Remembering Pamela Rose Williams MNZM, 1936-2023

Our dear friend, mentor and colleague died at Christchurch Hospital on May 31st, after a brief illness.

Pam’s contribution to Nutrition and Dietetics dates back to her State Registration as a Dietitian in 1958. She studied for her Master of Science degree at Kansas State University in 1960-61, and her career blossomed since then. She had five years as research Home Economist at the Meat Research Institute of NZ (MIRINZ). Her time at MIRINZ convinced her of the importance of nutrition in the production of food.

Testament to this over the years are the roles Pam has undertaken and honours conferred. She joined the NZ Institute of Food Science and Technology and was admitted as a Fellow in 1989; from 1967-1980, she was Secretary/Treasurer, New Zealand Dietetic Association, following this with a stint on the Executive Committee (1981-92), including President of the Association between 1989-1991. She was Consumer representative on the Metric Advisory Board and a member of the Food Standards Committee. She’s been an associate member of both the NZ Institute of Management and the NZ Institute of Health Management and a member of the Public Health Association. She was also the first Dietitian to chair the New Zealand Dietitians Board (1981-1990).

These roles stood Pam in good stead to contribute as a Council member of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation from 1984 . She was elected Deputy Chair in 1988 and Chair (1998-2005), working closely with CEOs during her tenure. Pam always considered the Nutrition Foundation to be integral to the promotion of nutrition and public health, and a natural partner to the dietetic profession.

Pam’s main professional appointments have been Chief Dietitian, North Canterbury Hospital Board (1979-1990), and Chief Executive, Canterbury/West Coast Division, NZ Cancer Society (1990-2001). She has also held significant posts in voluntary organisations, including Hohepa (Chair of the Board), Supergrans (Chair of the Board), Presbyterian Support (Deputy Chair). She supported and mentored so many of us, always willing to share and guide others. She was astute, able to quickly assess a situation and bring any issue to a workable solution.

Pam was celebrated and honoured in many ways. She was awarded The New Zealand Dietetic Association’s Award of Excellence (1993), Honorary Life Membership of Dietitians NZ in 1999, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2002) for services to Dietetics. She became a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International in 2008 and was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Rotary in 2021.

Pam’s contribution, her wisdom and support, not only to nutrition and dietetics, but also to her wider community will be sadly missed. She was always ready to participate in a governance role in voluntary organisations, and her strengths as a role model, leader, mentor & motivator, teacher, communicator/networker, manager/administrator, researcher, planner and volunteer will be hard to emulate!

Julian Jensen

Life Member, NZ Nutrition Foundation

Last modified: July 4, 2023