When Julie Hart thinks back on her time working with the refuge in Hawke's Bay, the words of one woman stand out - "I don't know if you remember me, but I was in the refuge 18 years ago ... and you'll never know the difference that you made in my life".
It sums up her life's mission, she says - one to help women and children through domestic violence.
A life mission, however, that was only realised when she was made redundant and found an advert seeking a volunteer for what was then known as the Hastings Women's Refuge, in the 90s.
Now, 25-years later, and the business manager of Family VIP Services (which looks after the Hastings and Napier refuges), she has been instrumental in the lives of hundreds of women and children in the region, and elsewhere around the country.
• The women behind Hastings Women's Refuge
• Napier and Hastings Women's Refuges set to merge under new name Family VIP
• Men stepping up to end domestic violence
• Women's Refuge appeal focuses on child victims of violence
It is an accomplishment which has seen her recognised with the Zonta 50 Women of Achievement award.
The Women of Achievement Award recognises women "from household names to the quiet achievers".
In her award statement, she is described as having a "strong sense of equality and a desire to ensure others see differing outlooks, options and opinions".
"Julie uses Women's Refuge air time to promote a new way of thinking in listeners, educating them on the dynamics of domestic violence, challenging social discourse and advocating for better outcomes for whanau."
Hart said she was both "blown away and humbled" that she got chosen locally to receive the award.
Family VIP Services chair Shawn Hill said Julie is the "glue that has kept the organisation together".
"If you look at the 25-years of commitment that she has given, she has taken the organisation through some significant challenges to the point where it is today.
"As an organisation, we are significantly proud of Julie to be nominated."
Hill said he is "always inspired" by her drive, and willingness and ability to learn.
Hart says her job is "truly rewarding". "It has its sad and frustrating moments, but it has a lot more positive feel-good factors that come with the work that we do in supporting women and children as well."
She is one of two women from Hawke's Bay recognised this year - the other is Eileen von Dadelszen QSM, JP.
She was the first woman elected as chairperson of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, first female District Planner in the Ministry of Works, and one of the first two women elected to the Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce.
In her award statement, it says; "Eileen has many firsts, breaking barriers".
"Recognised as a role model for young women planners in the Central North Island and beyond, Eileen's most recent role has been as a Commissioner of the Environment Court.
"As well as a long involvement in community activities, particularly in singing and theatre, Eileen supports women to stand for public roles, helping them to develop confidence and skills to succeed," it said.
The awards coincide with Zonta International's centenary anniversary.
Souella Cumming, Governor of Zonta New Zealand, says, "Zonta's role in empowering women in 2019 is as relevant as it was 100 years ago when Zonta was first started in Buffalo New York USA in 1919".
In 2016, Zonta International District 16 (comprising Zonta Clubs throughout New Zealand) recognised 50 Women of Achievement, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Zonta in New Zealand. This year's award brings the group to 100 Women of Achievement.
"The contribution by these 100 women has made and continues to make a significant difference to the lives of women and girls, and in turn to our community," Cumming said.
"They are a unique representative group from the hundreds of thousands of New Zealand women who actively work towards gender equality and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls."
A Zonta Hawke's Bay event, which will also celebrate the two women's achievement will be held at the Havelock North Function Centre on November 21. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://events.humanitix.co.nz/celebrating-100-years-of-zonta