In 1991 the Zonta club of South Auckland took on the responsibility of forming a Zonta club in the Thames Valley region. The SOM committee (Catherine Gray; Carol Healey; June Read and Esme Green) didn’t have any immediate contacts in the town, so they approached the then Mayor, Alasdair Thompson, for an appointment to see who he could suggest would be advantageous to talk to about the desirability and viability of forming such a club.

He suggested various names, including that of his wife, Joan; Dorothy Wharehoka principal of Colville Primary school; Olwyn Dickson the wife of the current Baptist pastor and the principal of a team who delivered social services in Thames; Pat Mravicich a book store owner, along with other prominent women in the wider community.

All were invited to a “What is Zonta” dinner at the Thames Coromandel council building and from there, interested women met to elect the first board. Dorothy Wharehoka became the charter President.

The club officially chartered in January 1992 and in February, at the Thames Sailing club, the charter dinner was held. Amongst those present were District Governor Cherry Raymond; Lt Governor Joan-­‐Mary Longcroft; Mayor of Thames Coromandel Alasdair Thompson; Mayor of Hauraki District Basil Morrison and a very special guest, Zonta International President from Brisbane, Leneen Ford. South Auckland turned up in force to support the new club.

Joan Thompson and Olwyn Dickson followed on after Dorothy as President, and both are still active in Zonta as members of the Auckland club. Joan was elected as Area 4 director in 1998-­‐2000. Lynda Garrett, who joined Thames soon after its formation, also served as President and on her move north to Whangaparoa, joined the newly revitalised Hibiscus Coast club, served as its President and was elected as the Area one director in 2012-­2014.

Compiled by Historian: Mary Silcock