Sister Makareta Gilbert sm, formerly known as Sr Basil, died suddenly in Whangarei at the home of her sister Amelia Kanara on 9 September, just months short of her diamond jubilee.
Sister was born and baptised in Waihou, Hokianga on 4 July 1932. Her primary education was at St Joseph’s school in Panguru. She studied at secondary level through the Correspondence School while helping to look after her younger siblings.
At 19 Sr Makareta entered the novitiate of the Marist Sisters in Karori and spent most of her life as a teacher in New Zealand and Australia. She taught in the convent schools of Putaruru, Karori, Mt Albert, Waitaruke (Northland) Herne Bay, Merrylands, (NSW), Burwood (Vic).
After her return to NZ she took up a position in Rawene State School and taught there for four years. She then moved into pastoral work in Kaikohe, Matata and Tawa/Porirua where her contribution was greatly valued.
Sr Makareta lived life with a passion and was especially dedicated to teaching and living Maori spirituality. She gave selflessly to her community with constant acts of kindness accompanied with a smile.
Her sense of humour was one of her most endearing qualities. Her last appointment was to Tawa and the little church of Te Ngakau Tapu on the hill, a parish specially dedicated to Maori pastoral care. Here she made a valuable contribution to the life of the parish and is ‘sorely missed.’ Makareta lay in state at the marae in Waihou, near Panguru in the north Hokianga before being buried in front of the neighbouring church.
Makareta loved greatly and was loved in return. She was to have celebrated her diamond jubilee in January.
E te whaea tapu, e moe, e moe, e moe i te aroha o te Ariki.