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July-August 2022, Issue 636

| Action Hubs | News | GenderEqual NZ |
Making gender equality, reality.

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Suzanne Manning, President NCWNZPresident's kōrero

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata!

This well-known whakatauki (proverb) asks the question “what is the most important thing in the world?” and answers, “it is people.” This wisdom deserves to be front-and-centre in all that we do.

We advocate for human rights to be applied to all people, not just a select few. We comment on the impact of policy decisions on people, reminding our MPs that they are the peoples’ representatives. The Board is also focusing on its people, by building a supportive team culture through training with LEAD, funded by the Lotteries Commission. We will be focusing on team building, and the roles and responsibilities of governance and leadership. We will then extend the training to other leaders in our organisation, with training in group dynamics, financial management and practical IT for branch presidents and Action Hub coordinating committees. We will provide more details are they are firmed up.

Our people strength is in our membership, and in the mahi that is being done in Action Hubs. It is now membership renewal time, and our collective success in encouraging members to renew or join will make the single biggest difference to whether we have a surplus or deficit at our financial year end on 31 March 2023. Please renew your membership by going online to and either paying by credit/debit card or filling in the form and paying using internet banking. You can also help by assisting other member who are less tech-savvy, by encouraging work colleagues and friends to join, or by ensuring your organisation has renewed as a member. Together we can make impact!

More members mean more people to get involved in the awesome mahi being planned and carried out within Action Hubs. As President, it is my pleasure and privilege to have the final approval of advocacy actions, whether it is a letter to the Associate Minister of Education requesting consent education to be mandatory, the involvement of our people with the Ministry of Health on developing the Women’s Health Strategy consultation document, or support for the petition to protect the rights of migrant sex workers. Adding our voice to other women-focused organisations, and amplifying the voices of our individual and organisational members, is how we are making a difference to policies that affect “he tāngata” – people (and in our case, emphasis on women and girls).

I would like to bring two upcoming events to your notice.

  • Our Annual General Meeting (AGM), scheduled for Sunday 16 October, 2.00 – 4.30 pm, via Zoom. We wish to present the annual report, which will be similar-but-different to the multiple reports to conference that have been done in the past. This combined report will be aimed at both internal and external audiences, a chance to take stock of what we did in the year from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, and to show others how much a group of women on a mission can achieve.
  • The International Council of Women and the NCWNZ Conferences will be held in Wellington in September 2023, hopefully around Suffrage Day (19 September). This conference will bring delegates from around the world, including the International President Martine Marandel and the ICW-CIF Board, and our Asia-Pacific sister councils. This is a rare opportunity, where you will be able to interact with dedicated feminists from around the world. We would like the event to have significant profile within Aotearoa, and to create impact around the kaupapa of gender equality. It will cost more than previous conferences (even if there were no other reason than the rising cost of food), so start now to find creative ways to support as many of you as possible to come together and take part.
    Ingot Scrap Metals flatbed truck and two workers
    Ingot Scrap Metals workers. Image courtesy of Suzanne Manning.

Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to the Good Guys at Ingot Scrap Metals, who came and took away the unneeded filing cabinets from our property in central Wellington (which still has one office to lease, if anyone is interested). Thanks so much for helping us out!


We need you there - put the AGM in your calendar!

NCWNZ Annual General Meeting

Sunday 16 October, 2.00 - 4.30 pm

via Zoom

NCWNZ Action Hubs

Fiona Te Momo, Massey University
Dr. Fiona Te Momo
Negar Partow, Massey University - LinkedIn
Dr. Negar Partow

On the 18th of July, the NCWNZ Education Action Hub hosted two vibrant speakers informing members about gender gaps in New Zealand academia. They were Associate Professor Dr. Fiona Te Momo (lecturer at the School of Māori Knowledge), and Dr. Negar Partow (senior lecturer in Security Studies), both from Massey University, Albany, New Zealand. Both also chair Ethics Committees at their universities.

Negar explained that the gender gap in universities generally is hundreds of years old, since originally universities were structured for men’s needs (Perez, 2019). Today, in New Zealand, men have more than double the chance than women to be promoted to professor status from a similar research baseline and have a $400,000 lifetime gender pay gap. Women are cited and published less than men, are not being included in research, and women employees are often delegated to pastoral and service work (Brower & James, 2020; Walker, Sin, Macinnis-Ng, Hannah, & McAllister, 2020). Negar suggested that to improve, universities need to focus on blind hiring, distance themselves from centralising the power of hiring and promotion in middle management, work around the ‘glass ceiling,’ facilitate women’s opportunities for networking and institute an independent process for monitoring workload and promotion processes.

