Joanne Palmer (Robinson)

1976 to 1979

Born in Christchurch, Joanne began her school years at Matamata Primary school. 

Always interested in handwork and crafts, at Matamata Intermediate School she was inspired as she learnt from teacher Mary Ayers, and then in her College years, continuing with Shirley Frew.


Also enjoying music and singing, she participated in Musicals, “Pirates of Penzance, and “Oliver”, Choir, and Orchestra.  She gained University Entrance at the end of her 6th Form year.


Giving Piano accompaniment for her sister Pearl [flute] gave pleasure at community functions.  She gave music lessons to beginners; and participated as a leader in Children’s Camps .


At 16 years of age she was accepted and entered Auckland Teachers Training College, graduating with her Diploma in Home Economics.


After a year teaching at Matamata Intermediate School, she was invited by Principal Mr Chadderton to join him in his new appointment at Whangamata Area School, for her to establish a Home Economic Department.


An important beautiful event, December 1983, was her marriage to Wesley Palmer, of Auckland.  He being a keen photographer, and kayak enthusiast, living near Whangamata’s superb beaches was the place to be for the next few  years. They co led a Church Youth group.


A new venture to Melbourne, Australia came next to set up “Webz Framez”- custom picture framing, and later an aerial photography business, Skye Pics.

Jo took a position with Marie Claire, French Fashion designer, making exquisite and costly wedding gowns.


Later she moved into a Home Economics teaching position.


After some years, they moved north to the Gold Coast to set up   “Skye Pics QLD” .

Jo also set up a side line business named “Best Wishes” beautifully hand crafted cards.


Then came an interesting [amazing] experience.  They were renting a house at this time.

Their neighbour, a builder, called one day and showed them a “Home Beautiful” magazine advertising an Australian wide competition, he urged them to enter.

At the last week Jo entered a well presented, well written rhyme [poem] entry about why they would like to change from renting to owning their own home again.

Then there was a Sydney mail strike, but it did arrive!!  Imagine their surprise and excitement when the call came to say they had won a block of land, a brick house to be built and a selection of white ware. They, and their 3 children each wrote a gratitude thank you letter and were treated well at their presentation evening.   This they are still enjoying many years later.



2002 another great experiences. Wes, while giving a small business lecture at Beijing University, was invited to accompany a small group of excellent photographers to embark on a journey into the mystical Badanjiln Desert the remote part of the Gobi Desert.  He returned with fantastic shot of dunes rising over 500m from the dozens of salt and fresh water lakes, the camel trains and the models in national dress.  Later a friend arranged a major exhibition ‘the Mystery of the Gobi” held at the “Palace Versace” at  Surfers Paradise.


Jo a capable teacher on staff at the large Emmanuel College gave herself a personal challenge, a new goal.  Along with her teaching, she began studies for her Master in Education.  Working as the Learning Support Co-ordinator from prep school till Year 12.   She then became Head of the large Learning Disabilities Dept.


Jo has been a loving and capable mother, she and Wes are warm hosts, with an open home and a loving family , who have done many activities together, in church and community, including a family trip to Uganda to serve in the Waitoto Orphan Childrens’ villages .


Their son Jamie, and two daughters, Kate and Whitney, have been committed to study, with part time work. They have graduated with Degrees in Engineering – Sustainable Energy Systems [Hons], Nursing Studies, and Photography, and using those, have since travelled .