Doreen Smart

Founder, and Inaugural National President (1972-1974), first Life Member

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.  e 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 Polytech 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 everyday 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 document reproduced with permission from Janine Wilsher]


Valerie Jackson

FNZSES; AAPNZ Life Member; Cert. Facilitator ‘TetraMap’

Valerie Jackson is one of the founding members of the Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand Inc (AAPNZ) and is a Life Member.

She has established herself at the leading edge of executive assistant/administration team development by designing and facilitating a range of training programmes in the public and private sector.  Clients describe her facilitation as professional, challenging and highly participative. Seen regularly presenting and chairing at national and international conferences.  Known well for her coaching and mentoring services.

Valerie’s passion for the profession started with her administration/office management roles in Yorkshire.  With a love for travel she came to NZ for 2 years (it turned into 48!). Whilst working in office management she taught typewriting at evening classes and found her calling.  She trained as a commercial teacher – merging her two passions – administration and teaching.   Career milestones at Wellington Polytechnic from tutor to course supervisor, finally Head of Department.  This role created opportunities for involvement in administration national curriculum development and qualifications.  She was involved in  the major change from shorthand and typewriting certificates – to qualifications on the national framework. Influencing a changing image for this profession  is a deep interest she continues. Today’s business environment is an exciting sophisticated world – and the core heartbeat  is still the administration team.

AAPNZ (or NZSES originally) has been a part of Valerie’s life since 1972 when the Society was ‘born’ at Wellington Polytechnic and what a wonderful journey it continues to be.  After the first group opened in Wellington, Auckland followed next. Over the years she attended many new group inaugurations and follows group developments over the years, recently attending Nelson Group’s 20th Anniversary celebration.  She was on the National President’s committee to set up the first annual ‘Administrative Professional of the Year Award’ and was one of the judging team for the first 3 years.  She has facilitated workshops for many groups – sharing a lead role for an earlier nationalroadshow.  Valerie was on the first Wellington group committee, the first Education Sub-Committee and has attended innumerable AGM’s and Conferences. She continues to coach and support ‘behind the scenes’ whenever possible.

Unquestionably career highlights were facilitating at  three International Summits for Administrative Professionals - Wellington, July 2000, Queensland Australia 2006, and Auckland in 2011.  What a privilege to be part of our  exciting international journey.

“Stop thinking about retirement and Start Living”? She will continue to share knowledge and experience and have fun – until made to sit down and be quiet!


Marie Hucker

FNZSES, AAPNZ Life Member

Marie is a Foundation Member of AAPNZ, originally SCES, and attended the first Auckland Group Meeting in March 1974.  She became a Fellow of NZSES in May 1991 and was honoured to be made a Life Member in June 1997.  In August 2011 she was also privileged to be presented with her 35-year membership bar at a celebratory function organised by Auckland Group.

Since 1976 Marie has fulfilled a range of roles for the Association, including Auckland Group Secretary, Auckland Group President, NEC member and Group Co-ordinator, Hon Treasurer and National President, during which time she oversaw the planning, organisation and holding of The 1st New Zealand Secretaries Conference which was held in Christchurch in April 1989.  Fortunately her earlier attendance at The First Australian Secretaries Conference in Melbourne in 1983 and the contacts made proved to be of immense help.  The following year she was a member of the Alfred Marks Secretary of the Year Award Criteria and Selection Committee.  Later she was appointed the National President’s representative on The 2nd New Zealand Secretaries Conference Committee, which conference was held in Wellington in September 1991 and then became Conference Treasurer and Co-Convener of The 3rdNew Zealand Secretaries Conference held in Auckland in September 1994. 

Marie’s experience gained while working on committees with members from throughout New Zealand stood her in good stead when asked to take on the role of Co-Convener for the 8th International Office Professionals Summit which was held in Auckland in July 2011.  She was privileged to share this task with Val Sturgess, another Life Member.

While National President and for some time after, she also undertook various roles for Youth Skills New Zealand, including serving a term on its National Executive.  For this work she has received Gold and Platinum Awards for long service.

Since 2010 she has been a Director of AAPNZ Professional Development Limited and previously served a term as a Director and Company Secretary of NZSES Training Limited, the forerunner of AAPNZ PD Limited.

Before retiring from the paid workforce, Marie worked for over 45 years, initially as a shorthand typist in a government department, and then while in London where she first worked as a temp, gained experience in two legal offices, a career which she continued on her return to New Zealand.  Marie then worked for the one employer for over 37 years, mostly in a sole charge position as a personal assistant to a Queen’s Counsel.

Over the years she has attended numerous group meetings and AGM weekends and has made a number of treasured friendships with past and present members of the Association.  She still enjoys attending many of the Auckland Group Meetings and keeping abreast with current trends.

Eth Lloyd

M.Ed. Dip. Bus. Admin., AAPNZ (Life, Fellow, Cert.)

Eth became involved with AAPNZ in 1997 when she joined to attend the Christchurch International Conference. She was asked later that year along with Tricia Caughley, to be Co-Convener for the AAPNZ International Conference in 2000 a role they shared with Sandra Patton for the 4th International Secretarial Summit and the AAPNZ Wellington Group for the AAPNZ AGM.

