Catherine Vosper (Cat)
1976 to 1980
Dynamic, purposeful, energetic, vibrant and quite silly – there are not many adjectives that don’t fit this young lady! Cat – (Cathy at school).
During her five years here Cat was involved (in her own words) “in anything going”: choir, music lessons (one of my memories was Cat and a group singing ‘Cecila’ at assembly), debating, obtaining a chorus part in every school production there was, school council, representation at local community council meetings (John Doel from the Esperanto Restaurant spearheaded a “what shall we do with our youth?” program in Matamata, and this of course was an assignment that captured Cat’s interest, not that much more than a skaterink was accomplished) . Descended from a few generations of Matamata college graduates, Cat was expected to uphold the family tradition of pranksterisms ... while exhorting the fourth form class in its entirety to crouch in closed cupboards in an effort to evade a Mr Court science lecture, she accepts that the king of stylish pranksters belongs to Hansen Ihle and his amendment of the large School motto sign: ‘Pour Servir’ above the School Hall.
As well as everything cultural, Cat was a very talented sportswoman; athletics, swimming, cricket, bronze cross lifesaving, and of course our beloved netball, were all her passions. Sprint training with Mr Fenton, out to the golf course to sprint up the hills – yeah right! The excitement of track meets and the nerves before races! Crisp winter mornings at College with inter-school competitions are very fondly remembered, they must have been a nightmare to organise, but she takes her hat off to the organisers who provided so many students with a busy weekend of travel and enabling us to make connections with our peers throughout the Waikato. We were always very proud to be one of the top Waikato netball teams. Netball trips to nationals with Miss Sanderson, Miss Lamb, and often Mrs Butler, were a highlight.
Her favourite memories in the classroom are Miss Harvey’s great dress sense and her demand that Cat live up to the Vosper family tradition for inventive excuses for lateness. Leonie Somerville’s exercises for young women which were a precursor to the gym craze that swept NZ in the 80’s and imbued us all with a firm sense of self-esteem. Jennifer Hamilton having the entire 4th form class of farmers kids up on chairs and desks reading Hamlet with gusto. Elegant mathematics with Ross Parsonage, incomprehensible physics (sorry – completely my fault) and in the early years fun with Mrs Shirley Frew in sewing – oh how proud I was for any word of praise there! Thank you to the Board of Trustees of the period managing beautiful grounds and facilities for us all.
With all this cultural and sporting involvement and as well an intellectual, it was inevitable that Cat would win the post of head girl in her final year. Certainly 1980 was a year where the 7th Form left their mark with Cat and Howard Tiddy and Andrew Ayers as their leaders. A new 7th form Common Room was completed in what was the west end of the “A” block. It had a stove! It had sofas! A kettle! Luxury, compared to the old hall common room suffered by students before them.
1981 Cat left Matamata for Victoria University where she graduated with a Law Degree. Following a number of years working in the legal field Cat got into winemaking – she is another of Matamata’s wine making success stories (Kim Crawford, Michelle Richardson, Simon Nunns all from Matamata and feature in the world of wine!) Cat says she fell into the world of food and wine almost by accident and is now having a “ball”. She and her family put their roots down on Waiheke Island and developed their world renowned Miro Vineyard. This success sums up Cat’s talent and gusto.
Cat travels extensively to many wine-making regions worldwide – Spain being one of the favourites. Her website http://www.mirovineyard.co.nz is a fabulous read and certainly makes one think a trip to Waiheke Island would be worth it just to eat and hangout at Miro Vineyard and Restaurant! Currently Cat has a new food production business with Chef Justin Scheihing and is learning about charcuterie and food labelling laws. Her interests also include architecture and mosaics and human pyramids.
Miro is a port of call for worldwide visitors and there are many stories to tell. Her current favourite is her daughter, Miro, hula-hooping with some customers in the olive grove – the customers turned out to be Pink Floyd. As a result they received a family invitation to the Pink Floyd concert in Auckland.
Not only is Cat a fulltime restaurateur, has a hand in wine making, grows organic produce for the restaurant, she and husband Barnett have three kids – two sons and a daughter.