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Olympian Honoured

Olympian Honoured

Olympian Penny Hunt became the first women to be inducted into the Chilton Saint James School Honour Roll for her achievement in and contribution to Sport. Her work was highlighted at a function attended by over 100 past Chilton students, as well as Chilton Staff and Board Members last night (15 November).

Penny served as a staff member at Chilton from 1976 – 1999 where she is remembered as having made a significant contribution to both Athletics and the Olympic Movement in New Zealand.

She represented New Zealand in the 1970, 1974, 1978 Commonwealth Games and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Her personal best for 400m was 52.66 and the 4x400m Relay record of 3m 37.5s that was set at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch remains unbroken.

Her knowledge of track and field history is impressive and she remains a passionate contributor to Athletics. She continues to have a strong involvement in both the Wellington Harriers and Masters circuit.

She has been the chairperson of the Wellington Committee of the Olympian Club for the last five years and continues to play an instrumental role in bringing Olympians together.

In particular she has been instrumental in a project to record all New Zealand Olympians, the only country to have done so. New Zealand Olympians are awarded with a numbered pin which marks their membership of this elite club. This has also formed the basis of material which makes up the New Zealand Olympic Museum which is housed at Queens Wharf in Wellington.

She continues to work as a senior teacher of Social Studies and Geography at the Correspondence School, where she has worked since 1999. She is described as being passionate about encouraging and supporting children to achieve and is actively involved within the school.

Two other high profile business women will be honoured at a further function early in 2013.

Three other awards were made posthumously at the event to women who had made a significant contribution in their respective fields.

Molly Macalister (m. Haydn): Arts
As a professional sculptor whose career spanned 40 years Molly’s sculpted works gained such fame that they can be seen in private and public places all over New Zealand. She is perhaps best known for the Māori Warrior which takes pride of place on Auckland’s Queen Street. Her work was also displayed in the Tate Gallery in London. Molly attended Chilton in the 1930s where Chilton’s first principal Miss Geraldine FitzGerald encouraged her profound interest in sculpture. Molly was a founding (and later life) member of the New Zealand Society of Sculptors.

Gwen Ryan: Civic Service
As a strong advocate for women Gwen was founding President of the Wellington branch of the Federation of University Women. Gwen was principal at Chilton from 1956 – 1961 where she undertook a major building programme and implemented the current House structure. On her retirement from teaching she went on to do voluntary work in China at a time when China was still very much closed to Western society before finally returning to New Zealand in 1989. In 1997 she was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee medal, one of only 1 507 New Zealand recipients. In 1990 she was awarded the QSO-C (Queen's Service Order for Community Service) for services to the United Nations Association and New Zealand-China relations. Her work and reputation in China was such that, when Gwen turned 80 she was invited back to China for two months. At Gwen’s funeral earlier in 2012 her family received many emails from former Chinese students around the world who wrote highly and lovingly of their time and influence with and from Gwen.

Dr. Louise Ryan (nee Stewart): Academic
Dr Louise Ryan's was recognised for her contribution to academic research into osteoporosis and her significant contribution to the voluntary sector in New Zealand.

After completing her B.Sc. majoring in Chemistry, and M.Sc.(Hons.) majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics at Canterbury University College Louise moved to London where she undertook a PhD at University of London into the Microradiographic study of the mineral content of bone tissue.

On her return to New Zealand, and with four young children, Louise launched herself into voluntary work serving on a number of local school and community committees including the Eastbourne Branch of Red Cross where she served as Branch Treasurer and Meals and Wheels co-ordinator for nearly 19 years. This work led to her being awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Red Cross in 2008.

As a long-term supporter for the Women's Electoral lobby she became deeply involved in the campaign for electoral reform and was a staunch proponent of MMP for which she was a joint recipient of The Wallace Award, in recognition of her significant contribution to public understanding of electoral matters.

Her strong social conscience led her to be a Founding member and Treasurer of the SHE Trust, an organisation that helps disadvantaged women in the Hutt Valley into tertiary education by providing scholarships.

As part of the National Council of Women of New Zealand's Parliamentary Watch Committee she was involved in writing and presenting many submissions on women's issues to Select Committees over 15 years.

What is the Chilton Honour Roll?
The Chilton Honour Roll was introduced in 2012 to honour past Chilton Saint James School alumnae or members of the Chilton community who have gone on to make a significant contribution to society at a national or international level in one of five categories:

• Academic
• The Arts
• Service
• Sport
• Professional

About Chilton Saint James School
Established in 1918, Chilton is an Independent school, affiliated with the Anglican Church. Chilton Saint James School is a girls’ only day school from Year 1 through to Year 13 with a co-educational Preschool based in tranquil surroundings in central Lower Hutt.

With a high-achieving academic record and strong participation in both sports and arts the School has a long history of nurturing students to become independent lifelong learners.


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