Young Women in Public Affairs

The goal of the Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award Program is to encourage young women to participate in public affairs by recognizing a young woman’s commitment to the volunteer sector, evidence of volunteer leadership achievements and a dedication to the empowerment of women.

Applicants are asked to reflect on their voluntary commitment to their school and to their community and the problems limiting the empowerment of women in their own country and worldwide. The Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs Award Program looks to the young women of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Applications are due to Zonta Club of Ashburton by 30 November 2021. Applicants aged 16-19 on 1st April each year, studying at a secondary school, college or university in a Zonta district/region, or who are studying elsewhere but are citizens of a Zonta country at the time of application, are eligible to apply.

the official application may be downloaded from the Zonta International website,


Our beautiful New Zealand merino wool “Zoks” are manufactured in Ashburton by NZ Sock Co and are available directly from Zonta Club of Ashburton.
We have one size of womens crew dress sock and one size of mens crew dress sock available.
Zoks can be purchased for $20 each plus postage if necessary.Alternatively, your Zonta Club can purchase these in bulk for your own fundraiser on a profit-share basis. This provides a further fundraising opportunity, and promotes the Zonta brand and mission. The flip side of the label briefly tells the Zonta story.

Please e-mail us at with your order and thank you for your support.

Zonta Rose Cards
Check out our beautiful “Zonta Rose” cards for sale. The cards are printed with a watercolour by Lindsay Watson, and are sold as a fundraiser for the Zonta Club of Ashburton. Packs are $5.00 each.
5 blank medium sized cards with envelopes (approx. 150mm x 110mm) $5.00
10 blank small sized cards without envelopes (approx. 75mm x 55mm) $5.00
Please e-mail us at

100 Year Celebrations
WOW, what a great global celebration this has been!
Nationally we have been able to enjoy how other clubs have celebrated the event through their social media pages.
Our own club celebrations went well. At our Breakfast function we were delighted to be able to present Julie Dockrill with her Woman of Achievement Award.
Denise Ritchie, our second nomination, was also nominated by Hibiscus Coast so we agreed as Denise was in Auckland that they would undertake the presentation for her there.
We also managed to surprise Anne -Marie Leech with a Champion Award for her dedication and input to New Zealand Netball.
Earlier we had presented Mid South Island Women’s Refuge with a Community Award at the Empowerment Day.
Listening to Karen Hall reflect on the club history, reinforced to me what a difference we have made and continue to make for women and girls locally, Nationally and Internationally.
Following the breakfast, members visited Trotts Garden to plant a Zonta Rose as a more permanent reminder of the 100 years celebrations

Empowerment / Pamper Day
The second empowerment Day in partnership with Mid South Island Womens Refuge was held on the 19th October and was as successful and worthwhile as the first.
The day began with morning tea and a chance for the ladies to chat and ‘arrive’ before an hour-long session of martial arts and self defence instruction took place led by the Ashburton Taekwondo Club.
While this was taking place an army of beauticians and therapists set up ready to offer pampering and wellbeing to the women of the Refuge.
A grazing-buffet lunch was available that had been generously provided by our club members. Everyone tucked in to the tasty food on offer in between being transformed by the volunteer beauticians.
Each of the women was literally transformed before our very eyes and this was also an opportunity for the ladies to chat further and gradually open up regarding their personal experiences. It turned out some women had never had a professional haircut in their life and few had ever received a massage or a makeover. There was an opportunity to be shown how to wear a scarf which had been selected to suit the person’s colouring or clothes. As the morning progressed, the women transformed from shy, reserved or reluctant to interact to confident, radiant and happy individuals.
This day is the culmination of an intensive 6 week course of assertiveness training and self empowerment. It is Zonta’s way of rewarding these women who have endured experiences we cannot imagine. To walk a mile in these ladies’ shoes as they say…..

Presentation to local schools
Recently, Ann Wise and Sue Prowse attended the Mid Canterbury Principal’s Association to present 19 books, ‘Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World’ and 2 books, ‘100 Women Who Made History’. These books were presented by our club to 21 Mid Canterbury schools, in recognition of 125 years of Women’s Suffrage.
The books were received with thanks and appreciation.