Fiona stated that Māori women have a 65% lower chance of being promoted (McAllister, Kokaua, Naepi, Kidman, & Theodore, 2020). She emphasised that the workload for Māori women was further complicated by their often understated role to manage bicultural and cultural competency programmes in universities i.e. they have to fulfil double expectations as both non-Māori and Māori women (Stewart, 2021). She also referred to recent government statistics on pay gaps (StatsNZ, 2022), with New Zealand European women earning 9.1% less than males, while Māori and Pasifika rates fall significantly below New Zealand Europeans (10.1% and 14.4% respectively) and more so for their women (14% and 20.5% retrospectively).

Fiona identified that by speaking up, Māori women faced being classed as troublemakers, being isolated and patronised. Māori women could be intellectually disrespected for their areas of expertise and delegated to supportive roles or cultural duties. She saw slow future roads to change, using persistence, awareness-raising and female collaboration, stating “The troublemakers of today and the policy makers of tomorrow.”

Finally, Negar described a research initiative in which they planned to identify gender bias in research, using the minutes from ethics applications from the eight New Zealand universities from 2019-22, plus an anonymous survey to ethics committee members to ascertain gender bias. The presentations were followed by discussion.

Notes above and the following references gathered by Geraldine Anne McCarthy:

  • Brower, A., & James, A. (2020). Research performance and age explain less than half of the gender pay gap in New Zealand universities. PLoS One, 15(1) e0226392
  • McAllister, T. G., Kokaua, J., Naepi, S., Kidman, J., & Theodore, R. (2020). Glass ceilings in new Zealand universities: Inequities in Mäori and Pacific promotions and earnings. Mai: New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, 9(3), 272-285. DOI: 10.20507/MAIJournal.2020.9.3.8
  • Perez, C. C. (2019). Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men: Vintage.
  • StatsNZ. (2022). Gender and ethnic pay gaps: Stats NZ's action plan 2021/2022. Retrieved from
  • Stewart, G. T. (2021). Academic-Māori-woman: The impossible may take a little longer. In Routledge (Ed.), Educational Philosophy and Theory (pp. 1-6).
  • Walker, L., Sin, I. S., Macinnis-Ng, C., Hannah, K., & McAllister, T. (2020). Where to from here? Women remain absent from senior academic positions at Aotearoa New Zealand’s Universities. Education Sciences, 10(6), 152. doi:10.3390/educsci10060152

There is plenty of activity in the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Action Hub. An exciting development coming up is contributing to the Women’s Health Strategy emerged from the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill. Submissions continue to be a constant activity: preparing presenting, and monitoring legislation progress afterwards and we are grateful to Raewyn Stone who leads this work. Recent and upcoming submissions include the Birth Injuries Bill, Improving Surrogacy Laws, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Amendment Bill.

The Action Hub has two work stream areas:

  • maternal mental health, and
  • improving legislative protections against stalking and harassment.

Snip from website of Helen Clark Foundation - report for Āhurutia Te Rito - It takes a villageIn the mental health area, we are monitoring relevant legislation such as the Birth Injuries Bill and everything that affects maternal mental health. We are keeping a close connection with the work led by the Helen Clark Foundation on perinatal and maternal mental health policy in Aotearoa New Zealand: Āhurutia te Rito - It Takes a Village. Deputy Director Dr Holly Walker of the Helen Clark Foundation wrote a summary document to help guide conversations on this topic: "Āhurutia Te Rito - It takes a village, Summary of Policy Implications" (May 2022) - you can download the .pdf file here.

There is a surge of interest and support to improve the laws and enhance protection for people against online stalking and harassment. We are engaging in developments in this work with Netsafe (New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation) and with groups who want to improve and strengthen protections.

We meet every other month by Zoom. The Action Hub Committee and the workstreams groups meet in-between to progress their work. We are particularly keen to increase the number of people who prepare, write and present submissions. We are starting some training on this area in conjunction with the Parliamentary Watch Committee. We want to improve our communications and welcome those skills to the Action Hub.

