Aotearoa NZ Poetry Sound Archive (2004):
1. I am a Camera
2. My Love Will Come
3. Sing Loudly
4. Ronald Allison Kells Mason
5. Christmas Poem
7. War Baby
8. The Cherry Orchard
10. In Small Ways
11. Christ Mounted The Cross
12. Peace Flight Tahiti 1995
14. Facing the Sun
Bio / Bibliography:
Jennifer Margaret Barrer was born in Christchurch and was educated at Cashmere Primary School, Rangi Ruru Girls’ school and Christchurch Teachers’ College. She was married to Giles Goldsbrough and they a have daughter, Katharine. She was then married to John Blumsky; they have three children, Joseph, Peter and Sarah. Jennifer has worked as a professional actress and director in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Some of the roles she has played include: ‘Caitlin’ in Dylan; ‘Sonia’ in Uncle Vanya; ‘Gertrude’ in Hamlet; ‘Miranda’ in The Tempest; ‘Blanche du Bois’ in A Streetcar Named Desire; ‘Jo’ in Little Women; ‘Polly Garter’ in Under Milkwood; and ‘Catherine’ in The Heiress. Jennifer also played ‘Katharine’ in the very first New Zealand television drama, a 40 minute adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew in 1963, and has appeared in films and on television since that time.
She has made videos on John Rangihau, Mervyn Thompson and the ‘Human Condition’. She directed the first full stage production of R.A.K. Mason’s Strait is the Gate in 1978 in Dunedin.
As a teacher, she taught at Cashmere Primary School, Thorrington School, Christchurch South Intermediate, Parnell School, Tamaki Intermediate, Point England School, St Helier’s School and was Head Teacher at Tuahiwi School. She encouraged her pupils in the creative arts and adapted the rigid syllabus of the 1960s, always keeping a piano in the classroom.
After teaching, she became the first New Zealand Director of the Standardised Patient Programme at the Christchurch School of Medicine from 19941999. In this role, she trained graduate and undergraduate trainee doctors in the art of doctor/patient communication skills. In 1995, she was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship and published a report, Under the Rainbow, which examines the patient/doctor perspective in medicine. For this undertaking, she interviewed 74 people in Canada, the United Sates, Ireland, Scotland, England and New Zealand.
Jennifer’s first poem was published when she was at school. Her poems have been published in Landfall, Climate and The Press. Although she wrote articles for the Auckland Weekly News as a teenager, her first literary cheque (for ten shillings and sixpence) was for preparing and reading book reviews on the 3YA Radio Children’s Programme for Arini Grennell when she was 11 years old. Her first book of poetry, describing a spiritual journey in the Ureweras, Te Rangianiwaniwa (The Rainbow), was published in 1988 by Nag’s Head Press. Subsequent publications have been: Follow the Sun (1992, Hazard Press) and Looking Up (1997, The Caxton Press).
In 2000, she co-wrote Grace Butler (a New Zealand landscape painter) with Neil Roberts for the Robert McDougall Art Gallery and published by the Christchurch City Council. In 2002, her poetry featured in With Our Eyes Open (Chrysalis Seed Trust), Big Sky (Shoal Bay Press) and in My Paradise: New Zealand writing about gardens (2003, Hazard Press).
As a fifth generation New Zealander, whose family arrived in 1838, Jennifer has been tamed by her one-acre paddock on the Port Hills. At her property, Fermoy, she has established a garden of peace with historic shrubs, trees and flowers. This has been a nurturing refuge for many writers, artists and her family over the years.