Zonta makes a dif­fer­ence

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The Zonta Club of Mana may be small, but they think big when it comes to fundrais­ing.

Last year the club raised and do­nated over $13,500 to peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions in Porirua and Tawa, in­clud­ing schol­ar­ships to Whi­tireia Com­mu­nity Polytech stu­dents, Women’s Refuge, teenage moth­ers’ school He Huarahi Tamariki and House of Grace.

Money is raised through Christ­mas wrap­ping at North City Shop­ping Cen­tre and so­cial events they sell tick­ets to.

One ac­tiv­ity that stuck in past pres­i­dent Bar­bara Thompson’s mind was pro­vid­ing mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tions for women in pre-re­lease units at Aro­hata Prison, from Women’s Day to NZ Gar­dener and North & South.

‘‘One of the women told me that it’s great to have the mag­a­zines be­cause they can check out the lat­est fash­ions for when they are re­leased, and read about the is­sues that peo­ple are talk­ing about.’’

In 2010, they gave ris­ing dis­cus and shot put star Leesa Lealaisalanoa $ 1300 to go to­wards travel costs as she left for the ju­nior world track and field champs in Canada.

At last year’s Re­lay for Life in Porirua, a group of the teenage mums joined them for a pe­riod of the re­lay, as a way of say­ing thanks for their sup­port.

Part of their fundrais­ing also goes to­wards na­tional and in­ter­na­tional Zonta projects.

Although Zonta has branches world­wide and over 30,000 mem­bers, they tend to fly un­der the radar lo­cally. Their mis­sion is to ad­vance the sta­tus of women through ser­vice and ad­vo­cacy – in Mana, the 26 mem­bers, which will shortly climb to 30, meet once a month at the Plim­mer­ton Boat­ing Club to so­cialise and dis­cuss projects.

They are work­ing and re­tired women and range in age from their 30s to late 70s, Ms Thompson says.

‘‘We [the Mana branch] go from Tawa to Otaki and we’re al­ways look­ing for new mem­bers, lo­cal peo­ple who want to con­trib­ute to their com­mu­nity and help women.

‘‘We have a lot of fun and there is a real mix in our mem­ber­ship, we’re very in­clu­sive and al­ways wel­come any­one in­ter­ested.

‘‘There are teach­ers, busi­ness man­agers, med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and all the skills we bring com­pli­ment each other.’’

De­spite the eco­nomic down­turn, Ms Thompson says Porirua is thriv­ing and there will al­ways be a strong spirit of com­mu­nity sup­port here.

‘‘Like a lot of groups, we make a com­mit­ment and we strive very hard to hit the mark.

‘‘We have great con­tacts out there but we do things our­selves, it’s our labour and Zonta is proud of what we’re achiev­ing.’’

Photo sup­plied

Fun times: Mem­bers of He Huarahi Tamariki en­joy Christ­mas lunch with mem­bers of Mana Zonta.

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