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.