Hayes, Helen Elizabeth Thompson (Mrs L.J. Williams)

New Zealand deaconess, born on the Isle of Man. She went to New Zealand in 1892, became the first President of the Young Women's Bible Class Union in Wellington and its first national President in 1906 (and again 1918-20). She trained as a nurse and was the first deaconess appointed to work with Maori at Okaiawa in South Taranaki. During 12 years in this appointment she trained younger Maori women for work among their own people and successfully advocated the compulsory registration of births, marriages and deaths among the Maori. During the influenza epidemic of 1918 she organized an emergency hospital at Hawera. The 1912 Conference confirmed her as a deaconess and she became known as Sister Nellie. Retiring shortly afterwards and marrying in 1921, she remained actively involved in Maori welfare in Hawera.

  • W.A. Chambers, Not Self - but Others; the Story of the New Zealand Methodist Deaconess Order (Auckland, 1987)

Entry written by: DJP
Category: Person
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