6 April 1946
Enthusiastic Support Accorded Formation Of British Women’s Club
An enthusiastic meeting of approximately 200 women, in the Borough Council Chambers yesterday afternoon, showed spontaneous interest in the preliminary discussion on the formation of a club in Hastings, for women of Britain and the overseas Dominions, to be know as the British Women’s Club.
The mayor, Mr A.I. Rainbow, who presided, wished the new club every success and acknowledge the foresight of those who had thought out and developed the idea. It was an essential step in the right direction and an association of this sort could do nothing but good, he said. It was an extremely bad day for the Empire and this country when people could not meet in a strange country and still be good New Zealanders, and it was all the more essential that this club should come into being now, as, apart from the young brides and mothers already here, to whom New Zealand offered a hearty welcome, there was likely to be an influx into New Zealand of people from Great Britain, who would be strangers.
The formation of a small interim committee, whose actions were subject of confirmation or amendment at a future date, was suggested by the mayor.
“That something like this is needed is shown by the wonderful response,” said Mrs Malcolm Mason, Waimarama, who convened the meeting.
Explaining her reason for writing the original letter to the Press, concerning the formation of the proposed club, Mrs Mason said she was prompted to do so through a chance encounter with a young and brave English woman, who had married a New Zealander and with her small daughter had come out to her husband’s country. After only three days together the husband was sent back on overseas service and she was left without a friend in New Zealand, and ‘there were probably many other similar lonely girls,” she added.
“We should be a club of friendliness, by meeting the young people coming out so bravely and introducing them to other clubs,” Mrs Mason continued. Other suggested activities were that every British person arriving in New Zealand be met by a member of the club in that district; help in the manner of shopping, so different in the two countries; pointing out the benefits of the Plunket Society to young mothers; and assisting with artistic, musical and dramatic interests.
“The club should be kept a social one, to gather for afternoon-tea and a talk. Let us keep it together, for unity is strength, but not to shut out the interests of the community,” Mrs Mason went on. “I hope that whatever the club turns out to be it will help the younger women especially, teaching them to appreciate our little country and make them splendid New Zealanders, never forgetting, however, that they are British-born.”
A provisional committee, to draw up rules and regulations and arrange for the next meeting, was elected as follows; – Mrs Malcolm Mason (convenor), Miss M. S. Silvester (secretary), Mrs D.H. Stewart (treasurer), Mesdames Lindsay Mackersey, AH Reeve and A.D.G.M. Laing.
On behalf of the Hastings Townswomen’s Guild, the pesident [president], Mrs E.D. Wall, wished the club every success and extended an invitation to British Women to visit the Guild, which offered a diversity of interests.
Mrs D.H. Stewart, for the Women’s Institutes, said that they were the country sisters to the Guild and would also welcome British women to the country districts.
That attached labels bearing name and homeland be worn at the next meeting was suggestion made by Mrs Reeve.