Jane Elizabeth Runciman

Miss Jane Runciman was an active member of the Dunedin community and a strong advocate of various social causes throughout her life. Born in Ireland in 1873, Jane moved to New Zealand with her family when she was 10 years old. She was involved with various unions throughout her lifetime and was active in labour politics. She was also one of the first women appointed a justice of the peace in New Zealand. Following the declaration of war in 1914, Jane became involved with the Otago Patriotic and General Welfare Association and helped to canvass Dunedin for funds for various wartime causes, among them the Belgian Relief Fund. For her fundraising efforts on the part of Belgium, Jane was awarded the Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal).

Family information

Parents: William Edward Runciman and Sarah Propert Runciman (née Williams)

Born: 1873, in Ireland

Died: 13 November 1950, aged 77

Buried: Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 180A, Plot 55.

Active in: Dunedin

Obituary/death notice:

1.

‘Miss J. E. Runciman Was Noted Social Worker’

The death occurred yesterday of Miss Jane Elizabeth Runciman, a former member of the Otago Hospital Board. Miss Runciman arrived in Dunedin with her parents, the late Mr and Mrs W. E. Runciman from Ireland as a girl and lived here ever since. In her early working years she was employed in the clothing trade and was a member of the Committee of Management of the Dunedin Tailoresses’ Union before being appointed secretary, in 1908, of the local union and also of the New Zealand Federated Clothing Trade.

Miss Runciman took an active interest in the Independent Order of Oddfellows. She was a district deputy and received the veteran’s jewel for long service. She was a member of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children, and was also a member of the Ladies Benevolent Committee of the Otago Hospital Board. She was included in the first list of women justices of the peace appointed in New Zealand.
Evening Star, 14 November 1950

2.

The death occurred yesterday of Jane Elizabeth Runciman, daughter of the late Mr and Mrs W. E. Runciman. Miss Runciman arrived from Ireland with her parents as a girl and has lived in Dunedin ever since. After leaving the Macandrew Road School she was employed in the clothing trade, and was a member of the Committee of Management of the Dunedin Tailoresses’ Union before being appointed secretary in 1908, of the local union and also of the New Zealand Federated Clothing Trade. Miss Runciman was a member of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children for more than 20 years, and was one of the delegates from the Dunedin Tailoresses’ Union to the National Council of Women. She was among the first women justices of the peace appointed in New Zealand, was a member of the executive of the Women’s Patriotic Association during the war, and in 1916 was appointed one of the honorary visitors in connection with the Otago Soldier’s Welfare and Patriotic Association. She was a member of the Citizen’s Committee which was formed in 1922, and again in 1926, to deal with unemployment, and was for some years one of the three Labour Unions’ representatives on the King Edward Technical College Board. Miss Runciman was a member of the Women’s Unemployment Committee, and for many years was a member of the Otago Hospital Board.
Otago Daily Times, 14 November 1950

Selected sources

'Otago Patriotic and General Welfare Association', Evening Star, 14 August 1915, p. 5

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 18 December 1915, p. 10

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 4 May 1916, p. 6

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 9 December 1916, p. 10

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 2 March 1917, p. 3

'Soldiers and Dependents' Fund', Evening Star, 20 October 1917, p. 9

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 26 November 1917, p. 6

'Dunedin Women Honoured', Evening Star, 5 January 1920, p. 6

Jane Elizabeth Runciman – DNZB

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