A celebration of the 125th anniversary of Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa, the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) was held in Wellington on 13 September 2022, deferred from last year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Hosted by Minister for Women, Hon Jan Tinetti, and sponsored by Countdown, the event took place in the Banquet Hall in Parliament and included presentations of NCWNZ Distinguished Service Awards. Photos and details about the event are below.
“It was obvious from the start as guests arrived, that all were very happy to be there, smiling and chatting, and looking forward to the event.” (Coreen Rodger). That set the tone for the evening, and the relaxed atmosphere as Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa – The National Council of Women of New Zealand celebrated 125 years of existence.
“Thank you also for organising the tour of parliament - it was interesting and focussing on the suffrage players and process was fascinating.” (Christine King). Te Paramata – Parliament were very supportive, and welcomed us wonderfully. From the specially organised tour beforehand, to the display of Suffrage and women-oriented artworks including sculpted busts of Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia and Kate Sheppard, to the mihi whakatau by Kura Moeahu and the welcome speech of our host, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti, to the “delicious nibbles and drinks”: it was all laid on for us.
We were entertained by Newlands Intermediate Rōpū i te Kapa Haka, and the energy that they showed was spellbinding, as was later mentioned by our keynote speaker Saunoamaali’I Karanina Sumeo, the EEO Commissioner. The students “loved the occasion and the opportunity to show off their talents.” (Angela Lowe, Principal).
The focus was then on NCWNZ and our past, present and future. Many commented on how much they learnt from the historic overview of NCWNZ as an organisation, and the work that we are doing now. “But most of all, it was the talented young women coming into NCWNZ who made the greatest impression!” (Jennifer Jameson).
As an opportunity to celebrate, of course there was cake, with the ceremonial cutting. There was also the opportunity to recognise five fabulous women with Distinguished Service Awards: Ana Maria de Vos Sanchez, Jan Brown, Christine King from Auckland, Correen Rodger from Dunedin, and Elizabeth Lee from Wellington.
The evening drew to a close with more talking with friends, those we’ve known for a while and those we’ve just met. The real treat was being able “to talk with members face to face and not over zoom.” (Margaret Sinclair-Jones). We agree wholeheartedly!
Thank you to everyone who helped organise the event – Bernice Williams’ name springs to mind – to those who supported it in some way, and to those who came to enjoy.
Ngā mihi nui ki a tātou.
Suzanne Manning, Proud-to-be-President-of-NCWNZ.