The History of Age Concern


The first part of the organisation that is now Age Concern was founded on 9 September 1948.


Throughout the winter of 1948, journalist HA (Bud) Glasson and Sister Tingey of the District Nursing Service had investigated the plight of Dunedin’s older people. The resulting Otago Daily Times exposé stirred public indignation and led to calls for action.

Many of the problems faced by older people remain today: hardship, health care, social isolation, and discrimination.

On 9 September 1948 a public meeting, chaired by Dunedin’s mayor Sir Donald Cameron, agreed unanimously to set up the Otago Old People’s Welfare Council. The council's first permanent home was in Garrison Hall, Dunedin. Chairman Bud Glasson and a team of volunteers provided information, drop-in centre, and home support services including one of the first Meals-on-Wheels services in New Zealand (1954 picture, at left, shows Bud Glasson and volunteer Mrs JL Anderson).

A similar council was established in Auckland a few months later, joined by Canterbury in 1952 and then Wellington.

By the end of the 1960s, independent councils were operating throughout the country and the need for national coordination was pressing. In February 1972 the National Old People's Welfare Council was incorporated, officially becoming Age Concern New Zealand in 1991.

In 1996, the late Dame Augusta Wallace agreed to become the first  Patron of Age Concern New Zealand.

In 1998, a new logo was adopted for use locally and nationally. In addition, He Manaakitanga Kaumātua was accepted as a Māori translation of the intention and approach of Age Concern. Manaakitanga embraces the meaning of respect for older people's care, rights and well-being. Kaumātua is used here as a general term for older persons, both men and women.


Acknowledgments: Wendy Patterson (Age Concern Otago, 1998) and Ron Hamer (NZ Health Review, 1987).