Mrs Elizabeth (Betty) Noffke, is to receive a Queen’s Service Medal for services to music. One of the best-known musical identities in our area, Betty became a registered music teacher in the early 1980s and over the years has taught piano to many young people of Blockhouse Bay and the surrounding areas.
Betty convened the West Auckland Student Performers Group for many years to improve access to performance opportunities for young students in the area, and launched the West Auckland Performing Arts Competitions (WAPAC) in 1990.
Through her 30-year involvement with the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre where she has also been an active committee member for the entire time, Betty, along with Robyn Barnaby, the Centre manager at the time, led the initiative to acquire a performance-standard grand piano (1990) for the Centre for the staging of WAPAC.
The addition of the piano made the Community Centre very popular with music teachers from far and wide who would hold their concerts there. Betty recalls, “There were some huge concerts, with people just about sitting on the window ledges there were so many. For a long time we also did lunchtime concerts with our local people.”
For many years, Betty produced an annual musical play performance at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre, including arranging music, making costumes, and fabricating sets for the play. She also fondly recalls organising a couple of “Elizabethan” evenings for the community in the early 1990s, the inspiration for which came from a trip to the UK. “It was great fun,” she recalls. “People dressed up and paid to go to the dinner, and we sang items during the evening.”
Betty was elected to the Institute of Registered Music Teachers (IRMT) Board in the late 1980s, and also spent 12 years on the National Council. She convened the centennial conference in Auckland in 2002 for which she also compiled and wrote a history of IRMT in Auckland.
Betty spent 11 years writing a book, A distinguished New Zealand Tenor, a biography about her father Ramon Opie, also a QSM for services to music. She also spoke about her father’s life and works on the Blockhouse Bay Living History Project DVD at the Blockhouse Bay Library.
Betty continues to teach a studio of piano students from beginners to accomplished learners.