On Friday 14 September 2016 OWLS hosted a special Gala evening to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of OWLS at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. The Judiciary, Queens Counsel, Life Members, past and present members, the Law Faculty, and the local profession all attended in large numbers (133 in total), much to our delight, to help OWLS celebrate in style.
At the start of the evening, guests were welcomed with canapés and a Jazz Band, which was followed by a delicious meal and dessert bar provided by BB Catering. Master of ceremonies Anita Chan QC helped the evening run smoothly, and guests were treated to extremely impressive speeches from Sally McMillan, and the Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright. Sally shared some of the history of OWLS and played excerpts from the oral histories of Life Members Marion Thomson and Margaret MacKay, which was particularly special. She also wove Ethel Benjamin’s journey into a rather inspiring fairy-tale. Dame Silvia gave an engaging speech about her experiences as Governor-General and the various hats she wore in that role! It turns out she should be a stand up comedian!
Our Convenor, Kim Jarvis, presented owl brooches to three Life Members, the Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright, Judge Annis Somerville, and Judge Rosemary Riddell, after it had been discovered that the tradition of giving such brooches to life members did not begin until after their appointments, thus they had previously missed out!
The formalities of the evening were concluded by cutting a stunning cake in the shape of a law report, which was made by the Slice of Heaven Cake Company and a series of formal photos by photographer Jemma Wells, including members of the first OWLS committee, past convenors, and all past and present OWLS members. Once the formalities had concluded, guests danced the night away to live music from The Plus Ones. The Gala was certainly a night to remember and was enjoyed by all in attendance. We look forward to doing it all again in another 10 years! A big thank you to the extremely hard-working Gala Sub-Committee for pulling it all together in such style!! All photos by our photographer Jemma Wells. Check out more of her work at <http://www.jemmawells.com/>.
On Monday 26 September 2016 an OWLS panel consisting of Anita Chan QC, Professor Nicola Peart, Rachel Brooking, Stephanie Pettigrew, Kim Jarvis, and Ruth Ballantyne spoke to 50 enthusiastic female law students for the Society of Otago University Law Students’ (SOULS) Wellness Week. The panel spoke about their experiences as female lawyers and academics and discussed things they wish they had known before they started out. This event also doubled as an OWLETS forum, with many in attendance, and other students joining up subsequently. Thank you to Julia Tillett (the SOULS Welfare Representative) for organising this event and to Russell McVeagh for providing the afternoon tea. We hope to have more events like this one in the future as part of the OWLETS programme.
On Thursday 25 August 2016, the OWLS Committee hosted an event at Ombrellos with female law students from the University of Otago Faculty of Law who are interested in being involved in a new student branch of OWLS to be called the OWLETS (the name for a young OWL). One of the Committee’s goals this year was to build a closer relationship with our law students and to encourage more of them to become OWLS members. We intend to run the OWLETS group a bit like the Wise OWLS programme with a few social events alongside several lunchtime forums each year. Interested students will also be able to join OWLS if they wish and attend regular OWLS events. An OWLETS sub-committee has been established made up of six passionate female law students and they will be responsible for liaising with OWLS and administrating a separate OWLETS Facebook page under the guidance of Deputy Convenor Ruth Ballantyne. Based on the impressive number of students in attendance (approximately 35) and their wonderful enthusiasm this initiative has got off to a great start.
On Thursday 18 August 2016, OWLS hosted Wise OWLS Birthday Drinks at Ombrellos to celebrate the Wise OWLS programme being up and running for two years. There were 20 OWLS and Wise OWLS present and everyone enjoyed the tasty drinks and nibbles in a nice relaxed atmosphere. We have also increased our number of Wise OWLS with Debbie Ericsson joining the ranks. Thank you to everyone who made the evening such a success and to our Wise OWLS for sharing their wisdom with us all. We look forward to some more Wise OWLS lunchtime forums next year.
On Tuesday 12 April OWLS held an extremely fun and successful quiz at the Kensington Tavern to raise money to fund the history project undertaken to mark the 30th Anniversary of OWLS. We were delighted to raise nearly $2,000 for this project. We are extremely grateful for our wonderful sponsors who donated rather impressive raffle prizes and to everyone who attended.