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Eleitino Paddy Walker

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2 Freyberg Place

Eleitino Paddy Walker is acknowledged in the Ellen Melville Hall for her service to the community as the first female Pacific Island Auckland City Councillor and for her advocacy roles for Pacific women and for peace. This was Paddy's second career, her first was in fashion.

Born in Pago Pago in American Samoa in 1916, she arrived at St Cuthbert's boarding school at the age of 10, with only a suitcase and a ukulele. Later, as a young mother of two in Christchurch, she was compelled to find work when her husband arrived back from the war in the Pacific with tuberculosis and was unable to work. Her keen interest in clothes emboldened her to approach Sir James Hay of Hays Department Store where she informed him that she wished to work in fashion. Although she had no training or experience Sir James, like so many since, succumbed to her charm and she became the store’s first fashion coordinator, helping with the collections and organising the seasonal fashion parades.

Before Paddy Walker arrived on the scene, fashion parades were very sedate affairs with the models simply promenading to show off the garment. Paddy changed all that, taking rhythm, structure and musical expression to create dynamic choreographed fashion parades. They became "must-see" occasions for fashionable women./p>

When the family moved to Auckland in 1952, Paddy devised and choreographed the parades for Milne and Choyce, for many Charity events and for the Royal visits in 1954 and 1963. She trained her models in her style of presentation changing the way fashion was shown and was seen.

Read more at http://www.nzfashionmuseum.org.nz/paddy-walker/

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