Monday, October 31, 2016

RIP Zita Flego

Dante member Gianni Flego remembers his grandmother Zita who passed away on 23 October aged 98. Zita emigrated to New Zealand in the early 50s, first to Taupo and then to Auckland where she was one of the historic members and volunteers of the Dante Auckland, and held the Society's President title in the 70s and 80s. 

Addio Zita, che ti sia lieve la terra.


















The following text is in Italian and English (please scroll down for English).


Zita Flego era nata il 20 Aprile 1918 a Muggia, un paese adesso in provincia di Trieste, in una famiglia di 8 figli, 5 femmine e 3 maschi.

Si era sposata nel 1938 con Eugenio Flego, che era stato inviato al fronte russo e naturalmente Zita aveva pensato di non rivederlo mai più. Pensando a come sopravvvivere senza di lui, aveva pensato di iscriversi a un corso di economia domestica a Padova, dove ha preso una diploma. Durante questo periodo aveva ricevuto la notizia che lui era ancora vivo ed era quindi tornata a Trieste.

Alla fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, Trieste era un territorio contestato e la situazione politica era molto instabile, e i soldati neozelandesi erano stati mandati la` per mantenere la pace. Sua sorella Nilda ha allora incontrato e sposato un soldato neozelandese e si e` spostata a Taupo con lui. Zita con Eugenio e i loro 2 figli Manlio e Steno li hanno seguiti nel 1952.

In quei giorni Taupo era un mondo nuovo, le strade non asfaltate, senza elettricità, senza telefoni. La cosa più difficile era che Zita non parlava inglese. Tra le poche cose che avevano portato c'era una macchina di cucire a pedale e cosi` ha cominciato a fare la sarta. Non era una problema che non parlava inglese, fintanto che una signora poteva mostrare una foto di cosa voleva, lei poteva farlo.

Eugenio era un maestro di scuola in Italia ma senza inglese quella carriera era finita. Sembrava ci fossero più opportunità di lavoro ad Auckland, e cosi` si sono spostati dopo poco tempo.

Zita ha continuato a fare la sarta e eventualmente ha cominciato una piccola impresa e impiegato un paio di donne per fare vestiti eleganti per un negozio chiamato "Tarantella" a Vulcan Lane.

Nel 1965, una tragedia: Eugenio e` morto in un incidente d'auto. Adesso doveva continuare da sola, e con l'aiuto del figlio Manlio ha deciso di cominciare una sua etichetta "Moda Bella". L'impresa e` cresciuta bene fino ad impiegare 22 sarte, e ha cominciato anche una scuola di disegno dove ha insegnato il suo metodo e ha aiutato tanti stilisti di moda di quel tempo.

Dopo tanti anni di questo lavoro lo stress era diventato troppo e cosi` ha deciso di chiudere e smettere di lavorare. Adesso aveva tempo di fare altre cose e ha fatto tanti viaggi nel mondo. E` rimasta sempre appassionata della sua cultura italiana e e` stata socia attiva della Dante Alighieri ad Auckland, ha fatto parte del comitato ed e` anche stata presidente negli anni 70 e 80. E` ritornata in Italia ogni due o tre anni per visitare i parenti e le e` sempre piaciuto rivedere Muggia, l'ultima volta aveva 88 anni!

Lei ha sempre lavorato sodo con grande forza di volontà, e la sua cucina era straordinaria! Ha coltivato sempre un orto italiano a casa a Mt Albert, dove ha cresciuto radicchio, pomodori e fichi provenienti dall' Italia.


Purtroppo le è stato diagnosticato l'Alzheimer sette anni fa, ed e` andata ad abitare col figlio Steno e sua moglie Mary nella loro casa dove si sono presi cura di lei fino alla fine.

Gianni Flego

Nonna, Zita My grandmother. born in 1918 in a small town of Muggia part of Trieste Italy. She was one of eight siblings 3 boys and 5 girls.
Married in 1938 Her husband Eugenio was sent to the Russian front and Zita naturally thought that she would never see him again. Thinking of how best to provide for her then one toddler Manlio she decided to study home economics and enrolled at the university of Padua where she gained her diploma.  Whilst still studying at Padua she received news that her husband was infact alive and returning home. This news was so overwhelming that she just dropped everything and travelled to meet him.
At the end of the war Trieste was a disputed territory and the political situation was very unstable. New Zealand troops were assigned to keep  peace in Trieste. Her sister Nilda met and married a NZ soldier and came to live in NZ with Zita, Eugenio and her two boys following her in 1952.
Taupo in 1952 was a whole new world. No sealed roads, no electricity, no telephones. But hardest of all was not being able to speak english.
In her possessions Zita had brought a treadle sewing machine and with that started to dress make. it did not matter that she could not speak English  As long as the client showed her a picture of what they wanted she would make it.
Her husband Eugenio was a school headmaster back in Italy but without english that was the end of that career.  Job prospects for her husband seemed so much better in Auckland so before long they shifted to Auckland.
Zita carried on with her dressmaking and eventually opened a small workroom where she employed just a few seamstresses to make high fashion gowns exclusively for a shop called Tarantella in Vulcan lane.
Tragedy struck in 1965 when she lost her husband in a car accident.
Now having to cope on her own she decided to take the next step, and with the help of her eldest son Manlio set up her own high fashion label - Moda Bella. What was a little workroom became quite a sizable operation employing up to 22 seamstresses.
Concurrently she also set up a school of fashion and design where she taught her unique method of pattern draughting, helping many fashion designers of that time with their careers.
 Many years passed and the stress and strain of the fashion industry began to take its toll. Eventually she decided to close the operation and retire.
After the tragic loss of her husband Zita remained on her own for the rest of her life. Having closed the fashion manufacturing and discontinuing with the school of fashion design she had time for other activities. Always proud of her Italian culture she involved herself and was president of the Dante Alighieri Society in Auckland. 
 She loved travelling and over the years she enjoyed many overseas tours of course always returning to Muggia every couple of years to be with her family.
Zita was a very humble, practical and very strong willed lady. Hard work, conservation, recycling, and saving were her traits - and her cooking was amazing. She was always in her garden growing her beans, tomatoes, radicchio, lettuce, not forgetting all her fruit and citrus trees.
Sadly about 7 years ago she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease so many stories she had to tell remain untold.
Living alone was no longer an option. Her other son Steno and wife Mary took her into their home, looked after her, cared for her, and loved her to the end. 

Gianni Flego

1 comment:

  1. Mi dispiace non averla mai conosciuta...sembra una persona splendida e forte, con un passato avvincente. Grazie per aver condiviso la sua storia con noi...

    ReplyDelete

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