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Dame Bronwen Holdsworth DNZM (nee Pearson)


Inducted 2007

Bronwen Holdsworth is an entrepreneurial businesswoman who is known for her generosity to the community in her home town of Gisborne.  She and her inventor engineer husband, Peter, left farming in 1983 to set up Pultron Composites Ltd, to become the biggest composite materials and technology pultrusion company in Australasia.  The family business, still based in Gisborne, makes industrial, lifestyle and leisure products from a material which looks like plastic but feels like steel.  Peter runs the technical and invention side of the business, while Dame Bronwen is the managing director, responsible for marketing, management and administration.  She is also company secretary of Paringahau Farm Co Ltd, an agro-forestry business. Pultron, which exports most of its products, has won numerous business, quality and export awards.  

A keen musician and accomplished pianist, Dame Bronwen has been involved with a large number of visual art, music, education and business organisations in Gisborne. Lately she has focussed on emerging artists, including sponsoring the Gisborne Music Competition prize for the best performance of a New Zealand composition.  She says her family is committed to helping young composers and musicians develop their skills and expand their horizons.

In 1988, Dame Bronwen paid tribute to Marsden in a newspaper interview.  “The women who taught me (at Marsden) inspired achievement,” she said.

Chosen as the 1988 MORE Businesswoman of the Year, Dame Bronwen was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for services to business, the arts and the community.  The Holdsworths have four children, all engineers. In 2015 Mrs Holdsworth became a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the arts.