The Zonta Heartbeat – October 2023

THANK YOU! Thank you, thank you to you all! 

What a fabulous Conference it was. And I wish to thank every one of you for attending and giving so much Zonta Spirit of yourselves. And to those that couldn’t come, we are sorry for your circumstances that stopped this happening for you. 

We are still reading lovely emails, messages and comments from you all. We know in our hearts it was a huge success. I can tell you the team behind the scenes needs to take the biggest bow ever. You were true superstars. Our long evenings, early mornings and disrupted sleeps thinking of things were indeed all worth its while. 

I think back to the full-day Board Meeting we held on that Thursday. It was a truly remarkable day, especially with the presence of our esteemed Zonta International representative. We were deeply honoured by her gracious demeanour and valuable contributions to our Board Meeting. Having her among us was truly delightful. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious Japanese dinner. It’s a joy that comes with taking on District-level responsibilities – it’s a blend of laughter, learning, and leadership, and you simply can’t beat that combination of the three L’s!

Then it was on to the REGISTRATION – wow! The bright yellow welcoming committee making people feel very welcome to our beautiful city. Thank you, Marilou, Shirleen, Karen, Jo and Louise for the bright smiles. Hosting the conference at Christchurch Town Hall was a real pleasure. The staff there were absolutely fantastic, providing us with wonderful assistance. Returning to our beautiful Town Hall made the experience even more perfect.

Throughout the conference weekend, we were treated to delicious cuisine. The Town Hall truly outdid themselves, and it was always a pleasure to make requests, as they were consistently available and eager to assist.

The Welcome Cocktail Hour, with delicious canapés and bottomless drinks, were great. The Fountains lit up blue, as close to our “teal” as they could, and looked so pretty. The laughing and smiles and new friendships were made, old friendships reignited was wonderful. It was such a pretty night. Then onto enjoy our evening meals around Christchurch with our Zonta friends. 

On Saturday morning, alarms buzzed across Christchurch as everyone made their way to the Town Hall, anticipating an exciting yet full day ahead. It was truly special to witness the participation of all our D16 clubs in the Banner ceremony and the impressive parade of Hong Kong, New Zealand, Zonta International, and UN Flags. We commenced the event with a Karakia led by our Kamatua and the talented weaver of our exquisite Zonta D16 cloak, Ranui Ngarimu. Following that, the exceptional Kapahaka group from Lincoln High School took the stage, featuring my Office Manager, Chic’s (who many of you may know) daughter as part of the Kapahaka performance.

I gave my “personal” address to welcome you all to the Conference. My main message in my address, was although I had a loving family, I went off the rails as a teenager, however, it was that constant love surrounding me that brought me back, to be the person I am today. Now I lead a life of helping others myself. And as Zontians, that is in our hearts to help others, we are a constant rock for so many being there, who weren’t all as fortunate to have a loving family like mine, by coming together and being there for those in need, we have the collective power to truly impact the lives of many individuals we reach out to, often not knowing what difference we make, however, I can tell you we are doing incredible things for so many though! #alwaysbettertogether 

Our welcome to Christchurch was delivered by an enlightening welcome from Pauline Cotter, Deputy Mayor of Christchurch. She had some wonderful statistics related to women and the difference our CCC is making in empowering women in our city.

We were welcomed by President Ute’s wonderful friendly message, on video, talking on our Zonta Spirit and enjoying our time. Our Zonta International Director and representative Teresa Lin gave her wonderful presentation. We were so fortunate to have Teresa Lin travel all the way from Hong Kong to be with us. She was a wealth of knowledge for those who had the pleasure of talking with her. We “loved” Teresa were the words I often heard over the weekend, she was so kind, knowledgeable and encouraging. 

Next, it was time to listen to our remarkable slate of candidates for 2024-2026. It was truly heartwarming to hear from each of you and learn about your motivations for stepping up to contribute to our collective future. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for dedicating your time and efforts. Being in leadership positions within Zonta is an incredibly rewarding journey. Reflecting back to when I started in 2007, I never imagined I’d become a Governor, and it’s all thanks to the support of this incredible community.

