New Year Honours

January 16, 2018 11:02 pm

Rural Women New Zealand congratulates of our members who have received remarkable recognition for their extensive and positive contributions to the rural sector and their communities.

RWNZ Board Chair Penny Mudford has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for her services to arbitration and the primary industries sector.

Early in her career, Ms Mudford was a dairy farmer and partner in DK and PJ Mudford Dairy Farming Partnership for 20 years, whilst being active on Boards such as the Rural Women’s Discussion Group, and Westpac Trust Kiwi Dairy Farmer of the Year. In 2000, she became Chief Executive of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand, a role she held for seven years. She has since gone into private practice as a dispute resolution practitioner specialised in the resolution of rural disputes, farming contracts, livestock agreements, and farm equity partnerships. After holding a variety of committee roles within the Manawatu/Rangitikei branch of Federated Farmers, she was elected provincial President in 1999. Penny is a member of the New Zealand Walking Access Commission and is Chair of the Racing Safety Development Industry Working Group.


Isobel Greenwood has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for community service. Isobel has supported the people of Tomarata and surrounding districts in a multitude of volunteer roles for the past 50 years.

Her extensive roles and support have included environmental initiatives such as working with the Tomarata Lake Restoration Committee, leading action to have the World War Two names added to the local war memorial, volunteering her time to restore and upgrade the local community hall. She was one of the founding committee members for the establishment of the local playgroup and chapter of the Brownies movement. She has contributed many years of fund raising for the local Plunket Society, has been a Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer, a committee member for the Tomarata Tennis Club and an active member of RWNZ for over 40 years. Being involved with the Tomarata Primary School, Isobel has held many roles there including inaugural librarian, teaching crafts to students, Calf Club Committee Member and returning officer for the first nine Board of Trustees election cycles.


Joan Howse has received the QSM for services to women and the community.

She was a conveyor of the National Standing Committee for Justice and Law Reform. She was a member of the Whangarei Health Camp Board from 1969 and served as Chairperson during this time. Joan was a long-serving Chairman for the Northland Homecare Scheme. As a member of ACWW, she attended the World Conference for many years, and in 1977 created a wall panel which was presented at the conference in Beijing. She has also held many positions with the Northland Justices of the Peace Association, including Treasurer, President and Patron, and has a compiled history of the Association from 1951 to 2000. Joan is also a member of the Women’s Fellowship of St John Church in Whangarei, a YMCA Board member, patron and Life Member. She received a New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medial in 1993.



Joy Cowley also known as (Mrs) Joy Coles, DCNZM, OBE, is a recent member of RWNZ and has been named as Member of the Order of New Zealand. She has been a successful, prolific writer of adult and children’s fiction books which have gained recognition both nationally and internationally.

Joy has supported children’s education through teaching early reading skills and helping those with reading difficulties, as well as writing over 1000 books to assist in teaching reading and other associated skills. She is a patron and former Trustee of the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust, which supports and promotes the development of children’s and young adults’ literature in New Zealand.

Her wide recognition includes numerous national and international literary awards, including the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in fiction in 2010, and the University of Alabama’s Maryann Manning Award for Outstanding Literacy Scholar in 2011. Since being appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005, she has continued to write for publication, the most recent book being ‘Helper and Helper’ in 2017. She is also the Honourary President of the New Zealand Society of Authors.

Joy was a former judge of the RWNZ Olive Burdekin Advance Writers Competition and a member of the Kenepuru branch. She was very generous to RWNZ and the community while living in the Marlborough Sounds.


Thelma Margaret Luxton Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for her services to the community and cricket. She is a member of the RWNZ Motunui branch.

Thelma has been a member of the Soroptimists International Waitara since 1984, contributing to membership development, as Treasurer, and as President for three separate terms. She held the title of Regional Programme Director and Archivist of Soroptimists International New Zealand Central, and held previous roles including President. She has been a Trustee of North Taranaki Healthcare Trust since 2005 and led fundraising of $1.5 million to establish and outfit a Health Centre, and supported the establishment of a range of health services at the Health Centre.

Thelma undertook research during her academic studies and wrote a publication for Rural Women New Zealand.

She has been involved with cricket in Waitara since the 1950s, having been scorer for Brixton and then Waitara Cricket Clubs from 1955 to 1991. Thelma has been the Secretary/Treasurer for Waitara Cricket Club and Manukorihi Sports Complex, and the official scorer for Taranaki Cricket Association since 1972. She holds title as Chairperson of Massey Trust since 1981, which supports Waitara High School with sports equipment and uniforms along with other school needs.

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