Nanny Myra Berghan: 90 years of great achievements celebrated

By D'Angelo Martin

Myra Berghan recently celebrated her 90th birthday at Mahimaru Marae in Awanui in Northland, surrounded by her whānau and close friends. She is a stalwart, along with many others, who helped establish the Kohanga Reo movement in Te Hiku o Te Ika during the early 1980s, starting at her marae of Mahimaru.

"This is a very special day for me, for all of us celebrating this day and all of our kaimahi of this whare," Nanny Myra Berghan (Ngāi Takoto) says, expressing her aroha at her birthday celebration earlier this week.

She stands as a mother figure to many and remains a backbone for her whānau of the Far North community. She is also known for her various voluntary positions.

"A lot of people regard her as Mumsy. In fact, in her 80th birthday, that's what she's termed, Mumsy, and that's because she treats everyone like her children," Carol Berghan, Nanny Myra's daughter, says.

Lisa McNab of Te Paatu says, "Every time I've been here at Mahimaru, Aunty Myra has been the unflappable kaikaranga at the door, her influence to grow into bigger, better and brighter."

In 1988, Nanny Myra received her Q.S.M. award for recognition of her contribution to the Far North community as a Kohanga Reo assessor in Kaitāia. 

Mere Mangu of Ngāpuhi descent recognises Nanny Myra as a strong and independent woman and says what she has done does not go unnoticed. She says Nanny Myra is someone who represents not just Muriwhenua but Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu.

Faithful to Te Hāhi Mihinare, Nanny Myra has continuously played a core role in the old Awanui Anglican Church.

Bishop Kito Pikaahu acknowledged her at her birthday, "What I was saying today, she is the exemplar of truth, faith and love. That's why I say Myra is one of the main matriarchs of the Anglican Church in the North."

Nanny Myra says, "Hopefully, I'll just keep going,"