Sometimes, we may doubt our abilities, but within this group of Zonta members, our focus should always be on encouraging each other to embrace new challenges. The world can be a challenging place, but when we support one another, we can make a significant difference, and our fellow Zontians can feel empowered to step up and invest their time in building a better world.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time as Governor, just as I did when I served as Lt. Governor and Area 3 Director. It’s an immense honour. To all of you who have taken on new roles, I wish you the very best in your endeavours.

Next on the agenda was our surprise keynote speaker. We truly appreciate your willingness to let us “surprise you.” Life is made all the more enchanting with moments of wonder. If you haven’t already heard him, you’ll now understand why we were eager to introduce you to Mat Brown, a remarkable speaker whose story is making waves across the internet. 

Mat Brown, along with Sarah Brown of “She is Not Your Rehab” and the innovative “Inner Boy” app, captivated our audience. Mat’s journey from an unimaginably challenging childhood to becoming a best-selling author and motivational speaker is nothing short of inspiring. He personally raised $100K to distribute his book in prisons, aiming to “break the cycle” of violence.

We were particularly drawn to Mat because he’s the one extending a hand at the top of the cliff, not just waiting at the bottom. By supporting him, we contribute to preventing more women and girls from becoming victims of what he terms “rehab.” Mat’s emotional and powerful presentation left not a single dry eye in the room. Having his family with him added a significant layer of impact to his message.

For those interested, here are a couple of links to Mat Brown’s Tedx Talks on YouTube and his wonderful, brave little boy Angelo (was 5, now 8 years old).

We moved on to the Financials presentation delivered by Jenny Phillipson. Jenny, we extend our heartfelt thanks for your dedicated service as District Treasurer. Your contributions go beyond just crunching numbers; your wealth of knowledge has been instrumental in guiding us financially, making you an outstanding team leader in this domain. The Board values your presence on the team, and our entire District shares that sentiment.

The Memorial Service was led by Melissa Benge, and it always remains an emotional and poignant part of our day as we honour the memory of our Zonta friends who have passed away. It was a touching tribute to have Courtney Hickmott perform “Ave Maria” as we placed Zonta’s signature yellow roses in a central vase.

Next, Lt. Jen McKinlay-Birkin took centre stage. She began by delivering her membership presentation and then proceeded to the eagerly awaited Cherry Raymond Award presentation. The proud recipients of this prestigious award for 2023 were the Zonta Club of Oamaru. Their winning project was centred on raising awareness about ovarian cancer, inspired by Jane Ludemann’s challenging journey due to a lack of awareness about the disease. The primary objective was to educate parents and empower women of all ages to recognise the symptoms and offer mutual support. The beneficiaries of this initiative included health professionals, the Pacific Island Community, high school students, and more than 100 women in the community who received valuable information through a range of initiatives, services, advocacy, and fundraising efforts. Congratulations to the Zonta Club of Oamaru for their outstanding work. We will provide further coverage of this achievement in the upcoming Zonta Heartbeat newsletter.

Following this, we delved into the business aspect of the conference, with myself leading us through the remits. The introduction of the new “online voting” system, Election Buddy, made this process fairly seamless and efficient. It significantly expedited proceedings once we got the hang of it. We are currently in the process of updating all of these details to provide you with the results.

The Celebration Gala Dinner was a truly enchanting evening. As we stepped into the magnificent Christchurch Art Gallery, the entire building was bathed in our signature Zonta Teal Color, creating a truly breathtaking sight. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Jeannie, Leanne, and Deb (and their helpers) for their tireless efforts in decorating the venue so beautifully. It was truly magic.

We were treated to a performance by the Resolutions Choir from Rangi Ruru, skillfully conducted by my talented friend, Helen Charlton. During the event, I had the privilege of delivering a brief “celebration” speech. It was an opportunity to express gratitude not only to those present but also to those who couldn’t be with us and to our partners and families who support our invaluable work within our communities.
Adding to the evening’s magic, we were entertained by another gifted friend of mine, Jude Cheyne, and her Euphoria Quartet. Both of these talented groups truly enhanced our night of celebration. I want to thank everyone for wearing smiles of joy throughout the evening; it made the celebration all the more special.

