Kathleen Mayson is believed to be Unicef's longest-serving New Zealand supporter.

Mrs Mayson celebrated her 101st birthday in December and had been donating to the organisation for most of her adult life.

Unicef New Zealand chief executive Vivien Maidaborn caught up with her when in Wanganui yesterday for a morning-tea speaking engagement at Nazareth House.

Ms Maidaborn spoke of the work Unicef was doing to support children overseas and in New Zealand.


"The Government has acknowledged that there is child poverty in New Zealand and now the onus is on them to act," she said.

"They are due to report on those actions to the United Nations this year and Unicef will be writing a shadow report - there are still areas where the Government is asleep - there are still too many children missing out."

On a positive note, Ms Maidaborn said she was encouraged by Unicef's Youth Ambassador programme which was about young people educating their peers on children's rights.

"They are multi-talented, multi-ethnic and they think like global citizens - they commit to the role for two years and I believe they really will make a difference.

"Our main concern over the next months is the children of Syria - it is winter and there are six million people living in tents while it is snowing - it is very hard for us to comprehend."

Ms Maidaborn has been in her role for six months, having earlier worked in chief-executive roles in community, disability support and health sectors.

John Daysh, who runs the Unicef Legacy fund managing donations and bequests, was also visiting for the day and said he had fond memories of living in Wanganui as a Collegiate student in the 1960s.

"It's a lovely city and there are so many interesting people here doing some very worthwhile things," he said.