Brief History of the Zonta Club of: Christchurch East
District Governor Mary Kincaid presented its Charter to the new Zonta Club of Christchurch East at the Charter Dinner in June 1996, with the District Board and Zontians from many South Island clubs also present. The Club had been formed by an interclub SOM Committee headed by Christchurch North Zontian, Eleanor Stewart, with a new Board successfully established after some initial challenges. Christchurch clubs provided practical assistance to the new Zontians, with Christchurch South helping with the purchase of membership badges. Mary Kincaid reported that so many Zontians sent greetings and gifts to the new Zonta Club for its Charter Dinner that Foundation President Joan Buck exclaimed ‘that it was like Christmas’. The guest speaker was Kimberley Campbell, first District and International recipient of the Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Mary looked forward to ‘enjoying the company of these lively new Zontians at many future times and places’.
Members of the new club co-operated with other Christchurch Zontians in various interclub events including a combined dinner meeting in early 1997, an Ethnic Dinner organised by the Zonta Club of Christchurch West, Christchurch East’s own fashion parade and the Zonta Wetlands Environmental Project.
Sadly, the Zonta Club of Christchurch East voted to go into recess on April 26th 1999 at a special club meeting attended by Area 3 Director, Pam McCormick. There had been only a small number of members at the launch of the club, with never more than 15 members attending dinner meetings for the three years of the Club’s existence. As well, the Club had been unable to elect a president at the previous AGM. Recruitment of new members was particularly difficult in the low income Christchurch East area and there was no vibrant business zone where potential members might be found. With its eight remaining members formally resigning as a part of the process of placing a club in recess, Pam McCormick commended the warmth and fellowship, hard work and fund raising efforts of those who had kept the Club afloat and thanked all for their involvement. Although offered the option of transferring to another Zonta club as a group, a course favoured by District Governor Jean Corbin Thomas, members voted to join other Christchurch Zonta clubs on an individual basis.
Compiled by Jennifer Loughton, District Historian.