Toastmasters Nelson Club members from left, Kelvin Woodley and Alison Cowan welcome any ex members to come along to their 45 year anniversary celebration. Photo: Jessie Johnston.

Toastmasters Nelson Club celebrates 45 years


For 45 years Toastmasters Nelson Club has been helping people improve their ability to speak in public and is set to celebrate the milestone.

Part of the international organisation, Toastmasters Nelson Club is one of three in the Nelson area.

“The pattern I see is that a Toastmaster moves to a new area and then realises that there’s no Toastmasters club there, so they initiate one,” says Nelson Club’s Kelvin Woodley.

“They always start essentially for the same reason – people see a need to improve their ability to speak in public situations, that’s why we all join and that’s why clubs are started in the first place.”

With clubs all around the globe, Nelson Club often welcomes overseas visitors while members within the Nelson group have enjoyed the hospitality of international clubs and others around New Zealand.

Kelvin has been a member of the Nelson Club for around 10 years and says he attributes his current job as principal of Tapawera School to the skills he has learned through Toastmasters.

“I’ve learned things about working with my staff, difficult conversations I have to have, it’s improved my ability to respond thoughtfully and appropriately and my levels of anxiety are way less than they used to be,” says Kelvin.

“I wanted to get better at randomly talking to people, not necessarily the public speaking side of it, but actually meeting people, introducing myself and holding a conversation,” says Alecia Humphries.

“If I’m with my husband at a group meeting with council or any sort of social situation, I just sort of sit by myself. I’m not usually the type of person to go up and talk to someone I don’t know.”

“At the time I joined I was doing a writing course and it was kind of an outlet for what I was writing,” says Alison Cowan.

“Most people come to it on the basis of getting better at public speaking. Personally, I have been on the stage in small ways ever since I was quite young so that side of it wasn’t so unfamiliar to me, what was unfamiliar was presenting my own words.”

Toastmasters Nelson Club’s 45 year anniversary will be held on Monday, December 12, from 7pm, in their regular meeting room at the Hearing House, 354 Trafalgar Square, Nelson. If any ex-Toastmaster Nelson Club members would like to attend, contact Alison on 022 3519 550.