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Kiwi culture

202. Tania Bearsley

A New Zealander living in the UK volunteers to promote the countries’ cultural and historic links as well as fundraising for good causes.

10 Downing Street

Tania Bearsley, who is originally from Wellington, New Zealand and has lived in London for 10 years, is the President of the New Zealand Society UK, the oldest community networking group for New Zealanders in the country. In the eighteen months that Tania has been President, the organisation has distributed tens of thousands of pounds through its charitable fund to help a variety of projects which advance the cultural, sporting, artistic and historical links between the two countries while providing a way for Kiwis to connect with their homeland.

Tania, an entrepreneur, moved to the UK in 2005 and joined the New Zealand Society as a way to reconnect with and maintain her Kiwi identity and celebrate the achievements of her fellow New Zealanders in the UK. Tania joined the organisation’s Committee in 2011 and was voted in as President of the Society in June 2013.

As President, Tania’s role includes organising fundraising and social events in London and sharing news and events across the New Zealand community in the UK. In the last year alone Tania and her dedicated team of volunteer Committee members have helped to organise 19 events including Anzac Day commemorations highlighting the involvement of New Zealanders in the First World War and the Waitangi Day Charity Ball, a social highlight for New Zealanders.

Tania also manages the Society’s Charitable Fund. Last year over £20,000 was raised through events and fundraising and granted to projects that enhance relationships between the UK and New Zealand. Recent grants have included a £2,000 contribution to the British Museum for the purchase of a tapa dress from New Zealand designer Paula Chan for an upcoming exhibition, and a £2,500 grant to fund accommodation for six young actors taking part in a two week programme at The Globe Theatre in conjunction with The Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand.

The New Zealand Society (UK) was founded in 1927 and its current patron is His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. From small beginnings the society has grown to over 250 members with over 2,000 people regularly receiving their newsletters, helping to strengthen the ties between the two countries and celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand community across the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Tania’s work celebrates the close historical ties between New Zealand and the UK. Under Tania’s leadership the New Zealand Society plays an important role in promoting Kiwi culture here and provides fantastic opportunities for New Zealanders to network and connect with their heritage. I’m delighted to name her the UK’s 202nd Point of Light.”

Tania said:

“The New Zealand Society (UK) provides the opportunity to connect with our home and culture, whilst celebrating the opportunities and experiences unique to us here in the UK. I am honoured to be named among many other inspiring individuals for the Points of Light Award. I accept this award proudly, and in turn celebrate all of those who have gone before me and continue to contribute to the Society as Committee members.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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