Bernice Shackleton, Q.S.M.; Waimate Advertiser; 25/8/1984; WA439


Bernice Shackleton, Q.S.M.

About this object

Bernice Schackleton at the launch of her book, 'The Fifth Schedule' about the history of the Waimate Hospital from 1874 to 1975.

Bernice was born in Waimate in 1901. She attended Canterbury University and was one of the first women to gain a Diploma in Journalism. Her first job was as a reporter for the Christchurch Star. Later she became assistant to the editor. At the time, this was the highest position a woman had reached on a major New Zealand daily paper. Bernice became a freelance parliamentary reporter in 1936, and reported on parliament from the segregated public gallery.
She returned to Waimate in 1939 to care for her elderly parents, and during World War II she was secretary of the Waimate Women’s War Service Auxiliary, the Lady Galway Guild and the local commander of the Women’s Transport Corps. During the war labour shortages threatened the loss of a substantial part of Waimate’s pea crop. Bernice was instrumental in establishing a camp of huts at Victoria Park. Using that as a base, girls and women from Christchurch Women’s Land Army came to Waimate in relays and picked peas. During this time 30 growers supplied Christchurch and Dunedin markets three days a week.
After the war she became interested in international aid and began to work for the non-profit organisation CORSO (Council of Organisations for Relief Service Overseas). Bernice was also a founding member of the Waimate Rewi Alley Aid Committee, which was formed to fundraise and provide support for Alley’s work in China.
In 1965 Bernice was elected onto the South Canterbury Hospital Board.
In the 1986 New Years Honours, she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for Public Services. Bernice died in Waimate on 3 December 1998.

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How to cite this page: WA439, URL:, updated 6 November, 2016]

Place Made



Waimate Advertiser

Maker Role


Date Made


Subject and Association Keywords

Rewi Alley

Subject and Association Keywords

Bernice Shackleton

Subject and Association Keywords



Waimate Advertiser

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