Early life and family
Miriam Patricia Matthews was born in 1924, the daughter of Ruby Miriam Crawford and Gerald Matthews. She studied science at the University of Auckland, and at age 22 in 1946, she married Richard Dell.
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Dell was a founding member of the Hutt Valley Branch of the National Council of Women (NCW). She became National President of the Council in 1970. In 1974, she became chairperson of the Committee on Women and was coordinator for International Women's Year, attending as a member of the New Zealand Government delegation at all three of the UN Conferences for the Decade of Women.
She was elected to the Board of Officers of the International Council of Women (ICW) in 1976 and was International President 1979-1986, Honorary President 1986-1988 and was coordinator of the ICW Development Project Program until her retirement.
In the 1975 New Year Honours, Dell was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire for public services. In the 1980 New Year Honours, Dell was promoted to the rank of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Dell was or remains associated with the following organisations:
- the Anglican Church of New Zealand
- Wellington Airport Independent Review Panel
- National Museum Council
- Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Project Development Board
- National Council of Women
- Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women's Association
- New Zealand Federation of University Women
- The Commonwealth Foundation
- International Council of Women
- 1993 Suffrage Centennial Year Trust
- Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand (ECO)
- New Zealand Conservation Authority
- Wellington Conservation Board
- The International Who's Who of Women 2002 (3rd ed.). London: Europa Publications Limited. 2001. p. 135. ISBN 1857431227.
- Ruby Miriam Crawford - Diary National Library of New Zealand.
- Alan Beu, Bruce Marshall and Winston Ponder : Richard Kenneth ('Dick') Dell (1920–2002), obituary, bibliography and list of his taxa; Molluscan Research, 2003, 23, 85–99
- "New Year Honours List 1975" (9 January 1975) 1 The New Zealand Gazette 20.
- "New Year Honours 1980" (1 January 1980) 1 New Zealand Gazette 81.
- "Honours and Awards" (11 February 1993) 18 New Zealand Gazette 325 at 326.
- "The Order of New Zealand (instituted 1987)". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.