The history of the association between the Girdlers’ Company and New Zealand dates back to 1933, the first year in which New Zealand Day was officially commemorated in the UK. The commemoration service took place at St. Lawrence Jewry, the Girdlers’ Guild Church whose Vicar was the Company’s Honorary Chaplain, and the Girdlers agreed to host the tea that followed the service. This became custom (although the tea has now morphed into an evening drinks reception), and the Company continues to maintain close links with New Zealand.
New Zealand Scholarship
In 1950, at the instigation of the Master at the time, the 3rd Viscount Brentford, the Company decided to provide a scholarship for an outstanding New Zealander to come to England to study for a degree. The undergraduate scholarship is awarded annually, with the successful scholar now studying at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge on a three- or four-year degree course. The scholarship covers the university fees and an allowance for maintenance. For details on how to apply for the scholarship please visit the Girdlers' Scholarship page of the Universities New Zealand - Te Pokai Tara website.
There is little doubt that the scholarship has been a successful enterprise, and since the first scholarship was awarded in 1952, more than 50 young New Zealanders have become Girdlers' Scholars. Strong links are forged between the Company and the scholars, who are asked to come and give an account of themselves to the Court once a year. They are also invited to attend the March Livery Dinner each year, together with the New Zealand High Commissioner, members of the New Zealand Society, other distinguished New Zealanders and any former scholars.
Corpus Christi College picture kindly provided by, and the copyright of, the college.
New Zealand Fellowship
The Girdlers' Scholarship is, however, not the only academic award which the Company offers to New Zealanders. In 1984, the question of a postgraduate award was first raised, and this led in 1986 to the creation of a medical research fellowship at Green Templeton College, Oxford, awarded to a post-doctoral New Zealander of outstanding calibre. It is now jointly funded by the Company, through its Charitable Trust, and the Health Research Council of New Zealand, for two or sometimes three years.