COUNTRY WOMEN'S INSTITUTE
In April, 1952, Mesdames Jean and Mabel Hutton organised a meeting in the Newstead Hall for the purpose of forming a Country Women's Institute.
The meeting was well supported and Waikato Federation of C.W.I. and National Headquarters were contacted. As a result the Newstead C.W.I. was formed.
Membership quickly increased to more than 50.
Members have won many trophies for drama, cooking, sewing and other competitions. The shield for the best C.W.I. court at the Waikato Winter Show has been won several times by Newstead.
Every year the C.W.I. held a Christmas tree party for the Newstead School and pre-school children of the district, supplying Santa Claus refreshments, etc., and entertainment for both children and adults. These evenings were a highlight of the year for many.
The C.W.I. missed the hall when it was demolished as it was their venue for monthly meetings and functions for 24 years. Meetings are now held at St France's Centre, Hillcrest, where interesting speakers, demonstrations and other activities are enjoyed.
The C.W.I. movement is the largest women's organisation in NZ and affiliated to Associated Women of the World. Four local members have served on the Waikato Federation and one, Jean Hutton, on National Executive and has been presented with a Gold Honours Badge, the highest honour of the C.W.I. movement. Several other members have received Good Service Badges.
A member attends the Annual Conference in Wellington as delegate.
Newstead C.W.I. recently celebrated its 38th birthday. Its membership still includes the following foundation members: Jean Hutton, Nesta Lye, Elsie Davison, Phyllis Osborne and Ivy Vaile.
Following the Second World War and the establishment of "rehab" farms there was an influx of new farmers into the district. A Federated Farmers organiser, in the course of signing up new members, suggested to Roger Blunt that they endeavour to form a local branch.
A meeting was held in the hall around 1947-48. Enough support was shown to establish the Newstead Branch. Alex Bankier was elected first chairman and Roger Blunt secretary. To foster support a ball was held - the first since the outbreak of war. It was a success and membership grew, peaking at about 40.
A Farm Labour Scheme was formed with about 30 members. A house was built and workers were employed over a period of 25 years.
Funds received from Davisions for work done by Federated Farmers members when a peat fire went through their Holland Road property were used to subsidise the local Sunday School, to send nominees to Outward Bound School and to form the local Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements. NZ Railways paid compensation to landowners whose farms had been damaged by the fire caused by a spark from a steam locomotive.
Apart from organising speakers for monthly meetings and other activities aimed at improving their farming ability, they assisted one another when required. They also organised dog trials and fishing trips during the winter.
The Branch was disbanded some years ago.
YOUNG FARMERS AND COUNTRY GIRLS CLUBS
At a meeting of Newstead Federated Farmers on 6th August, 1963, Mr T. C. Hickmott raised the question of organising a club within the district to cater for young men with farming interests. Mr R. Blunt stated that he and Mr C. H. Davison had done some preliminary work a few months previously and that there was a lot of interest expressed. After considerable discussion a sub-committee comprising Messrs, T. C. Hickmott, R. Blunt and C. H. Davison was formed to look into the matter.
Their preliminary enquiries had been so well received that a meeting was called at the end of August, and the Newstead Young Farmers Club was formed with a donation of £5 from the Federated Farmers and 33 members were enrolled. Elected to offict were Ian Singers, chairman; Phil Letford, secretary; John Davison, treasurer.
The club became very active in all the usual YFC activities, such as stock and pasture judging, debating, etc., with members involved in social activities such as the annual YFC raft race down the Waikato River.
In October 1963 a meeting was called at which 18 local girls attended and the Newstead Country Girls Club was formed. Colleen Otto was elected chairman, Sylvia Baker, secretary, Beverley Lye, treasurer.
The Newstead YFC was also involved in the inaugural I.A.E.A. exchange in 1969. Two members, John Davison and Kevin Singers travelled to Canada and the U.S.A for the Northern Hemisphere farming season.
The Newstead Y.F.C. and C.G.C. were the first in N.Z. to combine their activities to form the one unisex club, actually doing so before the N.Z. Federation's constitutions were altered.
Club membership declined in the early 1970's and in 1976 when the Newstead Hall was demolished, the club moved out to Eureka, becoming known as the Eureka-Newstead Y.F.C. Membership declined again in the late 1970's and the club finally went into recess in 1981.
SCOUTS AND GUIDES
Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Brownies were formed in the late 1950's. Funds were donated by Federated Farmers from money they received for work done during a peat fire on Davisons property.
After several successful years the Newstead Movement disbanded.
LIVESTOCK IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION
The largest landowner and commercial enterprise in the district is now the N.Z. Livestock Improvement Corporation, a subsidiary of the N.Z. Dairy Board.
The centre was established in 1952 on the farm they bought from Mrs Chamberlain. The property at one time was part of Mr and Mrs Thorpe's farm. They sold it to Franklins, retaining that part on the eastern side of the railway line, now also part of the centre.
The corporation has since purchased several other adjoining farms as they became available.
The artificial breeding centre is the largest in NZ, supplying semen both nationally and internationally. The Livestock Improvement Corp. computer centre is also located at the main complex.