111 years of Cook County guild

Gisborne’s own suffrage movement: In 1915, as a Christmas present to guild members, this souvenir booklet (right) was produced. Patty White is pictured showing a photo of her grandmother — one of the original members. The photo on the right-hand page is a bust of Heni Materoa, who gifted land to the guild on which the region’s first children’s home was built. Picture by Paul Rickard

The Gisborne community has been active in the women’s suffrage movement, marking 111 years this year of the Cook County Women’s Guild.

Gisborne woman Patty White, 84, is the third generation of her family to be a member of the guild, which is still going today with 12 members led by Rachael Cameron.

It started in 1907 when a group of women got together to organise care for children whose mothers had to go to work.

Well ahead of its time, the guild also organised the build of the region’s first children’s home, or orphanage, on Awapuni Road land gifted to the guild by Heni Materoa.

Their motto was: “For the cause that lacks assistance, for the wrong that needs resistance, for the future in the distance, and the good that we can do.”

Members of today’s group are still helping women and children in our region.

The Awapuni Road property was sold in 1948. This was followed about 30 years later by the sale of a Gladstone Road property. Funds invested from this sale have helped provide an income stream so the guild can continue to support mums and their children.

Over the years they have paid for grommets for children’s ears, glasses and lately they have given tertiary grants to children and helped mums and their children who need to travel to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland.

The longest-serving member at the moment is Annette Tyerman, who stepped into her mother-in-law’s shoes more than 50 years ago.

The Gisborne community has been active in the women’s suffrage movement, marking 111 years this year of the Cook County Women’s Guild.

Gisborne woman Patty White, 84, is the third generation of her family to be a member of the guild, which is still going today with 12 members led by Rachael Cameron.

It started in 1907 when a group of women got together to organise care for children whose mothers had to go to work.

Well ahead of its time, the guild also organised the build of the region’s first children’s home, or orphanage, on Awapuni Road land gifted to the guild by Heni Materoa.

Their motto was: “For the cause that lacks assistance, for the wrong that needs resistance, for the future in the distance, and the good that we can do.”

Members of today’s group are still helping women and children in our region.

The Awapuni Road property was sold in 1948. This was followed about 30 years later by the sale of a Gladstone Road property. Funds invested from this sale have helped provide an income stream so the guild can continue to support mums and their children.

Over the years they have paid for grommets for children’s ears, glasses and lately they have given tertiary grants to children and helped mums and their children who need to travel to Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland.

The longest-serving member at the moment is Annette Tyerman, who stepped into her mother-in-law’s shoes more than 50 years ago.

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