Author(s): MEME CHURTON
Meme Churton is very well known throughout the arts community, the business community through her marriage to Jock Churton of Fletcher Construction and to the many thousands of students she has taught at Auckland University. This is a unique autobiography by a remarkable woman who tells the story of her amazing life in vivid, personal detail. Meme is half-Italian and half-Chinese and this unusual combination has coloured her personality and the course of her life. Growing up in Italy, she lived through the rise of Fascism and the Second World War. Next she went to China and, while working as a diplomat, found herself in the midst of the Chinese Revolution. Then she travelled to the other side of the world at the invitation of a New Zealand soldier whom she had met at the end of the war. Meme was shocked by the curiously old-fashioned and provincial way of life she found in 1950s New Zealand, but for various reasons she stayed, got married, and became involved in a variety of campaigns to enlarge its culture. She managed one of the first dealer art galleries, started one of its first European-style coffee bars, championed international cuisine, promoted fashion for women, and taught Italian language and culture at the University of Auckland. Meme's account offers rich insights into New Zealand social history and entertaining stories about the colourful people with whom she worked and partied. Her memoir is brilliantly written, vivid and fast-moving, and has a breath-taking reach and depth. With an unforgettable personality, Meme is vivacious, charismatic, and frank in her opinions - and she has a unique perspective enriched by her inside knowledge of three cultures. She is a great storyteller with a wealth of absorbing stories to tell.