A POWERFUL WAY TO HONOUR CAROLINE
Nikau Foundation, March 2023
Guest editorial written by Nikau Foundation
On an overcast morning in November 2017, over 400 people gathered outside the Paekākāriki Memorial Hall adorned with numbered race bibs, ready to embark on the inaugural Caroline Boyd Memorial Walk/Run.
They were fellow members of Ngaio School's Parent Teachers Association, who had worked alongside Caroline to fundraise in the early 2000s, colleagues from Minitatanga mō ngā Wāhine the Ministry of Women's policy team, fellow change-makers from the McGuiness Institute where Caroline volunteered, and neighbours, family and friends; all gathered to remember a friend described as 'warm like a blanket wrapped around your shoulders’.
Such an impressive turnout was testament to the indelible mark Caroline had left on those around her, says Caroline's daughter, Becky.
Mum made everyone feel valued. She was a great listener and always, always had time for people." She also had a knack for bringing people together, says Caroline's husband Tony, "The enthusiasm she had was infectious.
Tragically, Caroline had died eight months earlier, when a speeding car lost control and swerved on to the footpath where she was on a run and only 5 mins from home. Running and keeping active was a lifelong passion of hers and she had previously completed Marathons in Auckland and London and was an enthusiastic member of the Wellington Harriers. Hosting a community walk in her memory was the perfect way to honour her passion for keeping active.
A change-maker for women
Throughout her career, Caroline was a strong advocate for women, influencing policy in equal pay and maternity leave, and promoting development in the workforce. "She was a doer," says Becky, "Mum was always unafraid to ask tough questions and challenge the status quo.”
She also believed in the power of encouragement for youth, playing an active part in her children's education and mentoring many of her juniors at work. She had a huge impact on Becky personally.
I have always felt like I could do anything because of her and that there were no boundaries," she explains, "Mum gave me a huge sense of 'I can."
Carrying on Caroline's work
After Caroline died, her family were looking for a powerful way to honour her memory. "We wanted to continue the impact that Mum would have made if her life hadn't been cut short," says Becky. They also wanted to bring people together, and harness people's generosity, to make a real difference in the lives of individuals, like Caroline had, says Tony.
The Caroline Boyd Memorial Fund was established with Nikau Foundation in 2017 with the goal of supporting the advancement of youth, women's and pressing community issues. "Our vision for the Fund is to support people to become self-sufficient, to gain direction and confidence, and to develop the mindset they need to reach their potential.
Over the last few years, the fund has given out grants to Paekākāriki School to support mentoring programmes and Women of Worth; an organisation supporting women to feel confident and armed with the tools to succeed in their personal and professional lives.
In 2022, the Caroline Boyd Memorial Walk/Run ran for its sixth year. Although the race bibs are a thing of the past, the spirit of the event has remained strong. "It's an opportunity to bring people together to do something Caroline would have loved," says Tony.
Each year, the race collects an entrance fee, with all proceeds going to the Caroline Boyd Memorial Fund. To date, over $70,000 has been raised; an impressive total, which will continue to give back to women and our communities, forever.
If you’d like to contribute to The Caroline Boyd Memorial Fund, you can donate here.