Please connect with us if you want to join the Action Hub, get active and support the mahi.

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi
With your basket and my basket, the people will thrive

by Eileen Brown, Convenor, Safety Health and Wellbeing Action Hub
[email protected]


N.B. Any member can join one or more Action Hubs - sign in to your account on the website and fill out the sign-up form here.

Some of what's happening at local branches

The local branch of NCWNZ at Whanganui commissioned a window honoring women's rights activists Ellen Ballance, Margaret Bullock, and Jessie Williamson. The window also includes the NCWNZ logo and the white camelia associated with the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand. This art piece is one of twenty-five windows displayed in the District Council Chambers, depicting the Whanganui story - Nga Korero Hitoro o te Hapori. The work was designed and crafted by painter Julie Greig and glass artist Greg Hall.

The local branch of NCWNZ at Whanganui commissioned a window honoring women's rights activists Ellen Ballance, Margaret Bullock, and Jessie Williamson. This art piece is one of twenty-five windows displayed in the District Council Chambers, depicting the Whanganui story - Nga Korero Hitoro o te Hapori. The work was designed and crafted by painter Julie Greig and glass artist Greg Hall.

Whanganui NCWNZ and commemorative suffrage window June 2022
Artist Greg Hall, rear, with NCWNZ members anti-clock wise from him, Lynda Sammons, Joan Sullivan, Jo Power, Jenny Saywood, Margaret Campion, Sheryn Robertson, Judy Stein and Helma Vermeulen. Photo by Leigh Mitchell-Anyon also published in the Whangaui Chronicle and used here with permission.

The window features three Whanganui women who were members of the Whanganui Women’s Franchise League (later renamed the Women's Political League) which coordinated locally the campaign for women's suffrage.

  • Ellen Ballance (née Anderson; 1846 – 1935) was the inaugural president of the Whanganui Women's Franchise League in June 1893. She was also a vice-president of the Women's Progressive Society in London.
  • Margaret Bullock (née Carson; 1845 - 1903) worked at the Whanganui Chronicle as one of the first women parliamentary correspondents. She was vice president of the league until Ellen Ballance left for England, and was then president from 1893 until 1897. She was national vice president in 1900 of the NCWNZ.
  • Jessie Marguerite Williamson (née McAllan; 1855?–1937) was a founding member of the Franchise League then became treasurer in 1896, and either president or secretary from 1897 until 1903. 1897 NCW conference she was made NCWNZ recording secretary in 1897 and national treasurer in 1898.

The window was commissioned due to a bequest from a former NCWNZ member Wynne Costley who dedicated most of her life to the well being of women. She joined NCWNZ in 1966 and over the years she attended numerous NCWNZ conferences, the last being the 1996 Centennial Conference in Christchurch.

For Further Reading:

Bronwyn Labrum. 'Bullock, Margaret', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1993. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,

Bronwyn Labrum. 'Williamson, Jessie Marguerite', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1993. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand,

"Ellen Ballance," Wikipedia,

Bronwyn Labrum, "Wanganui Women's Political League 1893 – c.1902" New Zealand History (essay first published in 1993),

Taiwanese Women's Association of New Zealand event 4 July 2022On July 4 2022, Betty Ofe-Grant (NCWNZ Board member), Joy Williams (President of Auckland NCW branch) and a few other Auckland NCW members attended the "Keep Earth Green with Love" event hosted by the Taiwanese Women’s Association of New Zealand (TWANZ), a national member organisation of the NCWNZ. TWANZ President Huang Mamei led the event which included Director Chen Yongshao and Founding President Chen Ziying.

Logo for Taiwanese Women's Association of New Zealand - snipped from FacebookThe event celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Overseas Chinese Committee and the 22nd anniversary of the Taiwanese Women’s Association of New Zealand.

Also in attendance were Auckland Councillor (Howick Ward) Paul Young, Auckland Councillor (Manukau Ward) and Mayoral candidate Fa’anana Efeso Collins, President Julia Clements of the NZ Vegetarian Society, and Regional Manager Pene Frost of the Stand Children’s Services.

