Over the last 50 years, District 16 has evolved from a small gathering of Auckland women who took a brave ‘leap of faith’ into the world of Zonta in 1965 to the election of Wellington Zontian, Lynn McKenzie, as Zonta International President for the 2012-2014 biennium.


1969 – First meeting of NZ and Australian clubs in Canberra


With its Charter issued on November 15th 1965, the Zonta Club of Auckland, organised by remarkable Toronto Zontian, Dorothy Thompson, was established as the first New Zealand Zonta club, with Cherry Raymond elected as Charter President and Anne Gambrill as Treasurer. Current Auckland Zontians, Joan-Mary Longcroft and Lillian Chrystall, were also Charter members.

Dorothy Thompson also helped to establish Zonta clubs in Wellington, (1969), Hamilton, (1970), Christchurch (1970) and Dunedin (1970).

In 1973, Cherry Raymond , Regional Representative, organised the first Regional Conference in Auckland.


Robyn Lemming (Manawatu charter club president) with International President Eleanor Jammal, D16 Governor Judith Dey and Lt Governor Beverley Bennett

Australian and New Zealand Zonta clubs were formed into District XVI at the Zonta International Convention in Boston in 1974, with Dr Judith Dey (Sydney) installed as the first District Governor (1974-1976) followed by Beverley Shore Bennett (Wellington), the first New Zealand District Governor (1976-1978).

At the second District Conference in Wellington in April 1977, District XVI was divided into four Areas with Valerie Webster (Hawke’s Bay Area) and Ann Mallinson (Wellington) appointed as the first New Zealand Area Directors.

Until 1990, Australian and New Zealand Zontians worked closely together and shared an alternating governorship. The organisation of the Zonta International Convention in Sydney in June 1984 became a major District XVI responsibility, with Jeanne Edgar appointed as New Zealand co-ordinator. The Convention saw the formal introduction of the Zonta Rose.


At the District Conference in Auckland in 1989, Governor Susan Laidlaw oversaw the division of District XVI into three smaller Districts, with New Zealand, now District 16, retaining the original name in recognition of its foundat

D16 attendees at Turin Convention where Lynn McKenzie was inducted ad Zonta International President
2012 – D16 attendees at Turin Convention where Lynn McKenzie was inducted as Zonta International President

ion status. Cherry Raymond, Charter President of the Zonta Club of Auckland, became the first District 16 Governor from 1990-1992.

The current District 16 Governor is Janet Hope QSM, (Hibiscus Coast) 2016-2018.

 Prepared by Jennifer Loughton, MA Hons. History, District Historian and Archivist, (Christchurch South)


See More

Selection of Photos from Across HistoryRead more

New Zealand Zonta Clubs in charter date order (Includes all clubs current and historic, listed together)Read more

International Representatives/District GovernorsRead more

Regional and District ConferencesRead more

Zonta International Conventions attended by New Zealand ZontiansRead more