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A Brief History of the Zonta Club of: Metropolitan Dunedin

Club Number: 16.05-1578
Charter Date: 28 August 1997
SOM Club: Dunedin-Otago
SOM Committee: Noeline Harridge, Kate Lovell, Netta Noone.

The Zonta Club of Metropolitan Dunedin was chartered on 28 August 1997. The charter dinner was held at The Dunedin Club, Melville Street, Dunedin on Saturday, 1 November 1997 where 43 members were inducted by District 16 Governor Joan Ready.


Club Presidents:
1997-1999 Susanne Hannagan
1999-2000 Lyn Farry
2000-2001 Lynette Grave
2001-2002 Lorna Casey
2002-2003 Kate Smeaton
2003-2004 Heather Pattison
2004-2005 Jan Harland
2005-2006 Fay Ward
2006-2007 Glenice Mayo
2007-2008 Ann Maree Fox
2008-2009 Denise Gow
2009-2010 Jeanette Corson
2010-2011 Lesley Craw
2011-2012 Pat Robertson
2012-2013 Lynette Grave
2013-2014 Carole Bezett
2014-2015 Fay Ward

Lynette Grave, was elected as the first Director for Area 5 when it was formed for the 2002-2004 biennium. Lynette then went on to be elected Lieutenant Governor 2004- 2006 and the District 16 Governor 2006-2008. Governor Anne McMurtrie appointed Lynette as the District 16 Foundation Ambassador for the 2010-2012 biennium. A role she would continue through to the 2014-2016 biennium.

Lynette used her involvement at District level to expose club members to a higher level of Zonta. Jeanette Corson as the 2006-2008 District 16 Secretary and the 2006-2008 District 16 Awards Chair. Jeanette then went on to become Area 5 Director for the 2010-2012 biennium.

Kate Smeaton was Conference Chair for the 2007 District 16 Conference “Accepting the Challenge” held in Dunedin at the St David Street Lecture Theatre at the Otago University, with the Opening Ceremony being held at the beautiful Knox Church on George Street. Kate went on to become chair of the District Nominating Committee for the 2010-2012 Biennium.

Glenice Mayo was 2006-2008 District 16 co-Parliamentarian and become the 2008-2010 District 16 Legislative Awareness and Advocacy Chair.

The Zonta Club of Metropolitan Dunedin celebrated the first anniversary of its charter at The Dunedin Club with Their Excellencies the Right Honorable Governor General Sir
Michael Hardie-Boyes and his wife (Edith) Mary, Lady Hardie-Boyes as the official guests.

To mark the second anniversary of their charter club members donated five yellow rose bushes to the Dunedin City to be planted in the Rose Garden at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens. These are marked with an appropriate plaque and continue to flower today.

Tenth Anniversary celebrations of the club’s charter were again held at The Dunedin Club.

Fundraising and fellowship became the focus of club life. To that end two major fundraising events in club life were established.

In 1999 the first of eight annual Garage Sales was held. Proceeds from the Annual Garage Sales were used to supply scholarships for women to have a second chance at an education. It is estimated at least $35,000 had been given away in these scholarships.

In 2000 Lyn Farry and Lynette Grave established what was to become the first Annual Evening of Extraordinary Fashion. The first event was held at the newly restored Corstorphine House and featured Dunedin’s top fashion designers. Other venues have been the Otago Museum, Dunedin Town Hall, the Wall Street Shopping Mall and the Army Drill Hall. This event now showcases Dunedin’s top designers as well as key retail stores and is an event firmly entrenched on Dunedin’s social calendar. Extraordinary Fashion has raised over $300,000 for local charities.

Nationally renowned milliner Lindsay Kennet approached the club in 2006 with the offer of the use of his collection of millinery designs dating back to 1900 with a view to holding a parade of his hats to encompass 100 years of millinery designs. This project was lead by Ann-Maree Fox. Proceeds from this event went to Dunedin Hospital’s neo- natal unit for the purchase of a specific piece of equipment.

Other fundraising projects over the years have included an Art Tour in Dunedin homes, cooking demonstration with Judith Cullen, movie evenings, quizz nights, a stall at the Otago Farmer’s Market, an Interior Decorating Evening with Sylvia Sandford plus many more.

Club members regularly participate in street collection days for the Pink Ribbon Appeal and Ronald McDonald House.

