Speaker Date Topic
Gemma Ellis Mar 05, 2024
Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Experience at Queenstown Forum
Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) Experience at Queenstown Forum

Gemma currently works at the Southland District Council. Gemma’s leadership journey started in her home town of Cromwell with Girl Guiding and Brass Band groups before moving to Invercargill to study. After finding that there was no public group in Invercargill for youth to join, Gemma founded the Southern Adventurers' Guild, and discovered that there were many mental and social benefits for people in the community as a result. Gemma then helped to integrate a management structure that supported youth to build their own leadership and management skills. She has been chairman of the Guild for three years and also runs a Girl Guiding unit. In the future Gemma hopes to help the community further with other projects and to create better support systems for youth.



Barbara Walker Mar 19, 2024
Working with International Aid Agencies for 20 Years

Barb Walker was born in Riverton, with parents who were school teachers. She and her siblings lived in rural communities all over NZ, as their father was the headmaster of  a number of rural schools. Barb was called by God at the age of 12 to become a missionary nurse and midwife. After her training, Barb left New Zealand and  spent nearly 20 years working in Africa and Asia, in War Zones, famine camps , refugees camps,  rescuing boat people  from the South China Sea and in mission hospitals. A death threat while working in Mozambique, ended Barb overseas work and she was evacuated out of Mozambique and came back to New Zealand 1996. Barb then got involved in local health trusts, working as a manager in the Hokianga and Milton. In 2000 she was  awarded a Queen Service Order . Barb was  ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2004, in Dunedin, then managed a retirement village and then worked as the lead Hospital Chaplain at Hastings Hospital. In 2020 Barb published her book Purple Hands, which tells her story so far.  She retired in 2021 and called by God , she came home to Southland  to come a Volunteer  Rural Chaplain in Southland region.