See below the paragraph on each of the women.
Kate Edger (1857-1935)
There was no girls’ high school in Auckland when Kate, schooled by her father, a Baptist minister, wanted to continue her education. She gained permission to attend a boys’ school, Auckland Grammar, as it became known, as the only girl in the school. She passed exams easily and applied to university, saying in her application only that she had passed the required exams, not that she was a girl. She was accepted and studied Latin and Maths, graduating in 1876 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) She was the first woman in New Zealand to graduate from University, and the first in the British Commonwealth to gain a B.A. She took a job in the new Christchurch Girls school and later became the founding Principal of Nelson Girls, doing much to promote the education of girls in New Zealand.
Rosalie Macgeorge (1851-1891)
Sent out from the freshly created Baptist Missionary Society of New Zealand, Rosalie Macgeorge, a teacher aged 26, left NZ to go to Bengal, East of Calcutta, as the first NZ Baptist missionary. The goal was to reach women in the closed off ‘zenanas’, which were quarters in private homes where women lived in seclusion. From 1886 Rosalie spent two years learning Bengali, and then she began ministry with a young men’s Bible class and teaching English. This opened doors for her to visit the women she had initially been called to serve, and she experienced a lively and fruitful ministry, building up many relationships and sharing knowledge of God and the Bible. She served near present-day Dhaka and then under missionary society guidance later moved to Comilla and then Barisal. Rosalie often worked hard, without a team, in primitive conditions, so became exhausted and lost health. A doctor ordered her to return to NZ for health, but on the way, in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) she died with a fever, aged 31.
Rev. Pat Preest (1928-2014)
A trained nurse, in 1956 Pat undertook training in the brand-new deaconess programme at the Baptist College. She saw the need for workers in Baptist churches, and heard Jesus calling her into the work. She worked as a deaconess for sixteen years, during which time she also undertook clinical pastoral training. In late 1971 the college agreed to her formally training as a pastor and she graduated alongside her male classmates. It was a big deal for Baptists when in 1973 she became the first woman ordained as a Baptist minister. Initially she hoped to be appointed as a pastor, but when no call came from a church, she became a hospital chaplain, a ministry that Baptists at the time were still uncomfortable about women doing. She later had roles as assistant pastor and interim pastor, along with other chaplaincy roles.
Dame Vivienne Boyd (1926-2011)
After graduating with a Master of Science from Victoria University in Wellington, getting married, and starting a family, Vivienne began to do a great deal of voluntary work in the Baptist churches of Dunedin and later Epuni, Petone. Vivienne then became national President of the Baptist Women’s League. This gave her a place on the National Council of Women where later she became the New Zealand President. Following this, Vivienne was invited on many local and national committees for a variety of community work, including advising the government on the use of nuclear power and on the Abortion Supervisory Committee (set up to monitor practice when abortion became somewhat allowable by law). She became the first woman to serve on the board of the NZ Baptist Union and became its first woman President in 1984-85. In 1986 Vivienne was knighted Dame Vivienne Boyd for her huge commitment to community work.