Rotary District 9980 Conference 2021

“The power of moments” is the catch cry and Green is the theme for our conference dinner

We are very proud of our line up already, with a couple of world class speakers still to be confirmed in the near future:

Kirsten Patterson LLB,CFHRINZ,MInstD, Chief Executive, Institute of Directors​

- Diversity, Global Women’s Champions for Change and WiSPA.

Kirsten Patterson (known as KP) is the Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors - the professional body representing over 9,000 directors committed to raising the standard of governance across New Zealand business and communities. She is a qualified lawyer and a Chartered Fellow of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand. She has extensive governance and leadership experience, and is actively involved in community initiatives. She Chairs the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust and is on the board of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation.


A strong advocate of diversity, KP was one of the founding members of Global Women’s ‘Champions for Change’, a group of senior executives and directors who commit to diversity in the workplace. She is also a founding member of WiSPA, an organisation promoting women in sport, and mentors a number of business leaders.


KP was a Rotary Twin Exchange student to Wagga Wagga, NSW in 1988 and credits that experience with much of her later success.

Group Captain Carol J Abraham MSS, BSc(Hons) awc, psc(j), RNZAF

Carol Abraham is the Chief Defence Strategy Management at Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force.  She has responsibility for functions ranging from strategic planning and portfolio governance, through compliance reporting, to future concepts and defence business excellence programs.


Carol grew up in Waimate, attending St Patricks primary and then Waimate High School. She then embarked on her first offshore adventure with a year as an AFS exchange student in Wisconsin, USA.  She joined the RNZAF as a university cadet while at Canterbury University, in 1989.  After graduating with a BSc(Hons) Carol trained as a tactical transport role Navigator and crewed Andover and Hercules aircraft. 


Carol has served on missions and exercises ranging from North America and SE Asia to Antarctica; as a UN Military Observer in the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (Syria, Israel, Lebanon); and as Detachment Commander for NZDF Air Transport operations in the Middle East.  She was also Commanding Officer Ground Training Wing from 2007-2009.  Various staff roles have included training management, organisational plans and strategy, and joint force operations tasking.

After studying at the USAF Air War College in 2015, Carol served in military diplomat roles, first as an Air Advisor and then on promotion to Defence Advisor, NZ Defence Staff – Canberra.  In 2018 she returned to lead Strategy Management in Air Staff and served as interim Deputy Chief of Air Force in 2019, in the rank of Air Commodore.  In June 2020 Group Captain Abraham was appointed to her current role as Chief Defence Strategy Management.  

Carol lives in Wellington where on a ‘can’t beat it’ clear day she enjoys bush, birds, and harbour views from Mt Kaukau. 

Carol will share reflections on the Power of Moments: Choices and Decisions.

Dame Therese Maria Walsh DNZM

Dame Therese Walsh is the Chairman of Air New Zealand Ltd.  She is also a director of ASB Bank Ltd, Contact Energy Ltd, and Antarctica New Zealand and Pro Chancellor of Victoria University.

Previously she was chair of TVNZ Ltd, a director of NZX Ltd, NZ Cricket and Save the Children NZ, and a trustee of Wellington Regional Stadium.

She was also the head of New Zealand for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and the CEO for Rugby New Zealand 2011 Limited, CFO at the New Zealand Rugby Union and part of the team that worked on the winning bid to host the RWC 2011. Prior to this she was an Auditor at KPMG.


Stephanie Woollard, Seven Women

Stephanie Woollard hails from Melbourne, Australia and graduated from the Uppsala Peace Center program in 2013.


In 2006, on a visit to Nepal when she was just 22 years old, she met up with seven disabled women making soaps and candles in a tin shed. Disturbed by the injustice and isolation these women were facing, she spent her last $200 of travel money to pay two trainers to help up-skill the women and sell their products abroad. Since then Stephanie has devoted the past decade to changing the lives of disabled and marginalized women in Nepal. The organization that she created has trained and employed over 1,000 disadvantaged women and has helped more than 5,000 women in remote villages offering shelter, medical assistance and education.


Stephanie has received numerous awards for her work as Founder and CEO of the Seven Women project (Seven Women Website) including one at the UN in October 2016 where she was one of eight business entrepreneurs selected from all over the world to receive the prestigious Rotary Responsible Business Award from RI President John Germ. The inaugural Rotary Responsible Business Awards recognised the commitment of the winning individuals (six) and organisations (two) to using their time, material resources and hands-on assistance to address social and economic challenges locally and internationally.


As well, she received the Moral Fairground’s National ‘Most Ethical Enterprise Award 2014’, was a nominee for Australian of the Year 2016, and was recognised with a La Trobe University Young Achiever Alumni of the Year Award in 2016.

Christine Hurley

- Rotary Give Every Child A Future - our international centenary project.

A Cantabrian by origin, Christine is a member of the Rotary Club of Wellington. She represents Wellington on the Australasian steering group of the centenary immunisation project Rotary Give Every Child a Future and chairs its NZ engagement and fundraising committee.

Christine has a background in public service policy and NGO management. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of Canterbury and a Graduate Diploma from Victoria University of Wellington. She has worked in development aid with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and strategic HR management with the State Services Commission. Later in her career, Christine joined the NGO sector, where among other roles she served as Chief Executive of Interpreting New Zealand which trains and employs new migrants and refugees for delivering professional interpreting services. 

Christine accompanied husband Nick on his postings as High Commissioner to Samoa, where she headed up the Samoa Cancer Society, and then to the Cook Islands and Tonga. During these postings, Christine served on the boards of the Rotary Clubs of Apia and Rarotonga.