It is of cause for concern that at present there are so few women nominations for the upcoming Council elections in Palmerston North. At present there are seven women and eight men on the Council, but three women are not standing again for election this year. To highlight this issue, the National Council of Women (NCW) Manawatu Branch held a meeting on 3 July in the Palmerston North City Council library to encourage participation in the elections. 

Event at Palmerston North City Council library 3 July 2022
Event panel members (l-r) Aleisha Rutherford, Lorna Johnson, Leone Hapeta,
and Janine Rankin. Image from Anne McCarthy.

The panel session entitled "Playing your part in local politics: Women on the Palmerston North City Council" featured senior reporter Janine Rankin from the Manawatu Standard and three Palmerston North councillors: Aleisha Rutherford (deputy mayor), Lorna Johnson, and Leone Hapeta. After their introductions, Barbara Arnold from NCW Manawatu interviewed panelists on the influence of their gender on their work, attitudes to work and relationships with the local Council and community members. Open discussion followed and led to afternoon refreshments.

From time to time opportunities have been provided by the City Council for members of the public to contribute to matters that are of importance to us all. Examples that come to mind include ‘Three Waters’ and The Alcohol Policy. Even if there is reduced representation of women on the Council, it is hoped that women will respond to the opportunities given to speak and find ways to ensure that the voices of women are heard.

125th Birthday Celebrations NCWNZ

A few days ahead of Suffrage Day this year, we will at last be able to celebrate the 125th birthday of Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa, NCWNZ.

Deferred from last year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, we look forward to marking this special occasion for our organisation.

There will be entertainment and refreshments. And there will be birthday cake!

Hosted by Minister for Women, Hon Jan Tinetti, the evening is an opportunity to look back and acknowledge the phenomenal efforts of the women who persevered in their quest to gain rights wrongfully withheld from women, and to obtain access to positions in society that women of Aotearoa New Zealand enjoy today.

In her presentation, NCWNZ President, Dr Suzanne Manning will reflect on the rich history of the organisation, the key issues and individuals and many members who have served NCWNZ over the past 125+ years.

The women of the 1903 delegation to Premier Seddon to urge the right for women to sit in Parliament, to serve as justices of the peace, and to receive equal pay for equal work would marvel at the current situation, where the country is being led by its third woman Prime Minister, and where women have long been able to serve as both Members of Parliament and Justices of the Peace.

Summarised by Dr Dorothy Page in her wonderful history of NCWNZ’s first 100 years, “Seddon’s reaction at the time was patronising and dismissive. In relation to political disabilities, he drew attention to the disability which, he said, not society but Nature itself had imposed on women, by making them physically weaker than the ‘Lords of Creation.’ He denied the validity of the case for equal pay, referring to women’s paid work as a preliminary to their proper role in marriage, when they would be cared for financially by a husband. As for becoming justices of the peace, women were too emotional to serve in this capacity.”

The birthday celebration also provides an opportunity to look forward, to acknowledge NCWNZ’s capacity to be dynamic and adaptable and remain relevant in the 21st century. In her presentation, NCWNZ Board Member, Dr Betty Ofe-Grant will summarise recent developments and current initiatives being undertaken by the organisation.

A great deal of NCWNZ’s history has had a focus on creating policy resolutions, which have formed the basis of submissions to governments of the day, and records show some of these have become perennial issues. The matter of equal pay is one such abiding issue. NCWNZ’s Book of Resolutions reveals the organisation resolved in 1897, “That in all cases where men and women are engaged in the same work either in the employment of Government or of private individuals, equal wage should be paid for equal work.” This same resolution was reiterated in 1900, 1901, 1902, and the chapter devoted to Employment Equity has continued with resolutions on the same subject expanded and reworded through the decades and across three centuries, including the 2018 resolution: “That NCWNZ supports legislation that provides for the implementation, monitoring and effective enforcement of pay and employment equity. This includes:

  • Equal Pay: equal pay for the same or similar work,
  • Pay Equity: equal pay for work of equal value, and
  • Employment Equity: to ensure that pay, conditions, access to the full range of jobs at all levels of the workplace, and experiences in the workplace, are not affected by gender.”

In light of this key issue of Equal Pay spanning the organisation’s history, it is fitting that the evening’s keynote speaker will be Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo.

Kate Sheppard bust - National Library
Bust of Kate Sheppard in National Library, Wellington. Image courtesy of Kerri duPont.

