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A Brief History of the Zonta Club of: Auckland West

How did the club begin?
Joan-Mary Longcroft was responsible for Charter of club, Charter dinner held at Ellerslie Racecourse on 6 November 1976 with 26 members.
Margaret Dahm was charter president, Jill Dainow and Berti Carnachan Vice presidents, Merle Redfern secretary. Gavel presented May 1977.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”


First activities and projects

  • Funding of a stud guide dog and 6 guide dogs – money raised by barbecues, fashion parades, Garden Party.
  • Took part in Telethon 1981
  • First Invitation dinner held 1980, at Toby Jug Restaurant in Titirangi. Roaring twenties evening
  • Trees donated to Waitemata Council,1983
  • Eileen Gash, member in 1980s made a bequest to Zonta, interest of which is still being used for projects today
  • Matua Valley BBQ – “come and get it” changeover celebration
  • 1982 – met in Tui Glen – contributed to Columbia relief project, 2 x water wells in Sri Lanka as part of Zonta international Projects, Amelia Earhart awards.
  • 1984 -Club planted/ donated fruit and nut trees in local schools as part of community projects
  • 1984 – Resuscitators donated to Local St John, funds donated to Southland Flood relief, language nest at Hoani Waititi Marae and to IHC
  • 1984 annual dinner raised funds for a pain machine for Waitakere Hospital
  • 1985 – Zonta Scholarship to local student, interclub cricket match between Auckland Clubs
  • Stress seminar for woman from the community – highly successful.

Notable projects over the years

  • Art in the Garden – held over a weekend for a seat and room at West Auckland Hospice Senior citizens annual Christmas afternoon tea for people from rest homes, private hospitals etc, from West Auckland
  • Invitation Dinner through which funds were raised for the Hippy programmes in South Auckland.
  • 1992 – Wine, women and the wonderful west – limited edition of wine with Zonta label to celebrate women’s suffrage.
  • 1992 – ran Self defence for women classes 1991 – Student of the year award
  • 1993 – invitation dinner raised money to buy electronic scales for West Auckland Plunket 1995 – books to the school library at Kelston Girls High School (KGHS)
  • 1993 – Garden Party to raise funds for surf lifesaving clubs 1995 Chartered a Z club at KGHS – Waitakere Z Club
  • 2009 onwards – took part in Operation Christmas – assembling shoe boxes of gifts for children in the Pacific
  • 1994 – Good Wool programme – a humanitarian project to provide wool for the women of war torn Bosnia and Croatia
  • Supporting grandparents raising grandchildren
  • 1998 – 2000 annual Alzheimer’s caregivers’ luncheon
  • 2011 Project K – supporting 6 young women from Waitakere College to participate in challenging activities to raise confidence and self esteem
  • Unifem breakfast
  • Teen Parenting School
  • 2004 – 2009 Young women in Science awards to senior students in west Auckland – provided attendance fees to Hands on Science Week at Otago University.
  • Breast Cancer cushions – making of cushions for women who have recently had mastectomies
  • 2000 Jazz at the Falls
  • Film premieres as fundraisers
  • Collectors for various charities – IHC, breast Cancer, Women’s evening at Mitre 10
  • Dress for Success
  • Ab Bra Cadabra – bra fitting afternoon
  • Toilet bags for women’s refuges. Also sent a number of toilet bags to Christchurch after the earthquake.

Current projects

  • 2010 – 2012 Women’s refuges – Mother’s Day and Christmas toilet bags;
  • 2010 – 2012 Salvation Army foodbank contributions
  • 2012 Migrant Women’s Forum in conjunction with Migrant Services
  • SOS – Supporting Our Sisters – a project to assist women from the West who have been hospitalised and need assistance on returning home
  • New Horizons For Women Scholarship to provide for second chance education for women from the West
  • Endometriosis – contributing to ME Programme
  • Beanies for premature babies

Notable Zontians and achievements

  • Two members (Maureen Steven, Pam Antill) set up regular Auckland Zonta presidents’ meetings and Auckland wide projects – continues today
  • Dr Cita Shanks – QSM and Multiserve Education Trust award. Jan Aitken Award for women of the west who make a difference Vanessa Neeson – deputy Mayor of Waitakere City
  • Bettina Brown – Principal of KGHS 1992 – Daphne Porter QSM
  • Nadia Tollemache – Ombudsman

Memories of conventions and conferences
2000 international convention in Hawaii, Auckland West attendees raise $US 20, 000 for the work of Dr Catherine Hamlin and fistula hospital in Ethiopia

25th birthday celebrations
Bettina was at charter dinner – but not as member, in place of Pat Corstan – has early recollections


Compiled by Historian: Sue Devitt