M2 grew up in New Zealand as the second of three girls. Her father, the son of a lawyer and lecturer at Otago University, had been a German Prisoner of War during WWII, who, aided by the Red Cross, completing his B Com while in the POW camp. Her mother, before her first marriage, did not work, and, from family scrap books, spent much time going to the races, balls and other social events. Living was grand and gracious. However, after her first husband was killed in action, she spent the rest of the war sewing items such as christening gowns, table linen, and other articles for sale to support herself and her young daughter.
With her two sisters, M2 attended a private girls’ school – with expectations that they would take a year off at the end of school, “go into nursing and marry a Canterbury farmer”. While her older sister was compliant, M2 thought she would like to be a doctor. Unfortunately this was made difficult by the school’s curriculum, which did not include either Physics or Chemistry. She had an ally, however, in a Maths teacher, who fought (unsuccessfully) for her to gain university accreditation at the end of Form 6. The other teachers would not allow it as her English was not considered to be of a higher enough standard. This meant she was unable to have a year in Form 7, which would have automatically given her access to a bursary with a living away from home allowance. Her family, however,realised she was not going to stay home for a year of socialisation and happily agreed to support her through university for as long as she wished.