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Meryll Evans awarded Life Membership

From left Liz Rockel (new Secretary), Gill Dodson (Co-president) and Meryll Evans at the opening of Kerry Jane Scott’s exhibition at Pātaka, February 2020.

On her retirement as Secretary, Meryll Evans was awarded a Life Membership to the Friends of Pātaka. Meryll had been Secretary since the very beginning of the Friends of Pātaka 17 years ago. At the presentation at last month’s AGM, Meryll spoke of those beginnings:

“An American woman asked Pātaka General Manager Darcy Nicholas: ‘Why doesn’t Pātaka have a Friends society?’. Darcy asked Helen Smith who, with help from Victoria Pound and Carolyn Wallace, organized a survey-of-interest document sent out to the Porirua community.  There were 257 replies and that’s where I came in, as I offered to sort them into a spreadsheet!

“A follow-up letter was sent to find 15 committed members to enable incorporation. We became an incorporated society in April 2004 and a General Meeting was held on 27 May to elect an Executive and Committee to launch Friends of Pātaka. Susan Forbes was made President and Victoria Pound, Vice President, the Treasurer was June Penman, and I was made Secretary. The Committee comprised Carolyn Wallace, Vivienne Carruthers, Helen Smith, Rhys Richards and Rebecca Spinks. The first events we organised were weekly lunch-time ART2GO talks, a Christmas Party and a Pasifika Party.”

She later said: “I have had a great time over the years being so involved with Friends and Pātaka and all the people that had been part of making the Friends of Pātaka a success. I really appreciate how Sue and Gill have moved the Friends into a new era which has given me the opportunity to step away – in retrospect 17 years was far too long to be in the same role! And a special thank you to Liz Rockel for taking up the role of Secretary and you know you have a strong team to support you.

“Meryll has been a MOST enthusiastic and active member of Friends since its inception,” says Co-president Sue Mortlock. “She has worked tirelessly to promote all things connected to Pātaka Art + Museum and most especially the Art Awards and Music Series.”

Meryll will continue to contribute as a Friends Committee member. “We are all so glad not to be losing her,” says Co-president Gill Dodson. “Her wealth of knowledge, skills and established relationships are truly invaluable.”