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Funeral Celebrates the Life of Sonja Davies


17 June 2005

Funeral Celebrates the Life of Sonja Davies

The Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, and the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, will be among the speakers at Sunday’s funeral in Wellington to celebrate the life of Sonja Davies.

Sonja Davies, ONZ, a former MP, trade unionist and peace activist, died on Sunday in Wellington. She was 81.

Her funeral will be held at the Wellington Town Hall on Sunday, June 19 at 4.30pm.

“Sonja left very clear instructions that her funeral service was to be a celebration of her long and achievement-filled life,” said her friend and lawyer Charles Chauvel. “We have been organising a farewell to Sonja that we hope will live up to her expectations and reflect the things in which she so passionately believed.”

Other speakers include Parliament’s Speaker, Margaret Wilson, CTU secretary Carol Beaumont, Sir Tipene O’Regan, on behalf of Sonja Davies’ iwi, Ngai Tahu, her brother, David Mackersey, and Charles Chauvel.

Labour MPs to confirm their attendance so far are Mark Burton, Lianne Dalziel, Helen Duncan, Harry Duynhoven, Ruth Dyson, Martin Gallagher, Marian Hobbs, Steve Maharey, Ross Robertson, Judith Tizard, Jill Pettis, Darren Hughes and Lesley Soper.

Women friends of Sonja Davies who are bringing her into the town hall for the funeral are expected to include peace activist Kate Dewes; Lynne Bruce, secretary, NZEI; Rosslyn Noonan, Chief Human Rights Commissioner; Margaret Shields, former Minister of Women’s Affairs; writer and publisher Diane Grant; film-maker Gaylene Preston; and the executive director of the Council for International Development, Rae Julian.

The men bringing her out of the town hall after the funeral are likely to be her three grandsons Ben, Tim and Tony; her neighbour Charlie Baldwin; Ken Douglas, foundation president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions; Ron Burgess, former secretary of the Post Office Workers’ Union; Peter Conway, CTU director industry/policy and economist; and Don Swan, assistant general secretary of the Service and Food Workers’ Union.

Books of remembrance, and donation boxes for the Sonja Davies Peace Award, the charity that Sonja Davies wished to be mentioned on her death, will be available at the town hall on Sunday.


Order of Service

A celebration of the life of

Sonja Margaret Loveday Davies

Member of the Order of New Zealand
Justice of the Peace
Honorary Doctor of Laws, Victoria University of Wellington


for quality education, housing and healthcare
for peace at home and abroad
for justice in the workplace
for the rights of women
for the environment
for human dignity


11 November 1923 – 12 June 2005

Photograph of Sonja

Wellington Town Hall, Sunday 19 June 2005, 4:30pm

Douglas Mews, Wellington City Organist, plays the organ as people gather in the Town Hall

Choir, Choir Pants on Fire sings ‘Bread and Roses’ as Sonja enters the Town Hall

Charles Chauvel makes remarks of welcome

Her Excellency the Honourable Dame Silvia Cartwright PCNZM, DBE, Governor-General, speaks

The Right Honourable Helen Clark MP, Prime Minister, speaks

Rachel Thomson (piano) and Bridget Douglas (flute)

The Honourable Margaret Wilson MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, speaks

Carol Beaumont, Secretary, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, speaks

Choir, Choir Pants on Fire sings ‘Joe Hill’

Sir Tipene O’Regan speaks

David Mackersey speaks

All sing ‘Bread and Roses’ as Sonja leaves the Town Hall

Bread and Roses
As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

Words James Oppenheim, Music Mimi Farina

Photograph of Sonja to be inserted here

© Scoop Media

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