Jude, future-proofing the WI

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Jude Vaughan, of Staveley, has been elected New Zealand Federation of Women's Institutes national president.

Jude Vaughan is looking forward to helping shape the future of the New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI).

It might mean change and restructure, but “it’s an exciting prospect” and she wants to be part of its progression.

“The WI has always been an important part of my life.

“My grandmother and aunts were engaged WI members and my mother is still an active member in Brockenhurst (England),” she said.

“I have that passion in my veins.”

That passion has earned her a seat at the head of the table of the New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes.

She was voted in as national president earlier this month at the federation’s annual general meeting in Wellington.

It is a two year term.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

“It’s a privilege and I’m so honoured.”

Jude Vaughan is a member of the Lowcliffe WI and still an associate member of the Hampshire Federation WIs in England.

Jude, who lives on a lifestyle block at Staveley, along the Foothills of Mid Canterbury, is married to Mutley. They have three adult children also in New Zealand; two in Mid Canterbury and one in Wellington.

The English-born couple emigrated to New Zealand in 2009, and haven’t looked back.

Jude had visited New Zealand during an OE and many years later it still appealed.

They followed a work opportunity; Mutley, now retired, was a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) mechanic and secured a job with Smallbones, in Ashburton.

Living in the rural Staveley community Jude joined the WI to meet people and connect with like-minded women.

She is a member of Lowcliffe WI and still an associate member of the Hampshire Federation of WIs in England. Overall she has been a WI member since 1984.

She said WI members were a force to be reckoned with and having excited, loyal and dedicated members was key for the future of the national body.

“We are a valuable resource throughout the country,” she said, with many works going unrecognised.

She wanted members to enjoy being a member again, and to help more women in the organisation “realise their potential through education and shared information, to become knowledgeable about important issues that affect women today, not just here in New Zealand but worldwide.”

The WI has a 100 year history globally and Jude said sharing knowledge learned with other women through co-operation, friendship and fellowship would see it survive another century.

There are still six WIs in the Mid Canterbury Federation.

Jude has just finished serving four years on the national executive committee where she was vice-president and membership sub committee leader.

She said as part of the focus on the future the national executive were seeking members’ ideas nationwide to help with the re-development and longevity of the federation.