A Brief History of the Zonta Club of: Tokoroa-Putaruru

Sponsored by both the Hamilton and Rotorua Clubs, the Zonta Club of Tokoroa-Putaruru was organised by Gail O’Brien, president of the Hamilton-Waikato club, with help from Rotorua Zontians. The club was chartered on April 30th 1979 with 35 members. Its
membership contained interesting non-traditional categories including an engineer, a Department of Labour officer, and two farmers. Its newly elected board first met on February 19th 1979. At its charter dinner on November 20th 1979, while enjoying prime Waikato beef and smoked Taupo trout, the new Zontians were welcomed to Zonta International and introduced to their local district. International First Vice-President Cornelia Hodges presented the charter to Foundation President Dawn Daisley and her board, while Area Director Valerie Webster, deputising for District Governor Elisabeth Todd, presented certificates and classifications to the new members. Zontians from Hamilton-Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and South Auckland Clubs were present, while the local district was represented by the mayor of Tokoroa, the chairman of the Matamata County Council and various other local service groups.

The club was active in various service areas including supplying exam fees for needy girls through the Department of Social Welfare and furnishing a house for the Red Cross Centre. By 1985, it had only 26 members so concentrated its efforts on raising funds for its Education Trust Fund. At the District Conference in Rotorua, the club proposed a resolution that Zonta International dues should be administered in their country of origin. Past President, Elsie Neil, was elected as District Treasurer at the District Conference in Melbourne.

A memorable Area Three workshop was held at the Timber Museum in Putaruru in 1987, organised by Joan-Mary Longcroft and attended by Governor Val Sarah. Soon after, the club became part of the new Area Four. The economic downturn and closure of the Carter Holt Harvey Timber Mill had a detrimental effect on the club, along with ill health of its president. Sadly, the club closed during Governor Joan Ready’s biennium.

Compiled by Historian:  Jennifer Loughton, District Historian