Gone are the days of women being stuck at home slaving away in the kitchen. More than three decades ago, one woman sought to give mothers, daughters and wives a place to escape their daily life and socialise - the Cameo Club. Today in 2014, she is still doing just that. Reporter Ciara Pratt meets Margaret Sauvarin.
Marriage celebrant, funeral celebrant and Justice of the Peace Margaret Sauvarin could also be one of West Auckland's longest-serving club presidents.
The Hobsonville resident is marking her 36th year in the top seat of the Cameo Club.
She has been president since the club began in 1977 as a "time out place for women in an era when their place was in the kitchen".
"It's a night out for young mums, middle-aged women and older ladies to meet, have a drink and nice dinner and listen to a speaker," Mrs Sauvarin says.
Times have changed dramatically since the early days of the club, she says.
"Women are far more recognised than we used to be and are very respected today.
"Seeing women enjoy themselves is the most rewarding thing and some long-lasting, deep friendships have been made here.
"One thing I have noticed though is that women are a lot more casual today, they don't tend to get as dressed up."
The club has hosted numerous inspirational speakers over the years including Dame Thea Muldoon, former Auckland Mayor Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson, a female pilot and a transgender person.
"My rule is the speaker must not be talking about household chores," Mrs Sauvarin says. "We often have people from the community and charities telling us about their work.
"I do this because I like to be out there helping and I'd like to think I'm doing something for the community."
Her role as a registered celebrant has seen her officiate at nearly three generations of weddings, funerals and naming ceremonies among West Auckland families.
You have to like people and have a great family and support network behind you when it comes to leadership, she says.
"Every year I step down, I get re-elected.
"I couldn't do all of this without my husband's support.
"And without a good working committee we wouldn't be where we are today."
The Cameo Club meets on the last Tuesday of every month at The Brigham, Whenuapai, from 6.30pm till 9.10pm. Contact 416 6458 for more information.
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