Patsy Thornton – Congratulations

Congratulations to Patsy Thornton, who was appointed as a member of the Lottery Northland Community Distribution Committee on 26th April 2011. 




I was a member of the Kaitaia BPW club for thirteen years and became President in 2001 when the club was failing and almost in recess. I endeavoured to rebuild the club by introducing interesting projects and encouraging women to develop and grow by belonging to organizations such as this.

At the end of my term as President, membership had increased by seven and we had a total of 21 members with a further seven members pending.

I have attended five conferences and while President attended all the bi-annual Regional meetings. In 2003 I attended the Oceania conference held in Rarotonga as a representative of the Kaitaia BPW club along with one other delegate.

In 2001 I represented the club at the dedication of the ‘World Leaders Build Houses’ (Habitat for Humanity) in Kaitaia at which the Prime Minister Helen Clarke officiated and in the same capacity attended an afternoon tea hosted by the Mayor.

In 2003 I was selected to represent BPW on the Claude Switzer Memorial Advisory Board and have done so until 2009 and we now have another of our members representing BPW. The Switzer Home is a Retirement Home and involves all sections of the Community.

while I was President, all BPW committee meetings were held at my home and followed by refreshments allowing for enjoying social time together.

In 2004 I undertook my biggest challenge ever involving BPW.

Having moved to Doubtless Bay in 2001 I soon realized the need for a club in the area. I canvassed local businesses and residents and proceeded to ‘sell’ BPW. This culminated in a Public meeting being held with the support and approval of NZ President Anita Devcich. I printed and delivered flyers, advertised in the local papers, local radio stations and our local Cable T.V. The result was beyond expectations with forty women attending and a new Club was born!

I was elected President and served for two years and another two years on the committee.

Unfortunately this meant transferring from the Kaitaia BPW Club which was by then flourishing and there were members who also lived in the Doubtless Bay area that transferred with me. While we felt our going was a loss to Kaitaia BPW our experience was necessary to ensure the welfare of the new club. I am very pleased and proud of this Club that has continued to be a success.

In 2005 I was presented with the Daphne Chapman Award for promoting BPW. for which I was indeed humbled and proud.

Since then I have attended another four conferences the last being in Gisborne 2010



Kaitaia BPW Years:

In October 1999 the club hosted Business Woman of the Year, Irene Durham, for a public meeting where she spoke on Financial Planning Services.

In November 2000 as part of Project 2000 we hosted a panel on Women’s’ Legal Rights with four local lawyers at a public meeting.

I hosted a Jo Seager dinner (raising funds for cancer) at my home in 2000 along with another member who also hosted one. The proceeds went to Far North Palliative Care.

A seminar for women into Council was held in March 2001 with Robyn Leiffering a councilor from Whangarei presiding where we met the councilors and after which we submitted a report to support the Whangarei Club’s award for Ann Todd Bell Issues Award- Conference Dunedin 2001.

I organized cooking demonstrations along the Alison Holst style which were held at the home of a local woman who was renowned for her cooking skills and expertise, in 2002.

We have also had a presentation by Alison Mooney held at The Northener Motel and also had Alison Mooney as guest speaker at a seminar at Taipa.

Our main project ‘Art 2 Wear’, which has become an annual event, has escalated since its conception some years ago and in September 2000 was part of the 25th celebration of the Community Centre.

Throughout this time I have been on the committee, as President, vice President or IPP.

In 2003 I attended the Oceana Conference in Rarotonga.



Doubtless Bay BPW:

For the first three years we held an annual Garden Party at a member’s beautiful home on the shores of MIll Bay.

We have held three very successful fashion shows and a Chrissy Russell evening on “What to Wear.”

Each year we have held wine and cheese evenings on Daffodil Day to raise funds for Cancer.

We have donated two prizes that are awarded annually to the Taipa District High School for Excellence and Initiative and Junior Sports Girl.

We also have created a 2nd Chance Award also presented annually.

In 2008 we hosted a public meeting with Prime Minister Helen Clark

In 2010 we held a fund raising event to support Miss World N.Z. who lives in Northland and who was a guest speaker at our combined Christmas lunch with the other Northland Clubs.

We celebrated Suffrage Day in 2010 with a High Tea where a panel of women candidates who were standing for the local body elections were able to address us.

I have been involved in the organization of all these projects.




A big challenge for me was that while I was President of the BPW Club in Kaitaia I was also President of the Kaitaia Rotary Club and at the same time running my business working long hours, but I managed to do justice to both Clubs and am justifiably proud of my achievements at that busy time receiving the District Governor’s Citation for commitment to Rotary Service.

In 2008 I received the distinguished “Paul Harris Fellow” Award from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

In 2004 I formed the Doubtless Bay Chapter of the International Red Hat Society a club purely devoted to Oldies just having fun!!

In June 2009 I again became President of the Kaitaia Rotary Club as well as still being actively involved with the Doubtless Bay B.P.W.

November 2009 also saw me take up my second term as President of the Doubtless Bay BPW and continues on in 2011.
In 2009 I was recognized by the Kaitaia and Doubtless Bay BPW with a certificate for my significant contribution through Club and National Representation when BPW N.Z. celebrated their 70th Anniversary.

I am proud to have also attained my Keys to Achievement Certificate.




I am a fifth generation New Zealander, my great great grandfather being the first white man to come to Mangonui from Ireland in 1831. I was born in Auckland but lived in Ahipara on the Ninety Mile Beach until I married in 1959 when I moved to Kaitaia. My husband and I owned a Dairy for eleven years and then a Stationery shop for twenty eight years, the last eight I ran on my own after my husband passed away in 1991.

I have three very successful sons, two living in Auckland and one in Australia. I am the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren, four girls and three boys.


I attribute my success to my organizational skills, capabilities, business experience, initiative and dedication.

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