Real Life

Sisters act to win a wish

A weekly makeover dream comes true after tragedy.

By Vicky Tyler

These Auckland sisters are used to doing everything together, so when Louise Peters’ long-held wish to appear in a magazine was granted, there was no way she was posing without them.

Louise (53) won The Breeze ‘Win A Wish’ radio competition after she was nominated by her sister Bobbie Hanlon (49).

Bobbie’s emotional letter to The Breeze explained how their dad died – aged 43 after a stroke – when Louise was just 18, and she stepped into a parenting role alongside Mum for her two younger sisters. Middle sister Anna Sefuiva (now 52) had also left school to help nurse him.

Louise was able to provide financial support as she was working, and had to put her own life to one side.

Bobbie says Louise caught up with her education by going to night school for 10 years in her thirties, to qualify as an accountant, and is now studying for her masters. Sadly, tragedy struck again. Louise then nursed her mother through bowel and liver cancer, until she died in 2007.

Appearing in a magazine has always been on Louise’s bucket list, along with visiting China, bungee jumping and skydiving, which she and Bobbie are planning to do next year.

Louise’s habit of “photo bombing” at any opportunity has earned her the nickname “Where’s Wally” – and Bobbie was determined for her sister’s wish of a magazine appearance to come true. After entering Louise in the Win a Wish competition, Bobbie is thrilled to have played a major part in helping her sister realise her dream.

“I honestly didn’t expect it to ever come about when I entered the competition, but Louise has done so much for us and never claims any kudos for it, so I wanted to do something special for her,” says Bobbie.

“I was stunned when The Breeze rang – totally gobsmacked. It felt a bit surreal,” says Louise.

“It’s been very exciting. I’d never have thought of entering myself. It’s one of those things that happens to other people, never you – but it obviously does!” she smiles.

“I thought they would put Louise in a photo with The Two Robbies [The Breeze DJs Robert Rakete and Robert Scott],” says Bobbie.

“Or send her to an event that would appear in the back pages. I never expected a photoshoot and an interview! When we heard more about it, we realised it was a big deal – not a photo for Over The Teacups,” says Bobbie.

The trio certainly got more than they bargained for when the Weekly treated them to a glamorous makeover with a hair and make-up artist, and a stylist to help them choose a gorgeous dress each, which they got to keep. Louise wore a silver, 50s-style Carlson frock, Anna chose a City Chic black dress with a peplum waist, while Bobbie wore a chic dress with lace overlay from Max.

“We’ve had an amazing day. It wouldn’t be quite the same without the three of us being in the magazine together,” Louise said after the shoot.

The sisters, who all live within five minutes of each other in Grey Lynn, also spend beach holidays together. When Bobbie bought a house in Whangamata, Louise, Anna and their brother James (45) all bought shares in a nearby bach.

Bobbie continues to contribute to her family and the community. She has been a mentor with Project K, which helps build confidence and teach life skills to teenagers, and she is heavily involved with her nieces and nephews’ sports teams.

Despite her own significant sacrifices, Louise doesn’t feel any resentment.

“I don’t think I’ve given up so much, because I’ve got so much,” she says.

Vicky Tyler.

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