We kicked off Sunday with the daylight savings alarms functioning perfectly (phew!), and we enthusiastically introduced the incoming Board for 2024-2026. A heartfelt congratulations to each of you for stepping up and asking others to support and encourage you in this new journey. Your dedication is truly commendable.

We then had the pleasure of welcoming Janet Hope, a former D16 Governor and the current D16 Zonta International Foundation Board Chair, to provide us with an update on the Zonta Foundation for Women. We sincerely appreciate your generous donations made during the Conference, as these contributions collectively add to our district’s donations for the biennium. The impact of our support becomes evident when you see how effective it can be for Zonta’s International Projects.

Additionally, we have had the privilege of celebrating some remarkable winners of the Zonta Awards, including the Amelia Earhart, JM Klausman, and YWPA awards. These awards bring substantial financial support to the deserving recipients within our district. So, if you ever contemplate donating even small amounts, please know that every contribution counts and greatly aids our award winners as well as Zonta International Service projects, remembering that 100% goes to our causes.

Anna Arps, Area 3 Director organised a wonderful panel of Young Women Leaders, we had Lauren Thomas JMK 2022 winner,  Zarah Dettmer, NZ Police Constable and past president of the Z Club at Avonside Girls High School, Greer Manderson from Future Farmers and Wei Tian Teo, winner of our YWPA 2023. We had fabulous questions for the young women, who spent an hour talking with us about these: 

Q1. What strategies have been successful in building and maintaining a strong support network of mentors, allies, and peers?

Q2. How do you think gender plays a role in climate action and environmental justice, and how have you addressed gender-related challenges in your work?

Q3. What role do young women leaders play in raising awareness and driving change on this issue, and how can they effectively mobilise communities?

Q4. How can young women leaders encourage and empower the next generation of female leaders?

Q5. What do you see as the biggest issue facing women and girls, and what can organisations such as Zonta do to affect these issues?

We had the privilege of listening to our two award-winning remarkable individuals. First, we heard from Lauren Thomas, the Zonta International JMK 2022 winner, and we extend our gratitude to the Zonta Club of Christchurch-Canterbury for their club application on Lauren’s behalf. Following this, Barbara Murphy, a representative from Craigs Investment Partners, (also a Zonta member of Christchurch-Canterbury), our D16 Sponsor for JMK over this biennium, shared her insights into why they take immense pride in sponsoring the JMK Women in Business Award.

In addition to these inspiring moments, we had the pleasure of presenting Wei Tian Teo, our D16 and ZI 2023, YWPA Award Winner, with her certificate and pin. Wei Tian was nominated by the Zonta Club of East Auckland, thank you to them also. We flew her down for this special occasion. Clare Bruce, our YWPA Chair, also had the honour of reading a statement from the Giltrap Group, expressing their profound commitment to sponsoring this award and why it is important to them to Build a Better World for Women and Girls.

A wonderful group photo was captured of all of us. We are truly grateful to Chris Sharpe, who generously offered his photography services for the entire duration of the conference at only a quarter of the usual cost. His photography skills have resulted in some fantastic memories for us all.

We’ve been uploading these photos on Facebook and the Conference Gallery. In the near future, we’ll transition them to the District website for wider and future access.

Teresa Lin provided an update on Zonta International’s Strategic Plan. Regrettably, we acknowledge that we should have allocated more time for this presentation. Nevertheless, we intend to offer another presentation at upcoming Area Meetings. This Strategic Plan will be a focus for the upcoming biennium, and we are excited to see it unfold. We greatly appreciated Teresa’s valuable insights during her presentation.

Jane Reid, Convention Communication Chair for Zonta International Convention, Brisbane 2024. Gave a presentation including a fabulous video, which you can see online on their website. 

Save the dates: 27-30 June

We look forward to seeing you there. There looks to be a large contingent going from New Zealand, so please join in on the fun, friendship and learning. You won’t get a Convention closer to home than Brisbane! And it is an experience like no other. Different to a conference, with more workshops, it’s fabulous seeing Zontians from all over the world. 

