NZWA Celebrates 80 Years in the UK   22 Jun 2010

Jan Swinglehurst

NETWORKS: The New Zealand Women’s Association celebrated its 80th birthday in London this week.

Founded in Britain in June 1930, at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Wilford, High Commissioner for New Zealand in Britain at the time, the NZWA has long been an important focal point for New Zealand women living and working in the UK.

Two things about this week’s celebratory tea party emphasised how life has changed in the 80 years since the NZWA’s founding. First of all, the celebratory cake was cut and the toast was proposed by a woman – Belinda Brown, New Zealand’s deputy High Commissioner in London. Secondly, the deputy High Commissioner, in proposing the toast to the NZWA, raised a glass of a delicious, world-class New Zealand sparkling wine – like women senior diplomats, something unknown in 1930.

Among the NZWA members and guests enthusiastically raising their own glasses were eleven past presidents of the NZWA and specially invited guests from other London-based organisations, including the New Zealand Society, the Australian Women’s Club, and FIWAL (Federation of International Women’s Associations).

As Ms Brown indicated as she proposed the toast, the NZWA has been, since its founding in 1930, an invaluable help to New Zealand women in Britain. The Association helps them retain strong connections with their homeland while making new friends from among New Zealanders living in the UK, and strengthening their connections with the life and culture of the UK.

Within a few years of the NZWA’s founding, Britain became the home front in a desperately fought war in which thousands of New Zealand servicemen and women took part. The NZWA proved invaluable in the NZ High Commission’s work for New Zealand service personnel in Britain. It set up its own Hospital Visiting Fund out of which it paid for Christmas gifts for the Troops recovering from war injuries in hospital – usually postage stamps and writing materials, so that they could keep in contact with family back home.

Until the late 20th century, the NZWA’s connection with the High Commission in London was close. The NZWA gave the High Commission a ready-to-hand group of women happy to carry out such things as visiting sick New Zealanders in UK hospitals, providing hospitality and other help for young New Zealand students on bursaries in England, and making pavlovas and manning the pavlova stalls at many a Commonwealth charity fair.

As New Zealand’s relationship with the UK has changed, with trade playing a less important part than for much of the past century, so the NZWA’s close relationship with the High Commission in London has changed, too. The High Commission has had less need of the NZWA’s help in social and charitable matters. But the connection remains strong. The High Commissioner’s partner is the NZWA’s Patron, and much of the NZWA’s annual programme of events is centred on New Zealand House in the Haymarket.

The NZWA holds regular luncheons in New Zealand House’s eighteenth-floor Penthouse, from where the views across London are spectacular. The speakers at these luncheons are usually New Zealand men and women and have included actors, musicians, writers, dress designers, academics and archaeologists, contributors to British radio and television, travellers and even, a few years ago, a Tower of London Beefeater. An early autumn cocktail party and a Christmas lunch are annual events for the NZWA in New Zealand House.

There is always a full programme of events outside New Zealand House, too. These include at least one visit a year to a London landmark, or to special exhibitions in London’s many museums and art galleries. The annual Summer Outing in July is always to a stately home, important garden or other historic place in outer London – this year it is to Greenwich – or in south-east England.

The date, time and place for the rest of the NZWA’s 2010 programme, which includes a guided London walk in September, and a tour of the Wellington Arch and Apsley House in October, can be found on the NZWA’s website, www.nzwa.co.uk.

Photo copyright - Eleanor Farmer

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Hilary Timmins' Award-Winning UK Documentary Series To Inspire NZ Students

29 Jun 2020 Education
Dream Catchers, produced and directed by Hilary Timmins, celebrates the success stories of more than thirty inspirational New... more

New Zealand reaffirms support for Flight MH17 judicial process

7 Mar 2020 News By Rt HON WINSTON PETERS
Ahead of the start of the criminal trial in the Netherlands on 9 March, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has reaffirmed the need to... more

Business

NZ Government's Economic package to fight COVID-19

17 Mar 2020 Business News By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government has launched the most significant peace-time economic plan in modern New Zealand history to cushion the... more

NZ Government announces aviation relief package

19 Mar 2020 Business News By Hon Phil Twyford
Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier... more

Living

Northbound and Down: the London-based NZer who journeyed from Alaska to Mexico by bicycle

18 Aug 2020 Lifestyle
An exiled Kiwi has been hailed as inspirational for completing a remarkable American cycling adventure.   Auckland-born Otto... more

The Serious Road Trip: how one Kiwi woman’s Big OE took her into a war zone

18 Jun 2020 Review By Charlotte Everett
I was delighted to receive in the post a new book to review. Simone van Kan’s The Serious Road Trip was a decent-sized... more

Property

Fairer rules for tenants and landlords

17 Nov 2019 Property By Minister Kris Faafoi
17 NOVEMBER 2019 The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer... more

New Zealand Government will not implement a Capital Gains Tax

17 Apr 2019 Property By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group’s recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern... more

Migration

Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued

19 Nov 2019 Migration By Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
19 NOVEMBER 2019 We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to... more

Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Travel

Gallipoli Anzac Day services cancelled

19 Mar 2020 Travel & Tourism By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The New Zealand and Australian Governments have announced this year’s joint Anzac Day services at Gallipoli will be cancelled... more

New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas

19 Mar 2020 Travel & Tourism
New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas more

Sport

The Skipper's Diary: Sir Richard Hadlee honouring his father and NZ's Forty-Niners

27 Oct 2019 Cricket By Charlotte Everett
NZNewsUK London Editor Charlotte Everett spoke to Sir Richard Hadlee about why he’s chosen to publish his father’s... more

PREVIEW: All Blacks v England semi-final

26 Oct 2019 Rugby
The two most convincing quarterfinals winners are set to square off in a semifinal showdown for the ages when the All Blacks meet old... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more

Recruitment

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more