Mavora passed away on June 17, and the Chamber owes her a debt of gratitude for the groundbreaking work she led as Chief Executive after taking over from May Woodcock in 1993. Her appointment alongside the election of Gail Jones as first woman President of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce in 1992, and the earlier election of Margaret Evans who reigned as Mayor from 1989 to 1998, heralded the arrival of women as business leaders in the Waikato.
They certainly shook up the place with initiatives that have stood the test of time. With ex-President Don Lindale they created the Waikato Business Awards. Not daunted by a lack of funds, Mavora and Gail approached the bank for a sponsorship of the then huge amount of $20,000, and got it. Mavora led the creation of the first Waikato Business Awards which were held in the Hamilton Operatic Theatre, and it is still a spectacular event today.
Gail Jones & Mavora Hamilton
Balloons over Waikato was another of those that she championed and saw it grow to become the iconic event we currently enjoy.
One of her passions was the promotion of closer ties between the University, the Polytechnic and the Waikato business community. Working with then Dean of the Waikato Management School Professor Pratt, Mavora sought to match graduates with jobs in the region. Many of today’s business leaders had their first real jobs as a consequence of the programmes she organised.
Working alongside Mayor Margaret Evans, Mavora promoted the Waikato and Hamilton vociferously. From Sister Cities initiatives for Hamilton to chairing the early forms of Economic Development Agencies for the city, you usually found Mavora’s energy and direction behind attracting business and prosperity to the Waikato.
Innovative, energetic and very persuasive, Mavora Hamilton left an indelible mark on the city and her region.
The Waikato Chamber owes a debt to her and her unique foresight to create events and entities that not only stand the test of time but have contributed greatly to the prosperity of our region.