Years of quiet dedication recognised

16 January 2024

Mobilising the power of humanity needs extraordinary human beings. That’s why every year we recognise the service of our people through national honours and awards. We’re a team of over 500 employees and 9,000 members and volunteers across the motu from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

Over 100 people were recognised for their service in 2023. Ethne Wydham-Smith is one of them – she received a National Certificate of Appreciation, awarded to people who’ve made a special and noteworthy contribution to Red Cross.

Ethne’s been a member of Red Cross in Wellington for 16 years. During her time with the Karori and Wellington Red Cross branches, she led the annual ‘Red Rose Day’ and secured grants to fund for first aid classes for people who speak English as a second language. She also made sure that former refugees would be greeted at the airport by Red Cross volunteers. Later, she coordinated buying items for welcome packs, which provided essential household items for former refugees resettling in Wellington.

She’s been a keen supporter of fundraisers and helped at events with former refugees, including organizing helpers to provide face painting and games for children. Ethne also helped collect and deliver household items to families in need after emergencies.

As well as being a dedicated Red Cross member, Ethne has been active in her home community of Karori for decades. She played hockey and tennis and coached school and adult teams, served on parent teacher associations, volunteered with the Catholic Women’s League, and has been involved with Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne since its inception.

In the late 1990s, she spent four years in Papua New Guinea working as a librarian and high school teacher at Bogia High School, Madang Province through a voluntary agency. After returning to Karori she was the co-ordinator of the Karori Community Centre for over a decade. Ethne has also been an active member of the Justice of the Peace for many years.

“Ethne is well regarded by fellow members of the Wellington and former Karori Branch who strongly support the recognition of her remarkable energy, long service, and dedication to New Zealand Red Cross,” said Georgia Duke – Red Cross Wellington Branch President.

Photo courtesy of Chris Gee.

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Thank you to all our people for your contributions to our mission and Movement – we couldn’t do it without you.