The following is an extract from an article by Doanld H. Harrison in the San Diego Jewish World
Call it “nature” or call it “nurture”—or perhaps it’s some of both—but sisters Rachel Lerner, 48, and Juliet Moses, 45, have become leaders in Auckland’s Jewish community.
Rachel Lerner chairs the board of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, while Juliet, who is three years younger, serves as the spokesperson for the New Zealand Jewish Council, which is the umbrella organization for synagogues, the Jewish Federation, B’nai Birth, Holocaust Survivors, and other communal organizations.
The sisters are the daughters of Roger and Barbara (Paykel) Moses—both of whom can boast to be descendants of New Zealanders who were active in the Jewish community and successful both in business and civic affairs.
Barbara’s grandfather, Max Paykel, who had immigrated from Russia to New Zealand via Sheboygan, Wisconsin, initially opened a general store in the small town of Matakohe on New Zealand’s North Island. Townspeople often paid for their goods with gum from the kauri tree, which can be used in varnishes and various resin-based products.
After becoming successful in the kauri gum business, Max moved to Auckland, where he became even more successful in the wool and hide business. He was elected as secretary-treasurer of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation.
Barbara’s father, Joshua Paykel, attended Harvard University in Massachusetts. In the United States, he met pianist Eva Stern, who as his wife would become well known in New Zealand music circles.
Barbara, a professional cellist and teacher, continued the Paykel family tradition of service to the Jewish community, serving as a board member of Shalom Court, which is this city’s Jewish Home for the Aged. Her brother, Eugene moved to England, where he became chair of the psychiatry department at Cambridge University.
On the Moses side of the family, Roger’s grandfather, Claude, was a dentist who invested in the Maple Furniture Company started by his brother, Harold. He served two terms as president and one as secretary of the local Jewish community.
Roger’s father, Sidney, was perhaps the best-known member of the family, having served as managing director of the Maple Furniture Co., Ltd; president of the New Zealand Retailers Federation, and in 1967 as chairman of New Zealand’s Decimal Currency Board, which oversaw this country’s transition from pounds to dollars. In 1980, Sidney was named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).
As a younger man, Sidney won honors in a completely different field – he was a champion road-racing motorcyclist, winning the New Zealand title three times. He also represented New Zealand at the International Tourist Trophy Races in the Isle of Man, United Kingdom.