Women’s Day Breakfast 2019
This celebrated event is being held on Saturday March 2nd at the Ashburton Hotel commencing at 08.30am
Tickets to this annual event always sell fast, so do not delay if you wish to attend and purchased your tickets which are available from Todds of Ashburton.

Women’s Day Breakfast 2018
Zonta recently held its 22nd annual Womens Day Breakfast .It was great to see over 250 women take the time to come together and be empowered by Michelle A’Court.Her key message of” having something to fight for ,someone to love and something to look forward to” resonated with many of the attendees and definitely something to strive for in our busy lives.

2018 ZAFAA(Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award )
The Zonta Club of Ashburton in partnership with the Ashburton Art Gallery showcases the works of emerging and mid-career female artists based in Canterbury. The award seeks to raise the status of female visual artists working in the wider Canterbury area and acknowledges excellence in emerging and mid-career female artists as well as providing a platform for female youth.
The ZAFAA 2018 premier award recipient, Emma Fitts, received a cash prize along with a special opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at the Gallery in the following year.
The Young Generation category acknowledges the creative youth (16-20yrs) in Canterbury with a cash prize.This years recipient was Emma Mealings

The club participated once again in the ZI Say No to Violence Against Woman awareness campaign. To maximise impact we undertook a number of smaller activities rather than one big project and worked with local businesses, of which we are very grateful, to assist deliver this message. These included
• The Somerset Grocer who agreed to brand serviettes used in their café with the Say No logo
• Philip WareIng Transport branded the back of a freight truck that travels daily from Ashburton -Christchurch, with a large Say No logo .We have a 3-5 year commitment from the company for this
• The Ashburton District Council lit up the clock tower once again
• 4 Businesses -Todds of Ashburton, Flowers and Balloons ,Fusion Gallery and Stepping Out all undertook window displays with the Say No message.
• Social media was also utilised with a daily post made over the 16 days of action with the Say No message
• The 16 days of activism culminated in a club social function at the Methven races with our Honzons. For impact Members dressed in varying degrees of orange and mingled with our invited guests, the orange ladies.

50 Women of Achievement recognized

To celebrate 50 years towards empowering women in New Zealand, Zonta recognized 50 New Zealand women with an achievement award

Fittingly these were announced on, March 8th, 2016, International Women’s Day

Two Women nominated by the Zonta club of Ashburton Dame Jenny Shipley and Sandra Curd were successful in being recognized.

Club President, Alison Grant, stated how delighted the club was and thrilled that both our nominations, Sandra Curd and Dame Jenny Shipley have been recognised.

Congratulations to them both. They both very much represent the ideals and profile of Zonta.

Womens Day Breakfast March 2016

Once again the women of mid Canterbury were treated to another excellent speaker for the Zonta Club of Ashburton annual International Women’s Day breakfast.

Speaking to 250 women, Hip hop Founder Billie Jordan enthralled and charmed us with her commitment to making a difference ,dispelling myths on aging and her compassion toward the older members of our community– such an inspiring, entertaining young woman with a wonderfully positive message for the “grey tsunami”! – enjoy your life and make the most of it no matter what age you are!

Hear Yea Hear Yea

Members and Onzons (partners) held their annual Change of Officers Dinner recently.

The theme was Medieval to support guest speaker Dot Smith from Riverstone near Oamaru.

The evening was also attended by the District 16 Governor, Janette Irvine ,who installed the new Board and the Area 5 Director ,Sue Prowse ,who inducted new member Jaz McCully.

International Women’s Day Breakfast

The club celebrated International Womens Day by hosting a breakfast for over 200 women, including members from Timaru and Christchurch South Clubs .Guest speaker was former Silver Fern captain ,Bernice Mene.Bernice gave an inspiring address, reminding us to stand tall ,believe in ourselves and remain “unembarassable”

Zonta Says NO

The Zonta Club of Ashburton commenced 16 Days of Activism by having a display in a local shop window .Titled “Don’t walk in her shoes” the display highlighted the sad reality of Domestic Violence in our community towards women

On the 25th November 2014 ,wearing orange and Zonta Says No ribbons, members participated in a public march as part of White Robbin Day Activities.

