Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind
5 November 2005
Wellingtonian recipient of 2005 Foundation of the Blind Chairman’s Award
“Jill Waugh is a tireless supporter for blind and vision-impaired people in the Wellington region”, says Don McKenzie,
Chairman of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).
“She has a reputation in her community for getting things done, and RNZFB members don’t hesitate to seek her advice and
help with problems – knowing that Jill will point them in the right direction.
“She is held held in extremely high regard and we salute her pluck and practical help at the grass roots level.”
Blind herself and a member of the RNZFB since 1982, Jill’s background is in nursing, training at Wellington Hospital and
then working from 1975 to 1993 at Maupuia Medical Hospital and Rest Home.
Despite vision loss, Jill was determined to continue working in hospital and care settings where ever she could in order
to keep doing what she was good at - caring for people.
In 1983, with worsening sight, Jill was sent to Australia to train as a Diversional Therapist. She returned to
demonstrate the therapy and give lectures to other private hospital staff in the Wellington region.
When her sight deteriorated even further, Jill took on the challenge of being the full time cook at the Maupuia
Hospital, organising supplies, menus and ensuring their compliance with the public health sector.
In 1995 Jill was elected on to the then RNZFB Wellington Advisory Committee. With the RNZFB’s changeover to Community
Committees in 2001, Jill took on the role of Wellington Chairperson which she retains to the present.
Jill’s drive and determination to ensure that members don’t miss out on any opportunities led her to develop several
Thanks to Jill, Wellington RNZFB members now have two book clubs, regular coffee mornings, “new member’s” afternoons,
Monday night Body Stretching classes and regular quiz evenings.
Fully aware of the sense of isolation that people can feel when they become blind, Jill also organised a team of
volunteers to visit RNZFB members in rest homes in Wellington. Feedback has been exceptionally positive.
Jill’s involvement in the blind community extends to being: a participating member of Retina New Zealand and Association
of Blind Citizens of New Zealand (she served on the Wellington Committee for a year); Coordinator of Wellington NZ VIEW
Inc (New Zealand Vision Impaired Empowering Women serving on their National Executive Committee); on the Wellington
Braille House Management Committee; and Trustee for the Henderson Trust.
NZ VIEW Inc nominators - Ina Smart and June Ombler – both believe Jill is a person who deserves this award.
“Jill puts in many, many hours lifting members’ morale, assisting with problems and generally making their lives more
comfortable”, says Ina Smart.
“Her organising ability is outstanding and she is a person who gives of herself without stinting. We would like to think
that her great leadership talents are appreciated, and this is a fitting way to recognise them!” says June Ombler.
Jill is married with four children and the proud grandmother of six grandchildren.
Each year the RNZFB's Chairman is faced with the challenging task of selecting one person who, through their
professional and/or community service, has made an outstanding contribution to the blind community.
The RNZFB is the primary service provider for approximately 11,500 blind, deafblind and vision-impaired members.