Newmarket's Queen Retires

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This month, we have the bittersweet emotion of celebrating the retirement of Di Goldsworthy – our undisputed Queen of Newmarket.

Di joined the Newmarket Business Association back in 1994. She was initially engaged to help out with paperwork – as a group of local retailers were applying for funding from Auckland Council to take part in the council’s Mainstreet programme.  Once the funding was approved, Di joined the NBA in a permanent role as a Co-ordinator. The first manager was appointed – Sue Gunn. Next came Robin Winter, then Cameron Brewer, Ashley Church and now Mark Knoff-Thomas.   Di worked in several different roles before being appointed to her current position as Arts & Heritage Manager. Di has been an ongoing support to Newmarket’s business community, regularly checking in to see how trade is doing and listening to business owners’ feedback.

Looking back, ever since she was a young girl, Di has had a passion for helping and supporting others. At aged 14 at Papakura High School, she held fashion shows and parades to fundraise for the likes of Plunket and the local kindergarten. This sowed the seeds of what would become an enduring commitment to helping those in need.

Becoming a model herself at aged 14, Di walked for numerous department stores including Milne & Choyce, John Court and Smith & Caughey’s. This exposure to the fashion industry enabled her to develop life-long connections.  When Di left school she established her own business running deportment classes in Papakura and then expanded to Pakuranga and the North Shore.  Going into partnership with Murray Dunn, they ran Gallery Hair Designs in Manukau Mall and then later Dazzle Designer Dressing.

Di’s contribution to the New Zealand fashion industry is second to none. She has been an avid supporter of the sector since the 1960’s and is a friend and mentor to many - from designers to retail store owners, to hairdressers and more. She has guided and supported many New Zealand modelling and beauty identities too, including most notably Lorraine Downs - who went on to become Miss Universe.   

Di travelled around New Zealand with the Gown of the Year Fashion tour of New Zealand in the 1960’s, she also features in the NZ Fashion Museum - as an authority on Racewear.  Her passion for horse racing has seen Di play an instrumental role in the Auckland racing industry - having attended races at Ellerslie for almost 60 years, and as Judge for Fashion in the Fields for more than 15 years.

Always willing to volunteer to organise events, from gatherings inside local Newmarket businesses, to large scale fashion shows and charity fundraisers. She is the epitome of a selfless community-driven citizen and skilfully reaches out to her extensive network of people of influence to help those who need it.  Volunteering and fundraising are not simply acts of service for Di, they are a way of life, and her expansive array of friends and acquaintances is symbolic of this.  Having developed a close relationship with the team at Mercy Hospice as they nursed both her father and her mother, Di was asked to join the Fundraising Committee for Mercy Hospice in 2003. She worked with them on fundraising initiatives for 15 years and helped with their main annual fundraising event, “Ten”.  Di’s involvement began when she organised their first ever fashion fundraiser in 1982/1983 and its success drove future fundraising campaigns.  Di became involved in fundraising for Macular Degeneration after a close friend of hers was diagnosed, as she understands that often the most helpful contribution can be to secure funding for support and research.

In more recent years Di has organised Newmarket’s Art tours, played a fundamental role in the Newmarket Arts Trust, facilitated Newmarket’s ANZAC Day Parade and hosted Newmarket’s heritage tours and activities for Auckland Council’s annual Heritage Week.  She was also instrumental in Newmarket’s involvement in Auckland Council’s Art in a Day programme. One of Di’s major focuses over the past few years has been researching history of the precinct for the soon to be launched  website.

Di is universally loved, and highly regarded for both her kindness and generosity of her time. She has served the Newmarket, and wider Auckland, business, fashion and charitable communities for more than 60 years.

We will miss Di in the office. The end of a very special era for the Newmarket Business Association, but we look forward to seeing Di around Newmarket for many years to come.