A Brief History of the Zonta Club of: Oamaru
Club no. 16.05-1838
Club Historian / Archivist: At present our Archivist is Jill Bayley, who chairs our Publicity Committee. Each committee has the responsibility of making sure information is provided to the archivist for keeping. The Archivist position moves with each change of officers to the next Chair of the Publicity Committee, but as the club becomes more established we will look at appointing the archivist as a permanent position if a suitable member offers her services.
A Brief Club History: Our Club, the Zonta Club of Oamaru was inaugurated in 2006, making it the youngest Zonta Club in New Zealand. The Club was chartered on January 16th 2008. It took almost three years of committed work by a small group of dedicated women to gather
the numbers to be able to charter as an official Zonta Club here in Oamaru. Twice we almost had the correct numbers, and then people left as they moved out of the district for other jobs. We were very lucky in having two SOM support clubs who mentored and supported us right from the beginning. Lynette Grave and Janya Lobb (Dunedin Metropolitan Club and Timaru Zonta respectively) came to every meeting for all that time and long after we had chartered, well supported by other members of their corresponding clubs for the long car journeys!
Our club numbers hover around 22-24 members per year, depending on changes in situation etc., and we have built strong relationships within the group. The meeting attendances average out at 18 present, as many of our members regularly travel away for family and business commitments and holidays.
So far our club Presidents have been: Ann Little, Hilary Bishop, Cailleen Trengrove, Collette Strowger, Cathy Hurst and Mary McRae, and our present President is Jill Squire. Changes occur at our Annual General Meeting held each May.
We have committees for membership, fellowship, international, status of women, publicity and slate, with each committee having a Chairperson to lead and guide it.
Our monthly meetings are now held at the Oamaru Club on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, in a private area off the club restaurant which provides the food for our meetings.
Each month we circulate a newsletter which gives details of the office bearers, birthdays of the month, information of upcoming meetings and planned events, and reports on past events, all with photos if applicable. As we regularly fundraise for local, national and international causes, and interact with the community in every way we can, we usually have several pages of interesting things to read.
We have established two sponsorships which are given out yearly, one to a member of Waitaki Girls’ High School and the other to a girl at St. Kevin’s College. These are named the Zonta Ball Scholarship and are given to deserving young woman to help her attend the school ball at her particular school. The girls have to apply and be interviewed by a panel of 3 club members. They have to embody the aims of Zonta in their extra curricular interests and activities, and it is always such a delight to talk to these young women and see the
strengths and commitments that they have. The awards are made at school assemblies and a special certificate is also awarded to each recipient for her to keep.
Our White Ribbon and Yellow Rose days are well advertised and bring us, as well as the causes, valuable news exposure locally. We enjoy much interaction with the public at these times and are always heartened by the support we receive.
We support the Timaru Women’s Refuge, as we don’t have a local one, and one of our members, Lorna Elliot, has taken responsibility for this area for the last 5 years, with others helping her as required.
We have morning teas, dinners and various functions to enhance our relationships with one another and promote our club to others. Not all members can attend all the time, but our functions and casual meetings are very well received by all members!
We have both digital and paper records of the club from its first beginnings, both club and annual general meeting minutes, and several scrap books of newspapers cuttings. These are kept by the publicity committee and therefore move around to various peoples homes. As of this date we don’t have any sound recordings of our members Zonta experiences, and no plans to do so in the foreseeable future.
A highlight for our Club was the appointment of Ann Little to the Zonta New Zealand Foundation Committee, and then two years ago when she was voted in to the position of Area 5 director to the NZ Zonta Board.
As yet we have not looked ahead to the up-coming anniversary of District 16 in 2015. This will be something for our incoming committees to look at after the 1st June this year, and look forward to planning and brainstorming ideas.
Regarding further assistance with our archives, I believe it would be really good for clubs to have a forum specifically about this, share ideas, but most particularly it would be good to know how we can safeguard our archives from destruction (i.e. floods, earthquakes, fires etc.).
Current President: Cailleen Trengrove Club Archivist: Jill Bayley
Current service projects: Zonta Ball Scholarship, White Ribbon & Yellow Rose Days, Support for Timaru Women’s Refuge.
Compiled by Author/Historian: Jill Bayley