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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.


Cook County Women's Guild (formed on 29 November, 1907): The promoters were: Mesdames A. Scott, A. Melksham and E. West. Mrs. J. Townley was the first president and Mrs. Scott the first secretary. Application for incorporation was made on 27 May, 1908. A two-roomed daytime shelter for neglected children was opened in Grey Street on 1 July, 1908. The Elizabeth Townley Maternity Hospital, built by the Guild in 1910 on a two-acre site in Childers Road provided by the State, became a St. Helen's Maternity Hospital. A large Children's Home was erected in 1913 at a cost of £1,725 on a site of two acres in Awapuni Road donated by Lady Carroll (one acre), Eruera te Kura (half-acre) and Wetini Rikirangi (half-acre), and, in honour of Lady Carroll, her maiden name, Heni Materoa, was adopted for its designation. In 1945 members of the Rotary Club of Gisborne subscribed the amount needed to enable the Guild to buy a site of 6½ acres, with a frontage to Upper Gladstone Road, for a new Children's Home, which is estimated to cost £10,000.

Dickens Club (September, 1931): R. Johnson was the first president and Mrs. J. Pirie first secretary.

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Crippled Children's Society, Gisborne Branch (sponsored by the Rotary Club on 27 March, 1935): President, F. W. Nolan; Welfare Officer, Mrs. A. P. Dickson. The society's district extends from East Cape to Nuhaka. Several hundred cases have already been treated, chiefly at Cook Hospital, special cases being sent on to Wellington.

Girl Guide Movement, Gisborne Branch (1925): Mrs. D. J. Davies was Guider in charge of the first company. The first camp was held in January, 1926, at “Rimuroa.” In 1935 Rotorua, Katikati, Tauranga, Taupo, Wairoa and Gisborne were included in a “Poverty Bay Guide Province,” with Gisborne for its headquarters, and Mrs. L. Balfour as Provincial Commissioner. Rotorua was retransferred to “Auckland Guide Province” in 1947. Miss W. Lysnar (Provincial Camp Adviser, 1935–46) was the first Poverty Bay recipient of the Good Service Badge. Over £1,000 was subscribed by Guides and friends in the Poverty Bay area towards the cost of the national training centre at Marton. District Commissioners: Mesdames R. Barker, R. M. Gunn, F. B. Barker, C. C. Dowding, E. A. Muis, C. Blackburn, R. Andrew, J. McDonald, J. Bray and L. Balfour (1935–).

Gisborne Business and Professional Women's Club (1925): Mrs. L. T. Burnard was the first president, and Miss McShane the first secretary. Miss Perry, M.A., was the first chairwoman. Mrs. Hugh Jones was president from 1928 till 1946. Her successor was Mrs. Garbett.

Gisborne Townswomen's Guild (August, 1935): The sponsor was Miss Jerome Spencer, O.B.E., of Rissington (Hawke's Bay), who founded the movement in New Zealand. Mrs. M. Verrier-Jones was the first chairwoman, and Mrs. F. R. Bould the first secretary. Groups were formed as under: Drama, musical, arts and crafts, gardening, literary and debating, and dressmaking.

Gisborne Women's Club (17 October, 1912): Mrs. (Dr.) Reeve was the first president and Mesdames W. F. J. Anderson and T. A. Crawford became joint secretaries. Literary, gardening, cards and arts and crafts circles were established. During both Great Wars members made many articles required by the soldiers and associated themselves with various movements to promote the interests of wives and children of servicemen. The membership in 1949 was about 100.

Lady Galway League: The Gisborne branch was wound up on 31 October, 1946, after functioning successfully for over six years. Mrs. N. H. Bull, M.B.E., was patron, Mrs. G. Robertson, M.B.E., president, and Mrs. Cowing hon, secretary. Its members sent 300 cases of new clothing and mended garments to the British Women's Volunteer Service for distribution among bombed-out families in England.

National Council of Women, Poverty Bay Branch (September, 1894): Its initial title was “The Gisborne Women's Political Association.” Mrs. M. H. Sievwright, who had been in the forefront of the women's franchise movement, was the sponsor. On 12 April, 1901, a “Council of Waiapu Women” was established (Waiapu, at that time, was the name of the electorate of which Gisborne was the chief centre). Mrs. (Canon) Fox was its first president and Mrs. Sievwright secretary. In 1902 Mrs. Sievwright became president, and Miss Sampson secretary. The branch was re-formed on 11 April, 1917, with Mrs. N. F. Walker as president and Misses Sandall and Spence as joint secretaries.