Ailsa Stewart

Ailsa Stewart’s father was the harbourmaster for the Whanganui Harbour Board, and Ailsa, born in 1943, grew up in the port suburb of Castlecliff, where the sights and sounds of a working harbour were central to her childhood, as she recalls here. Ailsa attended Castlecliff Primary School and Whanganui Girls College, then trained as a nurse and later as a midwife, working in Dunedin, Scotland and Wellington before returning to Whanganui where she took a job at Whanganui Base Hospital. Later jobs took her to Tonga and to the Solomon Islands; she then spent many years as a Whanganui District Councillor and was the first elected member of the Whanganui District Health Board. She was appointed a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for her work in the community and awarded a New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal 1993 for 30 years of service to women and children. Her life of service continues today, in a range of volunteer roles, and she concludes this interview with a reminder to others of the value of volunteering.

Extracts from the interview can be heard here - the full interview can be accessed at the Alexander Heritage and Research Library, Whanganui.