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(Isabel) Noeline Baker


Inducted 2015
Fitzherbert Terrace years ??? – 1890s

Noeline Baker receives this posthumous award in recognition for her work during the First World War with the Women’s Land Army in England.

Following her education at Fitzherbert Terrace School, Noeline’s family returned to England where she became a student at the Slade School of Fine Art.  She also became active in the local suffragette movement and later in the national movement.  When World War One broke out, she became involved in organizing the Women’s Farm Labour services.  As the need for food for the nation became more urgent, the British Government formed the Women’s Land Army and Noeline became the organizing secretary for Surrey.  She was awarded an MBE for her work in 1920.

Noeline was also a conservationist and on her return to New Zealand in 1930 she bought 34 acres of land at Halfmoon Bay on Stewart Island.  Here she built a home, “Moturau Moana” and created a garden of plants indigenous to the island.

She returned to England at the start of the Second World War and resumed her work with the Women’s Land Army. She returned to New Zealand during the war and helped set up Post-war Reconstruction study groups believing that “to wait until peace is in sight is dangerous because the building of a peace is a task that demands careful and prolonged study” 1.

“Moturau Moana” was designated a scenic reserve in 1948 and although the house burned down in 1967, it is still New Zealand’s southern most public garden.

Photo courtesy  http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/4b2/baker-isabel-noeline