Rosalba Finnerty (nee Willis) – Inducted 2019
Friday, 1 November 2019
Student at Marsden 1956-1966 (Y3 to Y13 - Standard 1 to Upper 6th)
Rosalba Finnerty (nee Willis) has been made a Laureate in the Marsden Hall of Fame in recognition of service to Marsden. We honour her, not only for her length of employment at Marsden, continuous since 1986, but for the breadth of voluntary work she has done for the community since 1974 and the depth of her knowledge of the school. 

Rosalba attended Marsden from 1956-1966 and in 1966 was made a School Bursar. She is a life- member of the Marsden Old Girls’ Association and is the first of the Marsden staff to receive her gold service pin for over thirty years of service to the school.  

After she graduated from Marsden, Rosalba completed a New Zealand Library Association Certificate and worked in various libraries in New Zealand, and England with some volunteer work in Fiji. She completed her National Diploma of Children’s’ Literature in 1995. 

In 1978 Rosalba was the secretary to the Boards’ Centenary Coordinating Committee for the School’s Centenary, as well as providing the text for a collection of candid photographs taken during major events marking the 100 years of Marsden from 1878-1978. This publication was edited by Old Girl Sylvia Bennett and photographs supplied by then HOD Art Patricia Zilch and others.  

After settling in Wellington, where Rosalba ‘s daughter Kate attended Marsden (1986-1999), Rosalba was an active member of the Marsden Parents’ Association and the Marsden Old Girls’ Association. 

In 1986 she was first employed at school as a volunteer librarian, then in a permanent part time position, before becoming the School Librarian. 

In addition to her busy job as the School Librarian Rosalba still found time as a volunteer to ·         
  • Curate the 125th Anniversary of Marsden exhibitions in 2003; make a valuable contribution to the 125th Anniversary Committee and provide huge support to Dr Kirsty Carpenter, author of the Marsden History, Marsden Women and their World
  • Provide Chapters on Marsden’s history for the publication in 2011 of Karori and Its People, edited by Judith Burch and Jan Heynes. 

At the end of 2011 Rosalba retired as School Librarian and since that time has worked, part time, as the School Archivist. As well as maintaining the archives, answering queries from the school or the community on the history of the school and teaching Marsden History to students, Rosalba is responsible for maintenance and update of the Marsden Old Girls’ and Whitby Collegians’ databases; maintenance of the archive displays in the refurbished Swainson Room and the care, display and distribution of School cups and trophies.  Rosalba created the 2018 photo boards of the 140th Anniversary of Marsden as well as crafting the speech delivered by the Head Girl at the 2018 Memorial Service at the Cathedral.  

Outside the Marsden community Rosalba was awarded Honorary Life Membership of SLANZA (School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) in 2014.  Her citation concluded with…. “An advisor, an ear to many, a fantastic stalwart of the Wellington committee and all round organiser of everyone and everything. It is an utter pleasure to award her Life Membership of SLANZA.” [1] 

Rosalba has also worked as a relieving librarian since retirement from fulltime work, written articles on creating and maintaining family archives and been a mentor and friend to staff and students alike. She is the holder of our history and in her life, work and commitment to service exemplifies the very best in a Marsden Old Girl.    

1.       Citation on the conferring of Honorary Life Membership of SLANZA 2014.