The Society of Certificated Executive Secretaries NZ Incorporated was formed by Doreen Smart, who was at the time Head of Secretarial Studies at the Wellington Polytechnic in Wellington in 1972.  The Society was formally incorporated in November 1972 and the Wellington Group was also formed at that time.

The foundation members of this Society were secretaries who had successfully gained the Chamber of Commerce Award for secretaries, a number of tutors of secretarial studies and other secretaries keen to see the status of the secretarial profession improved.  In 1973 the Wellington Chamber of Commerce extended its award scheme to Auckland and the winner, Miss Lesley Kendall, was encouraged to form an Auckland Group. This group was formally established in 1974.  At the Annual General Meeting in 1976, Miss Lesley Kendall was elected President and members of the Executive Committee were elected from the Auckland Group.  The Registered Office of the Society moved to Auckland.

In June 1977 the Dunedin Group was formed. This was a significant milestone for the Society as it was now becoming recognised nationally. At an Extraordinary Meeting held in May 1982, it was decided to change the name of the Society to NZ Society of Executive Secretaries Inc with effect from 1 September 1982. At a reconvened Annual General Meeting held in Wellington on 24 July 2000, members of the NZ Society of Executive Secretaries Inc voted in favour of changing the name of its organisation to Association of Administrative Professionals NZ Incorporated (AAPNZ Inc), a change of name reflecting worldwide professional developments.

Doreen Smart – Founder and Inaugural National President (1972-1974)

An insight into our Association's founder, the late Doreen Smart, as shared by her daughter Janine Wilsher, and granddaughter Jane, at the AAPNZ Conference 2006 held in Palmerston North, July 2006.

"Doreen would not have been surprised at the size or effectiveness of the organisation today, but she would have been a little daunted at the way you work now.

In Mum's day everything was done manually; notes taken in shorthand, a gestetner and carbon copies on a typewriter, no computers, internet, scanners or even cellphones. How things have changed! Doreen knew the potential but she may not have recognised it now. I wonder how it will look in another 35 years.

“Doreen was an exceptional person. She had very wide and diverse interests in life. She related really well to people and if she believed in something 9 times out of 10 she made it happen. We were very 'active' in my childhood, from chanting 'ban the bomb' and waving placards in Government grounds to acting in Downstage plays and singing folk songs in shopping malls. Life was never dull. Mum studied subjects from Greek mythology (good fun for a kid!) to education to the Spanish guitar. When I was born Mum had her own 'Public Typing' business which she ran for some years, servicing Law and Accounting firms in Wellington. At some point she decided she needed to become a teacher so that she could have the school holidays with me. So of course, that's what she did!

Her first job was as a commercial teacher at Wellington Technical College where she went on to become the HOD. When Wellington Polytechnic was first mooted, Mum was asked to set up the Secretarial School which she developed into the largest school in the organisation. This is where she met and employed Valerie Jackson.  After many years at Polytechnic she joined the Education Department as a school inspector. It was from this position that she retired and moved to Otaki. We laughed a lot and talked even more. Doreen taught me by example how to strive to achieve things; how to believe in myself and have the confidence to 'have a go'. She taught me that I didn't have to 'stand in a queue' for anything - I could and should make my own queues in life. Doreen was kind and caring of others. She loved her family. We miss her a lot, but every day the way we live our lives, reflects the values Doreen taught us."

Janine and Jane were invited to make a presentation to Val Sturgess from Auckland who received an Honorary Life Membership of AAPNZ, the 4th in the history of the Association.

[This excerpt reproduced with permission from Janine Wilsher]


History of Groups  
Wellington 1972
Auckland 1974
Dunedin 1977
Hamilton 1983
Christchurch 1984
Manawatu 1989
Gisborne 1991 (in recess May 2013)
Nelson 1991
Tauranga 1995
Rotorua 1995
Wanganui 1996
Taranaki 2001 (in recess, May 2011)
Porirua City 2002 (in recess, April 2008)
Marlborough 2003
North Shore 2006 (amalgamated with Auckland, April 2011)