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Soroptimist International Members Honoured with Queen's Service Medals (QSM)

Soroptimist International, a global volunteer organisation committed to educating, empowering and enabling women and girls, proudly announces that two of its distinguished members, Mrs. Kristeen Elizabeth Johnston and Mrs. Joy Margaret Oakly, have been awarded the Queen's Service Medal in the New Year's Honours for their outstanding contributions to the community, women and education.

Mrs. Kristeen Elizabeth Johnston

For services to the community

Mrs Kristeen Johnston has been supporting women and girls through her involvement in several organisations in the wider Wellington community.

Since 2007, Mrs Johnston has taken on leadership roles in several organisations and charities, including as President of Wellington Soroptimists from 2014 to 2015 and again in 2019, and Soroptimist International National President from 2020 to 2022. She has worked to educate, empower and enable women and girls in a variety of ways, including fundraising to donate period products to the City Mission and sitting on the International Women’s Caucus facilitated by the Ministry for Women. She has helped Soroptimist clubs around New Zealand to raise $25,000 to combat ovarian cancer. She has been involved with Dress for Success Wellington since 2007, serving as President from 2010 to 2012, and was National President of the Dress for Success Alliance in 2012. She was made a Life Member of Dress for Success in 2014, and in 2022 she helped establish the organisation’s Dressed in the Hutt Charity Shop. Since 2012, Mrs Johnston has been involved with Bellyful, dedicating her time to cook over 100 frozen meals per month for distribution to families with new babies or young children and little or no family or social support.

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Mrs. Joy Margaret Oakly

For services to the community

Mrs Joy Oakly has advocated for greater educational opportunities for women and young girls in the Nelson Tasman region for more than 40 years.

Mrs Oakly was Captain of the Third Nelson Company of Girls Brigade Company from 1970 to 1993 and a member and President of the Nelson West Rotoract between 1974 and 1980. In 1981 she joined Soroptimist International Nelson. She has held several roles on the Executive Committee, including as President in 1989 and 2010 to 2012. She has led several initiatives to support women and girls regionally, including securing funding from the Ministry of Education for a Young Parents’ School to provide learning assistance to complete NCEA courses. She is current Chair of the Nelson Soroptimist Education Trust, which provides scholarships to women and girls experiencing financial hardship. She has supported numerous campaigns in schools including ‘Students Against Violence’ and anti-bullying campaigns. She has been involved with several events to raise awareness of family violence in the region, including supporting the annual White Ribbon Riders and ‘Walk the Talk’ marches. Since 1970 she has worked as a scientist at the Nelson Cawthron Institute and has been involved in the Institute’s Annual School Science Fair for many years. Mrs Oakly was a Trustee of the Betty Loughhead Soroptimist Trust from 2014 to 2017.

The Queen's Service Medal is a testament to the exceptional dedication and leadership demonstrated by Mrs. Johnston and Mrs. Oakly in their respective fields. Soroptimist International of Aotearoa New Zealand congratulates both recipients for this well-deserved honour and is immensely proud to have them as integral members of the organisation.

Soroptimist International of Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to the empowerment of women globally, and these awards underscore the impactful contributions made by its members in making a positive difference in communities.

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