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Mimie Wood

The Council meeting for the first time after a name change from the the New Zealand Institute to the Royal Society of New Zealand, 16 May 1930. Mimie Wood is fourth from left. Source: RSNZ archives

Administrator (1888-1979)

One president of the Royal Society Te Apārangi said that Mimie Wood – secretary – should more accurately be described as assistant president: “for without her advice and assistance I fear the affairs of the Institute would speedily be entangled.” Wood was hired as an assistant secretary in 1920, became general secretary in 1931, and altogether served the organisation for more than 40 years, carrying a huge administrative burden. She was known to collapse in her chair at meetings, exclaiming: “When I leave this job, you mark my words five people will replace me.” And in fact three years after her 1962 retirement the Society had not only a general secretary, but also an executive officer, office assistant, librarian and library assistant. Wood was awarded an MBE and the Royal Society recorded her “long and devoted service to science in New Zealand”.


John E. Martin, Illuminating Our World: 150 Years of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, 2017, p. 66.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.