Eth took roles at AAPNZ Group level as Education Officer, Minute Taker, Vice-President and Co-Group President. In mid-2000 she became the Minute Taker for the National Executive Committee and in 2001 took on the role of Central Regional Leader. She became National President of AAPNZ from 2002 to 2004 and was the champion of AAPNZ’s Certification process. One ofEth’s great pleasures was the launching of Certification in 2004 by the Hon Harry Duynhoven M.P. for New Plymouth, at the AGM/Conference held there and seeing the first three AAPNZ Members being awarded and presented with their Certification.

Since 2004 Eth has been a Director of AAPNZ Professional Development Ltd holding the positions of Chairman and Director during this time.  She has over 30 years administrative experience in a wide variety of industry sectors both in New Zealand and overseas where she has worked for senior management in various roles.

Eth holds a Masters in Education where her research topic was “Administrative professionals in New Zealand; their professional development opportunities and career pathways”. This is perhaps the first academic research into this sector of the workforce in New Zealand. She has recently completed a research project funded by Ako Aotearoa withVivienne Kermode, a senior tutor from Waiariki Institute of Technology and a member of the AAPNZ Rotorua Group. They were looking at ways of filling knowledge gaps for administrative professionals wishing to complete a L5Diploma in Business Administration while in the workforce.

Eth also holds a National Diploma of Business Administration (Level 5) which she gained through workplace assessment. She became an Associate of AAPNZ in 2003, gained Certification in 2006, and received her Fellow in 2008.  Eth has attended all International Summits since 2000 including the United Kingdom, Australia, and Trinidad & Tobago. At the Gala Dinner of the recent 8th International Office Professionals Summit in Auckland, which was combined with the AAPNZ AGM in 2011, she was honoured to be presented with her AAPNZ Life membership.


Val Sturgess

FNZSES AAPNZ Life

Since April 2009, Val was the AAPNZ National Finance and Membership Officer. Val held this position until her untimely death in August 2013 after 25 years with AAPNZ.

Val joined the then NZ Society of Executive Secretaries Inc (NZSES - now known as AAPNZ) in Dunedin in 1985. She attained the NZSES Fellow professional designation in 1996 and was conferred with Life membership on 1 July 2006 at the AAPNZ Gala Dinner in Palmerston North. 

Val was involved in setting the criteria for the original Fellow and Associate designations and has recently been involved in the criteria review. She has been a member of five groups – Dunedin, Hamilton, New Plymouth (now Taranaki), Wanganui and Palmerston North (now Manawatu), and is a past president of both Dunedin and New Plymouth groups. Now a member of Auckland Group, Val has been involved on both this and Counties Manukau Group Management Committees. She has organised three of the Auckland region’s Administrative Professional Day Breakfasts.

At national level, Val was National Executive Committee (NEC) Honorary Secretary from 1991 to 1993, Group Representative on NEC, holding the education portfolio, from 1989 to 1991 and represented the Society on the NZQA National Advisory Committee for Business Studies from 1988 to 1993; it was here that the pathway for a system of accreditation for administrative professionals was first established.

Val started her working life at a public accounting and sharebroking firm in Hawera where her role included completing financial accounts on an old Remington bookkeeping machine, sharebroking clerical work and shorthand/typing. By the time she left to marry, Val was supervising six staff.

Husband Gary, currently Hospice South Auckland Chief Executive, and Val have lived in many parts of New Zealand. Val has had a wide variety of jobs both in the private and public sector. These have included shipping manager/executive secretary at the now defunct Wilson Neill Exports (Dunedin), office manager/liaison officer for the NZ Commercial Travellers and Sales Representatives Union (Christchurch), PA/office administrator for two grain companies (Te Awamutu), sole committee secretary at the Taranaki Regional Council (Stratford) for eight years and while living in Waipukurau, committee secretary at the Hastings District Council.

Nine years ago Val and Gary moved to Auckland, purchasing Quay Personnel where Val has managed a team of up to eight recruitment consultants and opened two franchise offices. Unfortunately the recession hit the recruitment industry from mid 2008 with resulting downsizing and closure of the Newmarket office. Val now manages this business from the home office. She has also been secretary of the Auckland Down Syndrome Association for the past eight years – a voluntary role and association through having a grand-daughter with Down syndrome. 

Family is very important to Val - four daughters, who live in Christchurch, Palmerston North, Stratford and London, five grandchildren aged from 23 years to 13 years old, and a great grandson of 19 months with a little sister due at the end of September. She has two sisters and her 86 year old mother still lives in the family home in New Plymouth.

Val applied for this recent role with AAPNZ as it gave her an opportunity to learn new skills and oversee the financial and membership details of the organisation which she is passionate about. She has always seen the organisation as the professional body for administrative professionals and has been keen to see it promoted widely within the community and as providing many benefits to admin professionals who may work alone in offices throughout New Zealand. She has been keen for administrative professionals who are in the main women, to acquire formal qualifications and recognition for their important role in the business sector.