Yellow roses are presented to prominent women in the community on 8 March to commemorate Zonta Rose Day.

The Cancer Society’s fundraising event, Relay for Life, initially attracted a keen team of hardy walkers where fun and fellowship among members abounded with some hardy members committing to walk for the full 24 hour period.
Fun and Fellowship is a strong component of club life with members regularly getting together to attend a show, or a movie, travel to WOW in Wellington, Ellerslie Flower Show in Christchurch or partake in anything else that catches our eye. Club members are always on hand to support any club member who needs help in times of ill health.

One year a few club members decided to hold a pamper day as a fellowship event. Members congregated at Kate Smeaton’s Hairdressing Salon where she, beautician Robyn Tourell and a few coerced helpers provided deep hair conditioning treatment, manicures, and pedicures. Members were sustained throughout the day with freshly baked muffins, and baking. Tess Gilfedder served delicious sandwiches made to order at lunch time. In the evening very glamorous participants and their partners met for dinner at a local restaurant.

Each year a Make A Difference (MAD) Project is undertaken involving a variety of projects such as cleaning up the rubbish around the St Kilda/St Clair beaches, planting native plants in the Town Belt area, helping build a Habitat for Humanity House, renovations at the Rape Crisis rooms, pricking out and potting plants for the Orokonui Sanctury, making curtains for the Heart Foundation’s lounge. One year Ro Bradshaw made very elegant blue and white stripe toilet bags and club members filled them with toiletries for the Women’s Refuge. Members also made Truffles to be delivered to recipients of Meals on Wheels. The very first MAD project involved teams either spring cleaning the kitchens at the Hospice, Plunket Family Care Centre, making cheese rolls and spring cleaning at the Old Peoples Rooms and painting a play hut at a kindergarten.

As a fellowship activity in-house fundraising to support members attending conferences and conventions takes place from time to time. Members have got together and made and sold wheat bags.

In 2010 club committees were formed into teams to participate in The Great High Tea Challenge. This was held at Lynette Grave’s home and created much fun and stress as members strived to bake the perfect sponge drops, savouries, asparagus rolls and club sandwiches. Renowned cook and cook book author, Judith Cullen, was the judge and contributed to the fun and fellowship established at that event. Members attended a meal at the Polytech Restaurant and on another occasion met at Lesley Craw’s house in two teams to make the iconic Dunedin cheese rolls for their own freezers.

To acknowledge the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women the club’s International Committee has organised several successful brunches. In 2013 the two Zonta Clubs in Dunedin joined forces to create a display in the Dunedin Public Library to launch the “Zonta Says No” Campaign.

Fay Ward has had a colourful input to the club, always being on hand to provide entertainment, write appropriate poems and provide skits to be performed to showcase club activities throughout the year at Area 5 Forums. Members sometimes had to be coerced to participate but then had great fun at rehearsals and presenting their skit.
Zonta Club of Metropolitan Dunedin is well represented at Area 5 Forums, and District Conferences. Members have also attended the International Conventions held in Melbourne, Rotterdam and San Antonio. Exposure to the 2006 International Convention in Melbourne was a first for the five club members who attended.

In her role as District 16 Governor Lynette Grave led the challenge to successfully establish a Zonta Club in Oamaru where she was supported by her Area 5 Director Janya Lobb and club member Adrienne Duncan.

In 2008 Glenice Mayo took responsibility to ensure the club became an Incorporated Society and also registered with the Charities Commission.

The Zonta Club of Metropolitan Dunedin has always supported the Zonta International Service Projects by donating a percentage of the proceeds of all fundraising to the Zonta International Foundation.

Each year the Status of Women Committee sources applications for the Young Women in Public Affairs and J M Klausman Women in Business Awards to go forward for judging at District and International level. They have been very proud to have produced two District winners in YWPA. They also provide a $1,000 Creative Excellence Scholarship at the Otago School of Fashion and Design and a $250 Make a Difference Award to a year 13 pupil at Queens High School.

Membership at June 2014 stands at 38 with new members constantly being sought to keep the club fresh and vibrant. Seven of the charter members still belong to the club.

As remembered by Lynette Grave who used the club archives as a source of information. Thanks to Lyn Farry and Susanne Hannagan who provided a few more memories.

Compiled by Historian: Lynette Grave