Zonta Award Winner


Rolleston College’s Ella Benn has been honoured at the 29th Zonta Awards, which were held at the Hornby Working Men’s Club on Thursday, October 14th. Ella won the category for the most outstanding achievement by a young sportswoman with a disability for her swimming. She broke the New Zealand record for the women’s S9 100m butterfly during last month’s final of the 2019 New Zealand Short Course Championship with an outstanding time of 1:27.80 seconds.

Ella, who was diagnosed with bone cancer as a ten year old, made the choice to have rotationplasty surgery. This procedure involves surgeons removing the knee, and rotating the lower leg 180 degrees, before reattaching it to the upper leg: Ella’s ankle now works as her knee. None of this has stopped Ella’s determination to excel at all that she does – definitely a name to watch out for in the future.

Ella was unable to attend the Zonta Awards due to having  surgery on her leg that day to remove a plate and screws that have been causing her pain.

“I knew I’d been nominated by Rolleston College, but thought that with such huge competition I wouldn’t be achieving the award. It’s great to be recognised for what I’ve achieved over the year,” Ella said proudly.

Founded in 1919 in the USA, Zonta International has 30,000 members in 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 67 countries. In New Zealand Zonta has been active for fifty years, and has 28 clubs from Northland to Otago. Members volunteer their time, talents and money to support women and girls in their local communities, run projects in many parts of the world to improve the lives of women, and advocate on women’s issues at all levels of society. There are scholarship and award programmes for furthering women’s education and also youth leadership development.