The birthday party provides an ideal forum to celebrate and honour individuals who have given dedicated service to the organisation. Five long-serving NCWNZ members will be presented with a Distinguished Service Award by NCWNZ’s patron, Rt Hon Helen Clark (TBC). 

Parliament’s curatorial team has planned bespoke suffrage-themed art tours of the Parliament precinct and a fabulous display for us in the Banquet Hall. These will include objects and artworks that reflect themes of women’s rights, suffrage, women’s firsts, and artefacts from notable New Zealand women. We will also be some of the first people to view the recently created bust of Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, a key wahine Māori figure in women’s suffrage and Māori politics.

The icing on the cake will be the presence at Parliament of the companion Kate Sheppard bust. Sincere thanks to the National Library team for arranging and generously funding the secure transport of the Kate Sheppard bust to Parliament for us to enjoy at our event. This will be the first time the two busts have been displayed together.

Many thanks also to Countdown for their generous sponsorship of the evening.

We look forward to sharing the special occasion of NCWNZ’s 125th with our members, guests, and supporters.

By Bernice Williams,
125 Celebrations Planning Committee

Focus on a National Member Organisation

Portrait of Betty Loughhead c1990
Betty Loughhead wearing the korowai, Te Amo Oranga Nui Ki Te Ao, made by Whero Bailey (Te Atiawa) in 2003 with blue and gold feathers, the Soroptimist colours.

One of NCWNZ's organisational members is the Soroptimist International of Aotearoa New Zealand (SIANZ). Soroptimist International was founded in 1921 and its motto is "A Global Voice for Women."  According to their website: "The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin soror meaning sister, and optima meaning best. And so Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as ‘the best for women’." The first Soroptimist club in New Zealand was chartered in Wellington in November 1939. Within ten years clubs were established in Auckland and Christchurch, and in 1978, the New Zealand clubs joined in the founding of the Federation of the South West Pacific (SISWP) with eleven other countries in the region. One of five Federations globally, SISWP recently changed its name to Soroptimist International South East Asia Pacific. This was to reflect the thirteen countries in their Federation. SIANZ club numbers are now 20 with the recent charter of a young club, Soroptimist International Rangatahi Wellington.

Betty Loughhead joined Soroptimist International of Christchurch in 1951 and held office at all levels. She served on the Conference of Clubs of which she was Chair in 1967-69 and was President of the Soroptimists Clubs of the South West Pacific 1980 – 82. She served as a member of the International Board from 1979 – 1983. It was about this time Betty moved to the Wellington club.

In 1983 Betty began her two year term as President, Soroptimist International. She was the first New Zealander to achieve this position and many New Zealand Soroptimists attended her inauguration in Istanbul.

Soroptimist Rose
The Soroptimist Rose

During 1991 to 1995 Betty was the Editor of the International Soroptimist magazine. Betty was made an honorary member of all clubs in the South West Pacific Federation.

The Betty Loughhead Scholarship was set up in her name in 1987 to honor the first International President by a Soroptimist from the South West Pacific. Clubs throughout Aotearoa New Zealand continue to contribute to the fund. It provides a national scholarship for women over 25 studying for a qualification to enter or re-enter the workforce, or changing occupations. See more about the scholarship on their website:

Over the decades $200,000 has been given in grants to 92 women. The trust is still going strong to this day and has enabled many women to have an opportunity to obtain a "second chance" education.

In 2014 Betty Loughhead Turland MBE, JP, passed away. She left behind a wonderful legacy of an illustrious and busy life with Soroptimism, regionally, nationally and internationally.


Blue sky thinking - what would achieving gender equality mean?

Every two years the National Council of Women partners with Research NZ to undertake a comprehensive survey of gender attitudes in Aotearoa New Zealand. Across the three surveys so far (2017, 2019 and 2021), up to 42% of the respondents indicated they believed that gender equality has for the most part been achieved in New Zealand. This grand statement deserves more scrutiny. For example, the male respondents tended to show they were more optimistic about this than the female respondents. What would one expect to see and/or experience if gender equality had been achieved? It's worth revisiting some of the results of the Gender Attitudes Survey 2021

On page 41 of the 2021 Gender Attitudes report, you will find Table 15. This chart examines the results by gender of the survey respondents regarding their agreement of particular outcomes from "achieving gender equality." The survey asked respondents to imagine what it would mean to New Zealand if gender equality had been achieved, and they then rated each statement presented. In this scenario, more than 50% respondents agreed with every statement, and the highest rating in agreement with 75% of those answering the question (rating with a 4 or 5 out of 5) came with the statement regarding equal pay. The next two statements with high percentage of agreement was that achieving gender equality would mean that New Zealand would see more equal sharing of childcare responsibilities and that women would have improved job/career opportunities (both at 68% respondent agreement). However, here again the gender of the respondents makes a big difference. Take a look.

