Kirsten Pedersen & Kirsten Pedersen


In Denmark no one would make a fuss of two people both called Kirsten Pedersen, but in the 1950s across the world in Auckland there were two who were famous for a day – Kirsten Pedersen (wife of Poul Pedersen) and Kirsten Pedersen (wife of Viggo Pedersen). Kirsten and Kirsten had become friends through the Lutheran Church and often met in town at either Milne & Choyce or Farmers for a coffee and cake which was a conventional morning’s outing in those days.
In the mid to late 1950s there was an annual knitting competition in Auckland held at George Courts to knit peggy squares to be made into blankets for charity. It was hosted by the popular Radio and later TV Quizmaster Selwyn Toogood well known for his “In the Bag” show. The promise of a new piece of white ware for the person who knitted the most peggy squares soon lured Kirsten and Kirsten to enter the competition and they duly sent in their entry forms for the big day. Their entries were successful and along with other successful eager knitters went off to George Courts for the day.
Kirsten and Kirsten were by far the most popular people in the knitting competition. Selwyn Toogood had such a fun time with them. Here were two Kirsten Pedersen’s, unusual names in New Zealand at that time, both came from a country far away, both spoke with an accent and they also knitted funny – they were the only two who knitted back to front (the continental way), but they were fast and their rivals soon saw threats from these Danes. Kirsten and Kirsten were having fun as well, knitting one peggy square after the other, taking time out for coffee and providing Selwyn with as much bait as he wanted. Some of the serious knitters would not engage in Selwyn’s banter and it was obvious to the two Kirstens that they would never catch the determined winners so they just revelled in the fun of the day.
How did they go – they didn’t win the white ware but Kirsten Pedersen came 5th and Kirsten Pedersen came 6th and anybody who was at George Courts or heard the competition live on 1ZB will remember the fun and laughter that Selwyn Toogood created from Kirsten and Kirsten, those two Danes from Denmark who turned out to be great sports in the peggy square competition.

Contributed by Linda Pedersen

No photos are available at this stage. In the 1950s photos were taken with much care because of the cost of film and production. It was not an everyday thing for an ordinary family, only on special occasions.

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