Take one stylish, unfulfilled woman with dramatic ambitions and perfectionist tendencies, and one alienated and disappointed soldier returned from World War Two. Give them a disabled son and a lively, rebellious daughter. Put them in a State house in west Auckland and learn of their upwardly mobile steps and unfolding ambitions. Add years of speech and drama lessons for the daughter, send her to a posh high school, and you might end up with someone like Lois Livingston.
Posthumously awarded a QSM for her services to the community, Lois met numerous challenges in her life, mostly head on. Twice married and twice divorced, the ambitious schoolteacher turned broadcaster turned producer, actor, politician, salesperson, and activist, lived a roller coaster life—rich one day, flat broke the next. The Lois Tapes is the story of her journey see-sawing from the company of influential and powerful friends and colleagues to the local hoi polloi. Lois was at ease whatever the company.
Real life is rarely how it appears on the surface. Lois’s was no exception. Seemingly as cool as a cucumber, optimistic and unflappable, she suffered decades of crippling anxiety, raised two daughters mostly singlehandedly, fell in and out of love, and restlessly followed her ambitions wherever they took her. She was a committed environmentalist, a heritage and community advocate. She fought battles in an attempt to make her community and the world a better place. She mentored those close to her—subtly teaching the arts of the politic and the protest. She feared no person, but she had fears and foibles like anyone else.
We shared parallel journeys. She was my friend, mentor, boss, colleague, and comrade in arms. I have played a part in some of her adventures. This is a story of her triumphs and failures, of movement and energy, a life lived large. She inspired mixed emotions in the people who knew her: love and admiration in most who knew her well. Love her or hate her, Lois was a woman not easily forgotten.||