Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Annie Lee Rees, M.A., LL.B. (a daughter of W. L. Rees) was born at Beechworth (Victoria) and came to New Zealand with her parents in 1866. During the Boer War, she was one of the teachers sent to South Africa, at the request of the British authorities, to teach in the refugee camps. Upon her return, she studied law and gained her LL.B. degree. On 22 September, 1910, she was admitted, at Gisborne, to practice as a barrister and solicitor by Sir F. R. Chapman, whose father (Mr. Justice H. S. Chapman) had admitted her father to the New Zealand Bar in 1866. Miss Rees died on 20 August, 1949.
Women's Christian Temperance Union, Gisborne Branch. The first president was Mrs. (Canon) Webb. From 1899 till 1902 its members conducted a Coffee Room and Reading Room as a meeting place for young men, the object being “to discourage them from drifting into the hotels.” The branch has taken an active part in all social welfare movements. In 1948 Mrs. W. E. Goffe was awarded a Long Service Badge to mark her 30 years' service.
Women's Institutes, Poverty Bay Federation (1 April, 1931): The first Women's Institute was formed at Matawai in May, 1928, by Miss Bibby, of Waipawa. Probably the distinction fell to that district because her mother was an aunt of a resident (Mrs. Smith). In June, 1928, Miss A. E. Jerome Spencer, O.B.E. (founder of the movement in New Zealand) formed an institute at Patutahi. At the first group meeting (1/4/1931), a P.B. Federation of Women's Institute was established, page 432 with Mrs. D. S. Williams, of Ngatapa, as president, and Mrs. W. A. McCliskie as secretary. In 1935 the first Drama Festival and Exhibition of Work was held. A North Island gathering of Women's Institute delegates at Gisborne in 1943 attracted a larger number of visitors to the district than any previous conference had done. There were 33 Women's Institute (including several Maori Women's Institutes), with an aggregate membership of 690, under the Poverty Bay Federation in 1948.
Women's National Reserve (1915): Mrs. J. R. Kirk was the first president, and Miss E. L. Faubert the first secretary. Its activities during the first Great War included the training of members to replace men called up for active service, lectures on first aid and home training, and the entertainment of mothers, wives and children of soldiers abroad. The members sponsored the holding of the commemorative service which is held each Anzac Day beside the Soldiers' Plot at Taruheru Cemetery.
Y.W.C.A., Gisborne Branch (1921): Mrs. R. Johnstone was the first president and Mesdames F. de Lautour and C. G. Holdsworth were joint secretaries. In 1922 there were 354 members—122 under 20 years, 168 over 20 years, and 64 sustaining members. For some years a hostel and cafeteria were conducted. The branch then disbanded.page break