Dorothy Matthews ONZM


Nelson City Councillor  1980 - 1986

I served two terms (1980-1986) on the Nelson City Council, preceded by my husband Bill serving as Councillor and Chairman of Parks and Reserves.  His enduring material achievements are scattered throughout the region, but my leanings were more towards finance and town planning.

Dorothy Matthews
Dorothy Matthews NCC 1980 - 86

With this interest it was a natural step for me to be elected as a United Council (Nelson and Tasman) member with the tourism portfolio. Along the way I was elected to the then Nelson Hospital Board, then Chair of the Nelson-Marlborough District Area Health Board, and finally to the position of Health Commissioner, dealing directly with Government regarding this region's burgeoning health needs.

Irresistibly I was drawn to and flowered in the forward-thinking unity and goodwill among committed councillors, board members, and focused council staff. Today we all see and savour the ongoing benefits of the Council then: Saxton Field, an outstanding regional sports facility, the Maitai Dam, the inner-city squares at Buxton and Montgomery, the Waahi Taakaro Park and its nine-hole golf course, and Branford Park in the Maitai Valley. All right on the door-step of this vibrant, buzzing, boutique city that is Nelson.

I enjoyed it all, especially the time as a United Councillor. The opportunity to don a regional hat and consider the whole province was a fast learning curve for me. To combine urban/rural transport, future growth patterns, the BIG Picture was an invaluable blueprint for the future.

This year, as New Zealand celebrates 125 years of world-leading Women's Suffrage we, in the Nelson Tasman local body electorates encourage interested women with a desire to materially contribute to their communities, to stand for election to local government in their regions.

To do so is both uniquely rewarding, and great fun.

This was published in: Women Decision-Makers Nelson and Tasman 1944 -2018, p.44. Compiled by Dr Shelley Richardson, Elaine Henry, Gail Collingwood, Hilary Mitchell.

 Suffrage 125 logo for prow

  • Betsy Walter/ Eyre
  • Sonja Davies
  • Elma Turner
  • Patricia Tindle
  • Helen Davies
  • Faith Price
  • Jocelyn Raine
  • Judy Greer
  • Hilary Mitchell
  • Tui France
  • Gail Collingwood
  • Nita Knight
  • Denise Henigan
  • Babbie Joyce
  • Jan Fryer
  • Alison Boswijk
  • Alison McAlpine
  • Rachel Reese
  • Ruth Copeland
  • Kate Fulton
  • Gaile Noonan

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Further sources - Dorothy Matthews ONZM


  • Richardson, S., Henry, E., Collingwood, G. Mitchell, H. (2018). Women decision-makers Nelson and Tasman 1944-2018. Nelson, New Zealand