For more information click on the button below.

Exciting presentation from Lt Governor Jen McKinlay-Birkin for CALL TO CONFERENCE 2025, which will be in our wonderful Capital, Wellington. Dates for this will be out around February 2024, when Lt Jen goes to Governor training in Chicago. 

And to wrap up the exciting and hugely successful conference, I would like to THANK YOU ALL, and end with a wonderful summary from our Foundation Ambassador, Janet Hope, on your generosity to our Zonta International Foundation. 

The Foundation reports for September add to our weekend of Conference totals, as we know many made donations online directly to ZI. This equated to around NZ$10,000 which is a very good effort by District 16. We know of several more donations that were made to the D16 Charitable Trust, these are still to be totalled in this.

Well done to you all, this makes me as Governor and also our Foundation Ambassador Janet Hope very proud, keep up the great work. You really are making a difference. 

Thank you, Phillippa 

Cherry Raymond Award 2023

Winners: Zonta Club of Oamaru

The project was chosen in response to the harrowing journey of Jane Ludemann, a local North Otago woman who faced a delayed cancer diagnosis due to insufficient awareness. Recognising the potential to save lives, the project’s primary goal was to raise awareness. It aimed to make parents more informed about ovarian cancer for the well-being of their daughters and to empower women of all ages with knowledge of symptoms and diagnosis processes. Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of gynaecological cancer death, as every week in NZ, seven women are diagnosed, and five die from the disease. The project benefited a wide range of individuals and groups, including general practitioners and health professionals through the distribution of informational materials, the Pacific Island Community through participation in a health expo, Waitaki Girls High School students who received educational talks, over 100 women from the community who attended fashion parades, and the broader community reached through support workshops, posters, and local businesses displaying information.

Zonta Yellow Rose Run/Walk 2023 for GRG

The Zonta Yellow Rose Run/Walk 2023 for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren was a thrilling event held in Hagley Park on Sunday, October 8th. It was an outstanding demonstration of teamwork led by an exceptional committee. The decision to proceed with the event turned out to be a fabulous success. The four Christchurch Zonta Clubs came together for the 5th Annual event, dedicated to raising funds for our District 16 biennial project, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. While we are currently in the process of tallying the finances, we can confidently say that it was another remarkable effort by all, resulting in a generous contribution to GRG. Scheduling the event during an election period may not have been the most ideal timing, but it was the only date available from the council. Despite this challenge, the motivated Zontians excelled in securing sponsors and participants for the run/walk.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who contributed to the event, including those from around the country who joined in the walk. A special thank you goes to the Zonta Club of Auckland for their generous individual donations and for organising a walk in Auckland, which looked fantastic in the photos.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the grand total raised. As we celebrate the event’s fifth year, we can take pride in the advocacy, enjoyment, and successful fundraising it has consistently delivered. Congratulations to all involved!

Every Member Every November – NOVEMBER

To celebrate Zonta’s 104th birthday in 2023, we extended an invitation to all Zontians to show their personal support for Zonta by making individual contributions directly to the Foundation throughout the month of November. Each donation to the Foundation plays a crucial role in supporting Zonta’s various projects and programs aimed at creating a better world for women and girls.

When you make a donation, we encourage you to use the provided donation tiles on your social media to raise awareness. We will be continuing this initiative in the upcoming year, so please be on the lookout for it.

Our goal for this year’s campaign is to increase monthly recurring donations through a friendly district competition. As part of this competition, we are encouraging donors in each district to set up a monthly recurring donation of at least US$10. We will be recognising top-ranking districts for their highest percentage of active recurring donors and for the highest number of new recurring donors. However, we will celebrate amounts of all sizes and highlight the collective efforts of Zontians in building a better world for women and girls.

2023 Campaign Criteria

There are two ways districts can win the competition:

  • District with the highest percentage of active recurring donors.
  • District with the highest number of new recurring donors.

To qualify:

  • Recurring donors must make at least seven (7) consecutive monthly donations from November 2023 through May 2024, and
  • Monthly recurring donations will need to be set up by 30 November 2023.
District Competition Prizes

The winning districts will be recognised via the website, on social media and at the 2024 Zonta International Convention in Brisbane, Australia.