On Sunday 30th November the club held a stall at a community event in our local Domain to promote Zonta and the advocacy undertaken towards highlighting our stance of saying No to violence against Women

Donations to Sophie Elliot Foundation

The Zonta Club of Ashburton recently hosted Lesley Elliot, mother of Sophie Elliot who was murdered by her ex boyfriend in 2008.Lesley has established the Sophie Elliot Foundation which aims to support a shift in attitude towards relationship violence.

The foundation is committed to delivering a school based programme to better prepare young people to take care of themselves when they are most vulnerable.
Lesley spoke to year 12 students at both Ashburton and Mount Hutt Colleges, followed by a public forum in the evening.

To assist the foundation meet this goal the Ashburton Zonta club donated $2000 to the foundation.
For further info on the foundation

International Convention

Two club members recently represented the club at the Zonta International Convention in Orlando. Attended by 1600 members from 67 countries, the convention provides an opportunity to formally recognise and reward clubs service as well as providing a forum for voting on our organisation’s business, issues and direction for the future.

Representative on District16 Board

Member Sue Prowse was inducted onto the Zonta District 16 Board for the 2014-2016 biennium by outgoing District Governor, Maureen Heine, at a function in Rotorua on August 2nd 2014.

Annual Change of Officers

Zontians and their partners gathered recently to attend the clubs annual “Changeover” Dinner .Guest speaker at the event was Cheviot adventure traveller /journalist, Ellis Emmett.

Ellis presented an interesting address on conquering fear and the work that he plans to undertake to assist youth who are suffering from depression

Further information regarding this can be accessed on

Two Events Held in March

The annual Youth Art Awards was held showcasing 52 exhibitions from some amazing emerging artists .The exhibition held in the local art gallery ran for two weeks and gives these artists an opprtunity to showcase their talent.

The next morning 225 women attended a breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Guest Speaker was Tamsin Cooper who gave an insite into her journey as a designer along with having exquiste items from her new season collection for sale

20th Anniversary Celebrations

The club recently held a Dinner and Dance to celebrate its 20th anniversary .

This important milestone was enjoyed by Zonta members past and present ,partners and guests .These guests included representatives from the Christchurch South Club who were our initial sponsors. The evening began with drinks and canapes in the garden followed by a dinner and dance

5 inaugural members were present to cut the anniversary cake.

Anti Violence Message

Our club participated in various ways toward the Zonta International 16 days of activism campaign to protest about violence against women

Members wore orange wrist bands and ribbons to highlight the issue.

On November 25th we joined a public street march .One member decorated her shop window while another members business gave up their advertising space in the local newspaper each day for a week and replaced it with a Zonta anti- violence advertisement.

On Friday 29th members held an awareness day starting with interviews on the local radio station, articles were placed in the newspapers and then we set up a display in the main street “don’t walk in her shoes” .The focus of the display was a collection of shoes that lined the footpath, each pair represented one of the 283 cases of domestic violence that was reported to the police last year in Ashburton .This effective visual display left many passer-by’s shocked by the amount of shoes that were on the footpath.

Volunteer Gains Zonta Club Award

Ashburton Youth Council chair Sara Lee Kircher has been named the winner of the 2013 Ashburton Zonta Community Services Aawrd .The award is open to year 13 female students attending Ashburton College and recognises significant contributions to school and community services .SaraLee was presented with the award and a cheque for $500.00 for her voluntary service to the community through her involvement with the youth council .Sara Lee will use the money to fund books and uniforms as she prepares to commence her Bachelor of Nursing Degree studies

Ashburton Club nomination wins International Award

Isobel Ferguson is one of 10 young woman to receive the Zonta International YWPA impressing International judges with her hard work in her local community and dreams of making a difference in the community President Jeanette Montgomery said “the local club was very proud of Miss Fergusson and what she had achieved

2013 Young Women in Public Affairs Award Recipients