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