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PCANZ Deaconess Collection


The Presbyterian Church Deaconess Collection shines a light on a group of New Zealand women, who served many of New Zealand’s vulnerable churches and communities through most of the 20th century, yet to this day receive very limited lasting recognition.

The collection documents the life and work of 175 New Zealand women from 1901-1975 who served many of New Zealand’s poor, vulnerable, churches of communities of all ages. Deaconesses were an order for women in the Presbyterian Church and although their training was almost identical to Ministry training, they were not ordained. Their service was to the Presbyterian church and to the wider community.

Archive Location

Presbyterian Research Centre, Dunedin

Deaconess Poster c1958

Studio Portrait of Deaconess College Students & Principal – c1904

Unknown deaconess talking to a group of children c1955

Sr.Shirley G.Reid, talking to an unknown woman at her front door, during Home Visiting in a new housing area at Mairehau, Christchurch, c1958.

Sr Christabel Waddell (nee Duncan), 1st NZ deaconess


Collection Information

See page 7 “Award for Deaconess Collection”


Rachel Hurd and Jane Thomsen from the Presbyterian Research Centre talk about the Collection