Nan has lived such a full life that her apartment at Remuera Gardens is full of photos, newspaper articles and music programmes. Her mind is still razor-sharp so she remembers all the details of her successful career, with periods in England, Australia, SE Asia and New Zealand which included broadcasting, recitals, adjudicating and lecturing.
When she was a young woman, Nan was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, where she studied under Norman Greenwood and many other distinguished musicians. This was the start of a very fulfilling career that has included solo recitals at St. Martin in the Fields in London and St. John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong.
If music was always her passion equally was her beloved husband, Stuart Brine. Stuart’s dream had always been to sail around the world in his own yacht. He retired early, and the couple had a beautiful purpose built 43 foot yacht assembled in Taiwan, which they named “Morning Song” after a piece of music for Piano and small Chamber Orchestra by Arnold Bax.
“My husband taught me sailing when he was courting me!”, says Nan with a big smile. Knowing that Nan wouldn’t survive without her music for long, Stuart asked the yacht company to fit a full-sized upright piano in the boat’s main saloon.
In 1984 they finally embarked on their round–the–world adventure. Although leaving in bright sunlight they were soon battling Force 10 gales and 40 foot confused waves into a typhoon, for five days. Forbidden by the Army to return to any port, and with Chinese and Taiwanese guns trained on them, they had to press on to Hong Kong. ‘’At one point our mast and all sails were in the water and the piano was hanging over my head. I was entombed below and I didn’t know whether my husband and crewman were still aboard. Finally on the fifth day Stuart was able to get the hatch open and we were able to turn right out of the Taiwan Strait, and Nan was able to helm her to a berth near the Floating Fish Restaurant at Aberdeen. Stuart looked terribly thin and frail and finally succumbed to an infection that he had picked up in Taiwan.”
It was two years before Nan could sell the boat and be able to buy a home in New Zealand. With encouragement from family and friends Nan gradually picked up the threads of her life.
Music gave her back her strength, and she was able to encourage advanced students again.
Having had this incredible life, Nan has so many memories that it’s impossible to fit them all in an article, but she loves meeting new people and sharing with them the unbelievable adventures she’s lived. Nan still plays the piano and her passion for music and life is contagious. A lovely resident to be part of our tight-knit community at Remuera Gardens.