Table 15 Gender Attitude Survey Report 2021 p.41

Overall, female and non-binary respondents recorded higher levels of agreement than male respondents in relation to each statement. See for example, 83% female respondents agreed that, if gender equality had been agreed in New Zealand, women in employment would receive the same pay as men (compared with 68% for male respondents). 

However, scrutinizing the answers to this set of statements to see groupings by ethnicity offers more complexity. We cannot assume that women experience the world all the same way. The researchers reported on page 43 that Māori and Pasifika tended to have less affinity than Pākehā with the specific statements overall. When imagining how gender equality might demonstrate that women were equal to men in New Zealand, the issue of equal pay for example was less an indicator of gender equality for those respondents who identified as Māori, Pasifika, and Asian. 

Table 17 Gender Attitude Survey 2021, page 43

For Māori, "equal sharing of childcare responsibilities between men and women" seemed more likely an expression of gender equality. In addition, Māori tended to see having improved access to healthcare (and abortion services), valuing unpaid work, and more elected officials in Parliament as evidence of gender equality. All the other prescribed statements skewed toward a NZ European/Pākehā perspective.

These two charts together deserve discussion and understanding how the work of women's activism may be expressed in different ways in order to be inclusive. A more nuanced understanding of what we might mean by women, their experiences and world views -- one that takes into account not only gender but also ethnicity -- is warranted.

Readings to consider

WILPF logo

PODCAST - Think & Resist: Conversations about Feminism and Peace
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) offers a podcast called "Think & Resist: Conversations about Feminist and Peace." The series are written and co-hosted by Zarin Hamid, Genevieve Riccoboni, and Allison Pytlak. You can listen to the eight episodes (offered on seven different platforms, May-July 2022) featuring a wide range of leading feminist scholars and activists. The podcast series explores themes at the intersection of global security challenges and gender inequality. The co-hosts hope that in future podcasts in the series they will feature candid conversations with people who are affected by and those directly trying to make change happen.

celebration-separator.jpgLogo for Spiral Productions CollectiveIn June 2022 Spiral Collectives of Aotearoa New Zealand celebrated the publication of the eBook i do not cede by their founder Heather McPherson (1942 – 2017). The poetry collection was edited and introduced by poet Emer Lyons. It was almost exactly 40 years since Spiral published Heather’s first collection A Figurehead: A Face (1982). The chapbook is 26 pages long and offers some of the poems to be included in Dirty Laundry: New and Selected Poems, a major collection of Heather's work due 2024. The launch celebration was led by Renée (Ngati Kahungunu/Scot) ONZM and you can read more about it here at a post on Medium. The post includes a link to a recording of Heather giving a reading at the Women's Gallery in 1980.

Milestones: Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House

Kate Sheppard House 2021 snipped from GoogleMaps images
Kate Sheppard House. Image from GoogleMaps, 2021.

1888. Walter and Kate Sheppard built an eight-room kauri and slate-roofed villa on their two acres purchased in 1887. The address is 83 Clyde Road, and the village was built in a rural suburb of Christchurch called Fendalton. It was located on the same street as properties owned by Kate's brother Frank Malcolm and her sisters Isabel May and Marie Beath. Today, the suburb is now called Ilam, and the historic site borders the University of Canterbury.

1891. Kate began regularly reporting on the women's suffrage movement through the women's page in The Prohibitionist, published by the Sydenham Prohibition League. Since 1887 Kate had served as the national superintendent for the department of Franchise and Legislation for the Women's Christian Temperance Union of New Zealand – the first national organisation established by and run specifically by women. Together with her sister Isabel, she had been using her home as an office for their shared interests in women's rights activism.

