For the love of children and cheese
16 June 2023
When Dianne Kenderdine joined the Board of the Anglican Trust for Women and Children, she was told she had big boots to fill. 46 years and an MNZM Award later, she has lived up to expectations, and then some.
“My husband’s great-grandfather set-up Auckland’s first safe space for neglected children in 1858, after making a promise to a dying widow that he would find a home for her young children. That was the very start of the work that would become the Anglican Trust for Women and Children.”
With a Diploma in Home Science from the University of Otago, Dianne began her career as a dressmaking and cooking teacher at Auckland’s Otara College. However, her desire to help others ultimately pulled her in another direction.
“When I met some of the families and children I was teaching, I knew there was more I could be doing.
“I went on to become a Child Welfare Officer and that led to my involvement with the Anglican Trust for Women.”
And although Dianne’s work with the charity has spanned more than four decades, including 13 years as the Chair, she still found time to indulge her other passion – cheese.
“My grandmother was an amazing cook, and my uncle was a dairy farmer supplying to the Edendale factory. So, my interest in food was ingrained in me from a young age.”
As the Secretary for the New Zealand Cheese Makers Association for more than 15 years, Dianne was instrumental in the Annual Cheese Awards, and is a life member of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association.
Her service to both the cheese industry and the community was recognised in 2018 when she was presented with an honorary New Zealand Order of Merit Award by the Governor General.
“No-one had ever heard of an MNZM being awarded for services to cheese!” laughs Dianne.
“But it was such a privilege to have my life’s work recognised. I was really chuffed.”
Despite being officially retired, Dianne’s love for children and cheese lives on.
“I enjoy helping organise wine and cheese nights at Parkside Village, and as a Board member I’m still heavily involved with the Anglican Trust for Women.
“It’s work that will always be very near and dear to my heart.”