Three Whanganui women who risked their lives to help save others 100 years ago are celebrated in a touring exhibition coming to WHMilbank Gallery.
Mina and Betty Macdonald, with their friend Mysie McDonnell, cared for wounded men at Aotea, a convalescent home in Egypt during and after World War I and Wellington artist Rebecca Holden pays tribute to them with her A Home Away From Home exhibition.
The exhibition includes portraits of the three Whanganui women as well as the other volunteers who worked at Aotea.
“The Milbank Gallery is the perfect venue for the exhibition,” says the artist. “The Milbank Gallery is the perfect venue for the exhibition,” says the artist.
The Wanganui Chronicle of October 30, 1918, reported that the Aotea Maori Committee and the local Aotea Committee had joined forces to promote a “patriotic concert and dance” in the hall.
As 2018 is the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage as well as the armistice centenary, Holden wanted to acknowledge the “remarkable group of women” who volunteered to serve at Aotea.
“At a time when the narrative about the First World War has been mainly on the soldiers, I wanted to pay tribute to those from Whanganui and others from Wairarapa and Wellington.
“Mina was instrumental in campaigning the Government for the establishment of the home,” says Holden.
“Although the Government backed the setting up of the home, it was almost entirely funded by the goodwill of the people of the Whanganui, Wairarapa and Rangitikei regions.”