1st generation New Zealander
Hanny van Roekel was an outstanding import who worked in a variety of positions in New Zealand. We thank her for the legacy she gave the Foundation - the recipients of her scholarship have created some vital research regarding the Dutch in New Zealand.
Hanny van Roekel emigrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand in 1953 with her husband Jan. Before she emigrated, she had obtained a Masters degree in English at the prestigious Leiden University (established in 1575), and in 1951-2, she headed the secretariat for the International Law Conference in The Hague.
In 1952-3 she was deputy head of secretariat with the Netherlands' delegation on the European Defence Community in Paris, a body that preceded the formation of NATO. On arrival in NZ, Hanny had clerical and secretarial positions with several companies.
In New Zealand, she joined the Public Service and in 1961 became the administrative secretary of the International Law Conference. In 1963 Hanny joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in 1966 was appointed to its External Aid Division where she worked as a senior advisory officer until her retirement in 1978.
Hanny championed changes to our citizenship laws, so that naturalised New Zealanders (those who gave up their passports to become citizens of New Zealand) could no longer be rendered stateless at the stroke of a pen. Due to her persistence, determination and tireless lobbying, the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 was changed in 1960.
Hanny died in Wellington in August 1999.
Further information on Hanny van Roekel may be found on pages 73-76 of the book Tasman's Legacy by Hank Schouten, published by the Foundation.