From 1939 to 1945 she served in the British Eighth Army as a driver in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and there she met her husband, Vernon Poole, who was a tank commander in the 20th Battalion of the 2nd New Zealand Division.

They married in Cairo, Egypt, and after the war, moved to Invercargill to pursue a better life for their family.

“When someone chooses to come to a country or to a town, it is very different than someone who is born and bred there. I have the feeling when you’re born in a place you take it for granted,” Mrs Allen said.

“When my mother came here she came straight from the war to the peace and tranquillity of New Zealand.

“She used to say that everyone here was lucky and they needed to value that. She was very passionate about this country and Invercargill.”

Mrs Allen said her mother was so passionate she decided to stand for council in the 1970s.

“A lot of people were not happy about that. They did not think women should be in public life.

“I was able to see things from a different perspective. As she was my mother, I saw her through a different lens than a reporter, or a fellow actor or a fellow councillor.”

“We had a very special relationship. I admire her tenacity, hugely.”

Mrs Allen’s book Leading Lady: Eve Poole, A Life in the Spotlight will be launched at the Invercargill Public Library at 5pm tomorrow.

Mrs Allen and her sister Michele Poole will attend the launch which will be presented by Lindsay Abbott and will include a speech from former ICC chief executive Richard King.

“My mother used to say the library was her biggest achievement so it is very special for me be able to launch the book there.”

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