Sylvia Constance Ashton-Warner
, (December 17 1908
- April 28 1984
), New Zealand writer
, was born on December 17, 1908, in Stratford, New Zealand
. She spent many years teaching Māori
children, using stimulating and often pioneering techniques which she wrote about in her 1963 treatise Teacher
and in the various volumes of her autobiography. Her success derived from a commitment to "releasing the native imagery and using it for working material" and her belief that communication must produce a mutual response in order to affect a lasting change. As a novelist, she produced several works mostly centred around strong female characters. Her novel Spinster
(1958) was made into the 1961 film Two Loves
(also known as The Spinster
) starring Shirley MacLaine
. She was awarded an MBE
for services to education and literature.
Ashton-Warner died on April 28, 1984, in Tauranga. Her life story was adapted for the 1985 biographical film Sylvia, based on her work and writings, and she was honoured at the University of Auckland—the institution at which she trained between 1928 and 1929—where the Faculty of Education library was named the Sylvia Ashton-Warner Library in 1987.
"You must be true to yourself. Strong enough to be true to yourself. Brave enough to be strong enough to be true to yourself. Wise enough to be brave enough to be strong enough to shape yourself from what you actually are"