Our Lady of Kapiti Women's Guild 2016

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Congratulations to Lillian Hawker, Cynthia Sinclair and Pam Heffernan who were honoured with Life Membership of the Women's Guild awarded in recognition of their outstanding services to the Guild and the parish community – Mid-Winter Lunch – Monday 13 June 2016 – Sr. Barbara Henley RNDM

The person I would like to present to you for life membership is well known in our community.

She left the shores of the U.K. and sailed to the far off isles of New Zealand arriving in Wellington at Easter-time 1953 – a bit of a shock to the system! However, what was a loss to the U.K. has proved to be a great gain to New Zealand especially in family and parish life.

I’m talking about…. Pam Heffernan!

Pam is the mother to 7 children, grandmother to 24 and great grandmother to 11, at this stage. She lives for her family and parish life.

Pam has been a very loyal member of the Waikanae Women’s Guild since shifting to Waikanae from Kilbirnie over 20 years ago. She has not hesitated to make herself available for those tasks that people don’t quickly put their hands up to do.

In these, her golden years, Pam has volunteered her services as Guild Secretary and also Convenor of the helpers who offer hospitality at funerals. Not only has Pam been generous with her time and energy organising our willing members she has been most proficient in the kitchen and always willing to lend a hand herself.

Thank you Pam for all you have contributed to the Guild over many years.

Today we give thanks to … Cynthia Sinclair

Cynthia Mary Chalmers was born in 1927 in Wellington Hospital.  She was the eldest of 3 girls and has  twin sisters Maureen and Pauline.  She was a first day pupil at  Holy Cross Convent in Miramar then went to St Mary’s College.

Upon leaving school she worked as a shorthand typist in various places until she met and married Bill Sinclair.

They lived in Auckland and Fiji before moving to Paraparaumu and then Waikanae where their five children were born.  Her husband Bill had a successful joinery business with his brothers in Waikanae.

Mum was widowed at 40 when dad and his two brothers were drowned out at Kapiti when they went on a day’s fishing excursion.   Left with a 3 month old baby and 4 more children between the ages of 7 and 14, life was an incredible challenge.  She did an amazing juggling act of being both mother and  father to the children and  working 6 jobs at once including catering, cleaning, dressmaking, and worked in Tuohy's Drapery (Lisa was in a bassinet out the back).  She was even the head custodian at the Waikanae Pools for some years in her 60's.

She then worked for almost 15 years at the National Bank at Coastlands Paraparaumu in the late 70's as the Manager’s Secretary and  assisting the tellers when necessary.  After retiring from the bank Cynthia worked as a volunteer for the Salvation Army for many years and has always helped out with the Cancer Society. 

Keeping involved in the community and interacting with the public has always been something she loves doing.  It keeps her young.

That energy and giftedness is what Cynthia has given the Guild over many years and for this reason we wish to honour you today Cynthia with your life membership.  Thanks for your help and contribution to the committee and to our community over many years.

The person we wish to honour today was born in Hanchy, in Normandy France 90 years ago.  Now already most of you will be saying well that’s not me…. 

Nor is it Queen Elizabeth because although she was born at the same time not too far away she isn’t here today!

I am speaking about….  Lillian Hawker!

Her father feared for the safety of the family as war in that part of France was imminent so he packed up the family and they sailed to a distance French outpost way out in the Pacific.

And that is how Lillian arrived as a 14 year old in New Caledonia with her brother George and four sisters around 1937.

Her parents owned and ran a dairy farm from which they supplied milk and dairy products, meat and crops to the army boys of the NZ medical corps.  Lillian always knew hard work and shared the chores along with her parents and siblings.  In this role she possibly often met the sergeant in charge of the Quartermasters’ stores! Over time the relationship grew and the rest is history… She eventually came to NZ as bride to be aged 19 … married and settled in Carterton. They have one son Peter who lives in Waikanae.

Why Lillian is being honoured today is for her many years of membership to the Guild and for her outstanding contribution namely her hundreds and of outfits she has knitted over the years.  In earlier times it was babies’ layettes which we sent to The House of Grace…then it was beanies for the children of Porirua schools then jumpers and so it still continues today.

Lillian we admire your dedication and generosity and we sincerely thank you so very much.

Congratulations and may you continue to enjoy your hobbies, your garden, your cooking and your wonderful life!

Our role of honour is now:

  1. Leah Crompton – RIP,
  2. Josie Keith – RIP,
  3. Peggy O’Brien – RIP,
  4. Francie Connolly,
  5. Pat Gruschow,
  6. Anna Upton,
  7. Lillian Hawker,
  8. Pam Heffernan and
  9. Cynthia Sinclair.


Blessed be you, O God;

For colourful characters and capable women who share their skills and talents to make life enjoyable, colourful and bright for the rest of us.

Yes Lord, thanks for those who help raise our spirits and hopes…. whose energy and vitality enlivens those us who are slowing down a little.

Thanks for those who put others before self and work to make the world you have given us a bright and beautiful place to live in.

Thanks be to God for such people who make real your promise of peace on earth and good will to all.

May such people fill our communities and walk our streets witnessing to the glory of your name in all the earth! Amen.