Shirley Nalder



Golden Bay County Councillor


Shirley Nalder

Shirley Nalder. Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson Mail Collection: 3363A.

Dairy farmer Shirley Nalder (nee James) served one term as the Collingwood riding representative on the last Golden Bay County Council, before local government reforms came into effect. Shirley first visited the area in the early 1960s as a young herd tester and subsequently married into a local pioneering farming family. She farmed approximately 200 dairy cows alongside her husband, David Nalder, at Wigzell Road, Rockville, while raising two sons. Her main farming interest was her small herd of stud Herefords. At the time of her election in 1986, the community- spirited 46 year old was actively involved in her local community, mainly in farming-related activities. She was the junior vice-president of the Golden Bay A & P Society and a keen supporter of the Collingwood Boys and Girls Calf Club. Formerly secretary of the Golden Bay Holstein Friesian Club, she was also an active member of the local branch of Federated Farmers. Shirley had narrowly missed selection in a by-election in 1984. In 1986 her election campaign revolved around works, roading and a more general desire to help make Golden Bay an attractive place to live.

Shirley found herself on a council made up of men and women in equal ratio, with a female chair, a rather unique situation at the time. The following year, she caused a stir during a council discussion about remuneration, by suggesting that her male colleagues made more of a financial sacrifice as councillors than the women. In typical kiwi fashion the heated conversation was smoothed over when the meeting broke for a cup of tea. As a councillor Shirley developed a reputation for her pragmatic, forthright style. She was not above transporting visiting British Council CEOs around her farm on the back of a farm trailer, perched on hay bales, rather than in the best council-owned vehicle, as was usual council practice for official guests.

Shirley kept herself well-informed on local issues and was regarded as a good advocate for Collingwood. She was a member of the local Community Organisations Grants Scheme Committee, a service which supported voluntary and not-for-profit organisations working in local communities. Between 1986 and 2010 she served as president of the Collingwood Memorial Hall Committee, which managed the multi-purpose recreational venue, alongside her husband who was for a time secretary. Shirley remained actively involved in her community after her council tenure came to an end. In 1992 she became the first chairperson of the Joan Whiting Rest Home Trust, established to prevent the possible closure of the community-owned facility in Collingwood. A new four-roomed wing was added in 2004 and named in her honour but the rest home was later to close permanently. Shirley died in February 2013, aged 72.


This was published in: Women Decision-Makers Nelson and Tasman 1944 -2018, p. 26. Compiled by Dr Shelley Richardson, Elaine Henry, Gail Collingwood, Hilary Mitchell. 2018

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Sources used in this story

  1. Image: Shirley Nalder. Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson Mail Collection: 3363A.

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