Former councillor and library supporter, Ruth Gotlieb, has died

Ruth Gotlieb (centre) with Jane Hill (Manager, Community Networks) and John Stears (Libraries and Community Spaces Manager)
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has paid tribute to Ruth Gotlieb’s stellar career of community service.
Mrs Gotlieb, who was in her 90s, died today. She had a long and successful career serving the people of
Wellington. From 1983-2001 she was an Eastern ward city councillor. She also served on the Greater Wellington Regional Council , the Wellington Harbour Board, and the Capital & Coast District Health Board.

Among the achievements Mrs Gotlieb was most proud of were her role in establishing the Wellington Youth Council, driving the installation of a third cancer-fighting linear accelerator and hydrotherapy pool at Kilbirnie Aquatic Centre, and sitting on the board that oversaw the upgrade of Wellington Hospital.

“Ruth was a tremendous worker for Wellington,” the Mayor says. “She was on council well before my time, but her reputation survived her years after she left. In recent years I ran into her frequently while she continued to serve her city, and she always exuded great energy and vitality and a love for her city.”

He says it was entirely appropriate that Wellington City Council named its new library at Kilbirnie the Ruth Gotlieb Library in 2000. “Ruth was like a force of nature, and with her strong personality and drive she was a very effective councillor. Last November, when the council hosted a function for all its female councillors over the years, Ruth came along and spoke with wit and energy. She really was one of a kind.”

Mrs Gotlieb was named Wellingtonian of the Year in 2010 and well into her retirement continued to use her free time to help the community. She did volunteer work for Trade Aid, the Cancer Society, Newtown Community Centre, and Ronald McDonald House, among other organisations.

Wellington City Libraries gratefully acknowledges the kindness and support that Mrs Gotlieb showed for our library staff and services over the years.

We treasure this recording “High Tea With Ruth Gotlieb” on our YouTube channel:

To learn more about her life, listen to the oral histories we recorded in 2015 with her, available on our Heritage pages.

Listen to the Ruth Gotlieb oral history

Ruth Gotlieb with Jane Hill and John Stears You can now listen to interviews with Ruth Gotlieb on our website, detailing her fascinating life; growing up in Ireland and emigrating to Australia then New Zealand. The oral histories include an in-depth discussion of her 27 year career serving as a councillor and board member, with the Wellington City Council, the Wellington Regional Council, the Wellington Harbour Board and the Capital & Coast District Health Board.

Ruth Gotlieb’s honours include having the library in Kilbirnie renamed Ruth Gotlieb Library, being awarded a Queen’s Service Order in 1995, and named Wellingtonian of the year in 2010. Ruth has contributed many hours volunteering with numerous organisations and as Justice of the Peace, and continues to do so to this day.

Check out the oral histories here – Ruth Gotlieb oral history page.

(Pictured: Ruth Gotlieb with Jane Hill (Manager, Community Networks) and John Stears (Libraries & Community Spaces Manager) at the page launch)

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New Ohariu Valley Oral History: Seton Nossiter

Stretching for 15 kilometres from Makara in the south to Tawa in the north, Ohariu Valley is a rural district on Wellington’s urban doorstep. Feeling that the social history of the area deserved to be more widely known, Wellington City Libraries have captured some of the memories of current and former valley dwellers as part of the Ohariu Valley Oral History Project.

The most recent addition to this heritage project is a vintage analogue recording of Seton Nossiter being interviewed by Vivian Harris. Wellington City Libraries wish to thank and acknowledge Vivian Harris and Gill Pratley (the daughter of Seton Nossiter) for allowing us to digitise the recording and to make it available via this collection. Vivian and Gill have also contributed their own stories to our archive and these can be listened to by clicking the named links on the main page of the Ohariu Valley Oral History Project.

Who was Seton Nossiter?

Seton Nossiter was one of Ohariu Valley’s most notable personalities of the 20th Century. He came to live in the valley aged five in 1914 when his parents purchased what was to become one of the first dairy farms in the area. He began farming as soon as he left school and later inherited the family farm but became best known by the wider community for his involvement in local body politics. He won a seat on the Hutt County Council representing the Makara “Riding”, then became a City Councillor when Makara and Ohariu Valley were absorbed into Wellington City. He served in this role for many years under the mayoralties of Sir Francis Kitts, Sir Michael Fowler and Ian Lawrence. He also sat on the Wellington and the Hutt Valley Milk Boards and was elected to the Johnsonville Liquor Licensing Trust where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Burma Lodge and the Broderick Inn. Shortly after his death in 1989, Seton Nossiter Park in Paparangi was named in his honour.

You can listen to the recordings over on the project page for Seton Nossiter.

Ohariu Valley Oral History Project now available

Stretching for 15 kilometres from Makara in the south to Tawa in the north, Ohariu Valley is a rural district on Wellington’s urban doorstep. Feeling that the social history of the area deserved to be more widely known, Wellington City Libraries have captured some of the memories of current and former valley dwellers in this oral history project.

The community and the library present these pages to you. Have a look, and a listen.

Ohariu Valley