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Welcome to Aotearoa Quilters

Formed in 1994 as the National Association of New Zealand Quilters (NANZQ), we support quilters and textile artists by offering classes, exhibitions and professional development opportunities. Membership is open to anyone interested in the NZ quilting and textile scene.

Life Members

NANZQ/Aotearoa Quilters was formed in 1994, and in 2009 the first Life Membership was awarded to Marge Hurst. Our most recent Life Member recipients are Nancy Neilson and Paula Cole.

Nancy C. Neilson


After a lifetime of sewing, fabric & thread work I discovered quilting in the early 1980’s and joined Waikato P’s & Q’s, enjoying the friendship and sharing classes and knowledge during my time living in Hamilton.

In 1992 I retired ‘home’ to glorious Ohope and built ‘Rainbows End’ with a wonderful studio looking out over the Ohiwa Harbour and finally moved over the hill into Whakatane in 2009.

A large book collection and classes with a number of New Zealand and overseas tutors have broadened my range of skills and given me more ideas for future work than could possibly be achieved in one lifetime.

Most of my work is machine pieced and /or appliquéd and machine quilted.  I enjoy a variety of styles from traditional to more modern, and do not seem able to stay with one style long enough to produce a series!

I have exhibited work in a number of regional exhibitions, in all Symposia since Wellington in 1993, and several times in the World Quilt Show and managed to win a few prizes along the way.

From 1993 until recently I have taught patchwork, quilting and machine embroidery enjoying passing on my knowledge and skills to an apparently endless supply of new and experienced quilters.

A founder of Eastbay Quilters in 1993, I was the Convenor of our biennial quilt show Positively Patchwork for a number of years from its inception in 1994.

I am a founding member the then National Association of NZ Quilters, now Aotearoa Quilters and joined the national committee in 2004. I spent the first 4 years as Newsletter Editor then became President in 2008 – retiring after my 6 years on the committee in 2010.

I also chaired the organizing committee for our Annual Quilt Show in conjunction with the Craft & Quilt Fair for a number of years.

Along the way I have made many friends and gained a great deal of knowledge and enjoyment from my involvement in the quilting world for which I am ever grateful.

Paula Cole

Paula ColePaula is a founding member of the National Association (Aotearoa Quilters) and has had a close involvement with its activities since joining the Quilts Aotearoa committee about 2003 to run the annual exhibition at the Hamilton Craft and Quilt Fair. On joining the National Committee in 2009, Paula has been the Newsletter Editor and have now taken over convening the Travelling Exhibition – the y Growth Challenge, and this year the Flight Challenge.

More to come

Marge Hurst               www.margehurst.com

Marge was a founding member of NANZQ and was President and Newsletter Editor from 1996 to 2000. Under her leadership, membership grew to close to 500 members.

During her time as President, NANZQ began two of our most valuable activities, the biennial Challenge, and the Master Class.
Marge is a winner of many awards and is well known in both the quilt and the art world, for her stunning quilts.

Marge has been making quilts for more than 25 years and teaching quiltmaking for much of that time. She has exhibited quilts in New Zealand, USA (the most prestigious being Quilt National 1995), Canada, England, France (invitational), Germany (invitational), Japan (invitational) and Australia. She has taught in New Zealand, USA, Canada and Australia where she was the first overseas tutor sponsored by the Barbara Meredith Trust to teach in Australia. Her styles have changed over the years but have been predominantly abstract and using nature as inspiration.

Marge has won a number of awards, the top Innovative Bed Quilt in the ENZED Competition in 1991, Best of Show at the 1993 Wellington Symposium and the 1997 Hamilton Symposium, other awards at various Symposia, 2nd Best of Country at World Quilt one year and a number of awards at club level over the years.

Marge is also a Foundation member of Coastal Quilters, Porirua (which she began with Sue Bracken) and an Artist Member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.


View a sample of Marge’s quilts







In 2013 at the AGM held at the Taupo Symposium two members were awarded Life membership

MaryNapperphotoMary Napper

Mary is from Southland and was a foundation member  of Aotearoa Quilters (formally NANZQ). She has served two full terms of 6 years each on the committee and is one of the key reasons the Association survives today. Mary has organised Master classes in the past and has been the key person on all things legal with a complete understanding of the constitution and any law surrounding it including pushing through the Charities Commission registration.

Mary looked after membership for several years and always kept meticulous records as well as advocating for  those quilters in hard to reach places. Mary is an extremely hard worker and is committed to Aotearoa Quilters Association. Mary was awarded her life membership for her services to the Association since its inception.

Heather Harding

Heather has been quilting for over 25 years and has won national awards for both hand and machine quilting. She has been regularly featured in national and international magazines and has exhibited internationally. Heather has been on the executive committee of Aotearoa Quilters (when NANZQ), is a tutor, a judge and a life member of her local guild.

Heather cut the end of her finger off in a lawn mower accident and when she was at the hospital told the doctor that he had to save her finger because she was a quilter. The hospital said “what is your name” and Heathers reply was my first name is ‘bloody’ and my second name is ‘stupid!’ Heathers finger eventually healed though ended up a bit shorter but she was able to continue to quilt and win awards. Heather was awarded her life membership for her services to quilting.



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Upcoming Events

all-day Coastal Quilters Exhibition @ NZ Craft & Quilt Fair
Coastal Quilters Exhibition @ NZ Craft & Quilt Fair
Sep 2 – Sep 1 all-day
An exhibition of Members quilts and also a challenge “Scrap”
12:00 am 12×12 Orange Challenge
12×12 Orange Challenge
Sep 11 @ 12:00 am – 11:45 pm
Closing day for entries to be delivered to: Shirley Sparkes Aotearoa Quilters 117 Motu Capri Pauanui 3546
10:00 am Quilts-a-Plenty @ Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre
Quilts-a-Plenty @ Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre
Sep 22 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Featuring Quilt Exhibition, Merchants, Club Quilt raffle and much more Refreshments available facebook.com/taurangapatchworkandquiltersgroup/
10:00 am Quilts-a-Plenty @ Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre
Quilts-a-Plenty @ Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre
Sep 23 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Featuring Quilt Exhibition, Merchants, Club Quilt raffle and much more Refreshments available facebook.com/taurangapatchworkandquiltersgroup/