All active recurring donors (those who have been recurring donors prior to and through the Every Member, Every November competitions) will also be recognised as individuals via the website, on social media and at the 2024 Zonta International Convention in Brisbane, Australia.

When you DONATE: Please use these Donated Tiles to go on your social media to bring awareness – we will be doing this again this year, so please keep an eye out for it. 

We will send them to your presidents to send on to you all. Simply save to your desktop or hold down to save to your photos on your phone. You can do this from our D16 page in November. As we will have the tiles on there for you to copy and use. Get stuck, please ask! 

Zonta International Add Your Voice Campaign WINNER: 

I’m thrilled to share some exciting news! Our very own D16, Zonta Club of Christchurch South, has achieved a remarkable feat, ranking among the top 30 recruiters in their tier during the 2023 Add Your Voice Membership Campaign.

This incredible accomplishment will be celebrated in The Zontian magazine, and to show our ZI appreciation, they’ve received a congratulatory letter from International President Ute and a graphic badge of excellence for their communications.

Huge congratulations to the Zonta Club of Christchurch South Inc. for their dedication to strengthening Zonta with new voices. Their hard work demonstrates our mission’s spirit.

Zonta Says No to Violence Against Women – 16 Days of Activism ZSN 

16 Days of Activism,  Nov 25th – Dec 10th 2023

We know you are all doing things around the country for this. We are delighted to see this every year. You are really doing a great job. I know from doing Webinars with Zonta International, one of the things is to tell people, as they can’t guess why orange.

Perhaps as a club exercise come up with a short sentence you can all put up with the activity you choose to do for the 16 days. 

E.G: Why you are lighting up a building ORANGE, or why you might have a campaign to have ORANGE shoes representing Women around the country who need our help. Just remember, this is great advocacy, but only if you tell the what and why! 

Why Orange Shoes?
Zonta International is an organisation that Builds a Better World for Women and Girls.

A significant part of this is an Annual Campaign we have. Zonta Says No to Violence to Women. Where we use the colour orange – to paint the world orange for a Brighter Future!

This Display
By having a strong message that we care for the women in our country, that it is not ok that there is so much Violence, we want the shoes to stand as awareness to this. These Orange Shoes represent the women in New Zealand who have been in domestic callouts in only one year.
175 Pairs of Shoes 
ONE Pair of Shoes representing 1000
Police attendance = 175,573 Family Harm Investigations.

We will have more information at the beginning of November for you. But in the meantime, keep doing what you are doing. 

Advocacy Update 

In July 2004, the Caucus on International Women’s Issues was born out of a meeting convened by the then Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon Ruth Dyson QSO. The inception aimed to evaluate New Zealand’s role at the 7th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Minister’s Meeting in Fiji and envision a collective approach to international women’s challenges.

Created by the Ministry, this caucus crafted a collaborative nexus for government entities and NGOs to address international issues central to women’s well-being. Its foundational members spanned key government units and external experts well-versed in global affairs.

Building on this legacy, the recent event was a testament to the enduring spirit of collaboration. As the Advocacy Chair, I represented Zonta D16 amidst a distinguished roster of organisations including Graduate Women New Zealand, Maori Women’s Welfare League, National Council of Women of New Zealand, and more.

The day commenced with Angela McLeod and Jamie Hayden of MfW setting the tone with a heartfelt welcome and an opening karakia. This was succeeded by insightful reflections from Manatū Wāhine on the Physical Activity and Wellbeing Fund. The morning further witnessed a thought-provoking presentation by Nicky van den Bos, CEO of Women in Sport Aotearoa, which segued into a dynamic Q&A session.

Post the morning tea break, Anna Chapman from Manatū Wāhine, along with a representative from MFAT, disseminated key updates on various initiatives. The afternoon was rich with discussions spearheaded by Angela McLeod about the role of women in the public domain, a closed caucus session, and invaluable feedback from members to MfW officials. The attendees are developing a plan to keep in touch after the election and how that will affect the future of the Caucus.

D16 Advocacy Chair – Sarah Barclay