Te Aroha West WI 70 years


Seventy years on and still grow­ing strong.

That’s the phrase used by mem­bers of Te Aroha West Women’s In­sti­tute when they cel­e­brated their 70th An­niver­sary with a spe­cial lun­cheon at the Te Aroha RSA.

Pres­i­dent, Ngaire Young, wel­comed past and present mem­bers and spe­cial guests pres­i­dent Fay Moore, vice pres­i­dent, Mar­garet Gaskell and Penny Cur­tis from the Waikato East WI Fed­er­a­tion.

Through­out their 70 year his­tory the mem­bers of this busy Women’s In­sti­tute have raised money for hun­dreds of char­i­ties.

They have do­nated thou­sands of knit­ted and cro­chet items such pre­ma­ture baby bon­nets and vests, blan­kets, fid­dle muffs, baby cardi­gans, hats and more to lo­cal hos­pi­tals and Plun­ket. They have sup­ported Te Aroha Com­mu­nity Food­bank over the past few years on a monthly ba­sis.

The Women’s In­sti­tute (WI), a com­mu­ni­ty­based or­gan­i­sa­tion for women, was founded in Stoney Creek, On­tario, Canada, by Ade­laide Hood­less in 1897, and the Bri­tish WI move­ment was formed in 1915 in, An­gle­sey Wales.

The idea of Women’s In­sti­tute was first in­tro­duced to New Zealand by Miss Anne El­iz­a­beth Jerome Spencer on her re­turn from war work.

On Fe­bru­ary 7 1921, in con­junc­tion with Mrs Fran­cis Hutchin­son, Miss Spencer formed the Riss­ing­ton Women’s In­sti­tute, Hawke’s Bay; the first in New Zealand.

Her hopes were fully re­alised as the move­ment spread quickly through­out the coun­try. The first meet­ing was Fe­bru­ary 21. In 1947 the Te Aroha West WI was formed. Young spoke with pride about the Te Aroha in­sti­tute’s long his­tory, hon­our­ing past and present mem­bers, for the fine vol­un­tary work they have achieved across the years, be­fore cut­ting the beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated cake made by mem­ber, Molly Shan­ley, with long serv­ing mem­ber Norma Gra­ham and the youngest mem­ber, Sukhjit Singh.

Mem­bers then sat down at the beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated tables with spe­cial flo­ral ar­range­ments in the green and gold of the WI colours by mem­ber, Wanda Brit­tain, to en­joy a de­li­cious lun­cheon.


Norma Gra­ham, Ngaire Young and Sukhjit Singh.

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