In 2015 the Winifred Knight Trust was transferred to Taranaki Foundation (then Te Karaka Foundation) becoming our first Named Fund. For 25 years, the Winifred Knight Trust has helped meet educational, community, cultural and recreational needs in Taranaki. Each year it awards the Ohangai School Centennial Teaching Scholarship to a Hāwera High School graduate in the first year of teacher training.
Winifred Knight was born in India in 1896 to Sergeant-Major James Frank Knight and Edith Rachel (Weeks). When her father retired from the British Army in 1902, Winifred’s family moved to New Zealand, living first in Maungaturoto (North Auckland) before settling in Eltham in 1911. Winifred went to Eltham District High School before enrolling at Victoria University College where she graduated with an MA degree, with first class honours in history. Her thesis was on the history of South Taranaki.
She trained as a teacher and completed her country service at Whenuakura, catching the train from Hāwera to Patea and walking the rest of the way. She taught at Iona Girls’ College in Havelock North before joining the teaching staff at Stratford Technical High School in 1922 and rising to the position of headmistress seven years later. She retired after twenty-five years at the school. Among her well-known pupils were artist, Mountford Toswill (Toss) Woollaston, Archbishop Brian Davis of Wellington and former Mayor of Stratford, Leo Carrington.
Throughout her life Winifred Knight supported a wide range of community organisations including Girl Guides, the Hāwera Women’s Club, the Hāwera Horticultural Society, amateur drama festivals, the WEA, the Red Cross plus many other business and professional women’s groups. She received a Queen’s Service Medal in 1979, and commented that she was “just one of many people interested in helping the community”. She died in 1991.