It was a high tea occasion for the magic of hats.

The Manawatū County Club fundraiser on Friday was a chance for the members to wear their hats for high tea at the Chalet.

MCC president Tina McGurk said the club, now in its 91st year, had its first business meeting on November 28 1928.

"The club was started for women who came into the town from the country, [although] there were quite a few women from town as well."


The MCC's club rooms were in Coleman Place, formerly the CM Ross tearooms, and had a membership of 76 women.

Fifteen women signed the application for incorporation which was witnessed by a solicitor W Fitzherbert, and the first president Constance Putnam declared the club open.

By the end of the first year there were 195 members.

The MCC was originally open from 10am to 10pm six days a week and morning and afternoon tea, supper, cigarettes and sweets were available.

The country members who spent the day in town could meet with the members in Palmerston North where they could play bridge or have a break from their shopping.

Today the club has a membership of 106 with many women who have been previously farming.

"We have women who are academics, professors, a Dame, and we would love more women to join, especially the younger women," says McGurk.

She said a work-life balance was appropriate and the club could hold dinner evenings.


"We do have two lunches on a Monday and Friday."

The MCC supports Women's Refuge and Camellia House.

"A lot of people are downsizing and we donate household items to Camellia House.

The MCC is in the former Salvation Army rooms on the Main/Fitzroy Sts corner and open Monday-Thursday 9.30am-12.30pm, phone 3584571.