Just before New Year’s, the Kapiti Coast lost one of the most respected and loved members of the Paekakariki community: Jacquie Baxter, also known as recognised poet and short story writer JC Sturm.
This coming Friday 22 January at 2pm all are invited to a community memorial service and celebration of Jacquie Baxter’s life and writing at the Memorial Hall on The Parade, Paekakariki.
The service will include performances and readings from celebrated local poets and musicians including Glen Colquhoun, Hinemoana Baker, Apirana Taylor and Michael O’Leary. Attendees are asked to bring a flower towards the farewell, and a plate of food towards afternoon tea.
Born in Opunake in 1927 Jacquie Baxter is of Taranaki and Whakatohea descent and had lived in Paekakariki for many years.
One of the first Maori women to obtain a university degree in 1949, JC Sturm’s short stories featured in select journals throughout the 1950s and 60s and, amongst other firsts for Maori writers, she was the first Maori writer to be published in an anthology. A collection of her short stories was finally published in 1983. She is best known as a poet for her books Dedications, which won a Poetry Honour Award at the 1997 Montana New Zealand Book Awards, and Postscripts. A collection of stories and poems The Glass House followed in 2006.
The widow of poet James K Baxter, Jacquie Baxter’s later life was also kept busy as his literary executor. She later remarried the late academic Peter Alcock who also lived in Paekakariki. In the last couple of years Jacquie had been living with her granddaughter Stephanie Baxter and whanau. Stephanie also sadly passed away late last year and will be remembered at the service. Jacquie is survived by her son John and daughter Hilary, and their whanau.