Vonnie and her mother joined the W(h)anganui Camera Club in 1952. It was a lively club established in 1894 with only a short recession during the WWs. She was an active participating and very supportive member for over 50 years, holding all major offices, and with her name on most of the Club trophies - some several times.
Vonnie started with Black and White film photography developed and printed in her converted washhouse. Competition in the Club was strong with others like Dr Bob Anderson, Arthur Bates and Ken Newton among the keenest top photographers. With Vonnie, they were all to become members of PSNZ when it was formed in 1952 and went on to win National and International Salons and hold major portfolios.
Vonnie gained her FPSNZ and ARPS. She and fellow WCC members also played major roles in PSNZ. Vonnie served terms on the Judges Panel, Honours Board, Council and was trustee of the Bowron Foundation. She was elected President and later appointed as PSNZ Patron. She was awarded Hon FPSNZ in recognition of her contribution to PSNZ and Photography.
In 2021 the first Vonnie Cave Medal will be presented to the champion image in the Humanity and Earth WCC Salon.
"I had known Vonnie for some forty-seven years, meeting her on my first Camera Club night. I knew no-one there; Vonnie approached me, asked me about my photography and made me feel welcome. That was Vonnie." Ormond Torr
"There are some people in our lives that leave a lasting impression. Vonnie was one of these. Skilled in so many areas she was armed with common sense and always gave honest helpful advice. I always considered her a living treasure. She is missed." Glyn Hubbard
Here are a few recollections of Vonnie that pop into my thoughts: As a member of Wanganui Movie Club we had annual meetings with Wanganui Camera Club whose turn it was to present the programme. I was so enchanted with a Slide/Sound show presentation by Vonnie. Called Wind Grasses, stunning back lit images. This was 50 years ago, but I chatted with Vonnie about it quite recently
Vonnie was disappointed when her very tall Norfolk Island pine developed a second leader, spoiling the symmetry, then she had a solution, loaded her rifle, and successfully shot off the rogue leader!
Before digital, Vonnie brought a display of her mounted prints to Camera Club. One an outstanding artistic B & W photo of a rustic cottage with a superimposed face of a Maori woman is still etched in my memory. (Created in the dark room.) Happy memories of our friend Vonnie, Lynette Vallely
"From one of the 19 trips she led to see the Wildflowers of Western Australia, she brought me back a very neat wooden handled butter spreader. Thoughtful and practical. That was Vonnie. I have used it every day since!" - Beverley Sinclair
"When in her 90s, Vonnie set herself an assignment to photograph Whanganui Cottages built in the 1800s including the one in which her parents lived. She then created an Audio Visual presentation and an original print of them." Jacqui McGowan
"Vonnie was a highly respected PSNZ member. I wasn’t a member when she was a councilor or President, but I witnessed her fine work as Patron. She relinquished the position only when she was no longer able to hop on and out of convention field trip buses. She would otherwise have continued for ever!
When I decided to try for my LPSNZ, Vonnie was the natural person to mentor me. We sat and sorted, and her quiet advice worked wonders, but not on my first attempt. We went back to the drawing board, changed two photos – and we made it − together. It was Vonnie’s LPSNZ, as much as mine.
I came across Vonnie in town one day. She was sitting in her lovely new car, very perplexed. A warning light was glowing on the instrument – and it wouldn’t go away. I was concerned and recommended a trip back to the dealer. Vonnie was reluctant; nothing could be wrong in her brand new Mazda, but she went. The result? Vonnie had clocked up 1500km (she was a keen driver) and the car was due for its first service check. I often parked next to Vonnie when I went to Camera Club. That parking spot will always be hers…"
Lindsay Stockbridge LPSNZ
"I remember Vonnie fondly as a woman of integrity and compassion. When I joined the camera club Vonnie was one of the people I admired. She was always friendly and offered wisdom to any discussion. She wanted to keep the peace and looked out for the best for our club. Her contribution to the Whanganui Camera Club and PSNZ over many decades was immense.
On a more personal note, Vonnie was a great help to me when I was preparing my LPSNZ portfolio. I spent an afternoon at her home with a collection of my images and Vonnie gave me valuable advice on the selection of my portfolio. I don’t think I could have done it without her help. Thank you Vonnie."
- Derek Barrett LPSNZ
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