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Marsden School Inducts Inspiring Women Into Hall Of Fame

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School (Karori, Wellington) recently inducted three inspiring and creative women, who are Old Girls of the school, as 2020 Laureates into the Marsden Hall of Fame. The Marsden Hall of Fame was established in 2006 as a way of celebrating and acknowledging women in business, and was broadened in 2010 to cover all fields of endeavour. Marsden School is proud to honour truly outstanding women, who’ve achieved success in areas as diverse as the arts, science, commerce, education, health, law, the environment, women’s affairs and the community.

Sarah Meikle was recognised for her contribution to New Zealand’s culinary industry internationally, nationally and most importantly, locally. Sarah is the CEO of Wellington Culinary Trust Events and the Festival Director of Visa Wellington on a Plate as well as Events Director of other local festivals such as Beervana and Highball. Sarah is also the Deputy Chairperson of Yachting New Zealand, a Director of Palliser Estate Wines of New Zealand and an Executive Member of the food collective, Eat New Zealand. She has spoken at conferences around the world sharing her ideas on the role that food plays in a country’s food story and brand. She was a finalist in the 2019 Women of Influence Awards.

Mary-Annette Hay (nee Burgess) was made a Laureate in the Marsden Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution to the artistic heritage of New Zealand, as a painter and high profile promoter of wool and its industry. Mary-Annette became the Wool Board’s Director of Wool Promotion from 1948-1956 with a mandate to take the wonder of wool to the nation and the world turning it from a commodity to a fashion fabric. To do this, Mary-Annette dramatised wool’s story as theatre and brought it alive, dressing her performers in fashions created by international fashion designers including; Balmain, Worth and Hartnell. As Mary-Annette spoke, the performers mimed the story of the versatility and potential of wool in a colourful setting set to music. Thanks to these shows, performed in a theatre or in a huge wool store (for example the Wright Stephenson’s Store in Wanganui) and in the Wellington Town Hall, numerous producers of NZ clothes gained prominence and prosperity here and overseas. In 2007, Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand held an exhibition titled, Mary-Annette Hay, Queen of Wool with a poster image of Mary-Annette dressed in Balmain’s wonderful pale pink evening gown. The Exhibition on her life featured for a year at Te Papa.

As a painter Mary Annette was an elected and founding member of the NZ Academy of Fine Arts and a featured artist in Water Colour New Zealand.

Siobhan Bulfin was also inducted into the Marsden Hall of Fame this year, her award recognising her contribution in the Health sector especially in the areas of mental health, social responsibility, and entrepreneurship. Her Company Melon Health is one of only three products recommended and funded to support mental well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic. Siobhan saw and understood the need for empowering people to manage their own health and realised that better outcomes could be achieved when clinicians, family and whānau, and the consumer, worked together. In a world where health and its management is a business, and information technology is the norm, Siobhan knew that connecting people via a digital platform was the way of the future. Melon Health, which Siobhan founded in 2012, meets the needs of all age groups including teenagers. A user friendly website, apps, webinars and journaling offer a variety of ways to enable people to take ownership of their health. The company has offices in New Zealand and the USA. It has won awards both nationally and internationally.

“So many of our Marsden Old Girls go on to lead lives that shape and impact their communities for the better. We are thrilled when they come back to encourage and inspire our current students”, said Marsden Principal Narelle Umbers.

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