1893. At her dining room table in this house, one of the women's suffrage petition rolls was pasted together before it was sent to the House of Representatives in Wellington. This particular roll contained almost 32,000 signatures. Here in the garden, Kate received a telegram on 19 September 1893 informing her of the reform of the Electoral Law in which women won the right to vote in general elections.

1895. As the founding editor, Kate led the effort to publish the first issue of The White Ribbon, the official organ of the Women's Christian Temperance Union of New Zealand. She collected at her home all the WCTUNZ branch reports and edited temperance stories, health advice, as well as compiled reports from delegations to government ministers, from public meetings.

1896. Kate was elected president of the newly created National Council of Women of New Zealand at the inaugural conference held in Christchurch. Perhaps the convention's garden party (details of which were not recorded) was held at her home.

1902. Kate and Walter went with their son Douglas to live in England, and the house was sold on 3 April to John Joseph Dougall, a city councillor who was later elected Mayor of Christchurch.

1993. In honour of the centenary of women's suffrage in New Zealand, a group of Christchurch women (including those in the NCWNZ local branch) established two memorials to Sheppard: the Kate Sheppard National Memorial, on the banks of the Avon River, and the Kate Sheppard Memorial Trust Award, an annual award to women seeking further education, study, research or training in areas which are of value in the community.

2002. Gavin McLean’s book, 100 Historic Places in New Zealand, included the Kate Sheppard House as #66 in his list of historic places to visit.

2010. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga assigned the site as a Category 1 historic place on the Heritage New Zealand List/Rārangi Korero 

2015. Christchurch City Council crafted a Heritage Assessment report and included the site as part of their District Heritage Plan.

2018. The Crown purchased the house and gardens (4321 square metres and which by then included a tennis court, swimming pool, stream and artisan well) for $4.5 million. The previous owners admitted they had no idea of the site's historical importance.

2019. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga (HNZPT) began caring for the house and gardens. The government commissioned LOC Construction Ltd. to begin work on the site. They also worked with public history experts and the Building Intelligence Group to convert the front four rooms and hallway of the house, which contain the most intact heritage fabric, to feature as a high-quality visitor attraction. In the rest of the house, a partnership between the University of Canterbury and HNZPT will use the site for seminars and presentations as well as academic research.

2020. The Kate Sheppard House museum was officially opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on 15 December. The ceremony included Sheppard’s great-great-great nieces Barbara Bowie and Christine Kershaw. Today the Kate Sheppard House is recognised as a Learning Destination with Children's University Australasia.

2022. Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House won silver in the Heritage and Restoration category of the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards. The winners included LOC Construction Limited, and their project partners - Modello Architecture limited (Architect/Designer), Ruamoko Solutions (Engineer), and The Building Intelligence Group (Contract Management).

Stories to celebrate

CEDAW logoFrom 1.00 – 3.00 am (not a misprint) on Tuesday 5 July, NCWNZ Parliamentary Watch Committee Convenor Beryl Anderson and President Suzanne Manning attended the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 84 Pre-Sessional Working Group hosted in Geneva, via Zoom. The meeting was chaired by Franceline Toé-Bouda, the committee member from Burkina Faso, who spoke in French. Translation was available (although it took both Suzanne and Beryl a while to find out how to access the translation).

The non-government organisations (NGOs) from countries who will be reporting to CEDAW in 2023 were attending to give an oral presentation in support of their written submissions on their List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LoIPR). These issues guide the CEDAW Monitoring Committee in their questioning of each country’s government during the reporting sessions. The LoIPR for Aotearoa New Zealand was formed collaboratively by NCWNZ with our organizational members and other women's organisations.

We had five minutes maximum to present, so we carefully prepared and timed our oral presentation. The other NGOs presenting in the same session also prepared carefully, and we heard the issues from Iceland, Montenegro, Philippines, Rwanda, and Venezuela. All the CEDAW support people had to do was get the technology right, and there seemed to be difficulties with that!

The major issues that all the countries faced were:

  • a lack of gender perspective by the government;
  • violence against women;
  • women's access to appropriate health care, especially reproductive health care (contraception and abortion); and,
  • intersectional gender discrimination.

Following the NGOs, the national Human Rights institutions of Aotearoa New Zealand and Monaco presented their issues. Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, spoke very well for Aotearoa, and it was pleasing to see that her list was similar to ours (see all the LoIPR submissions from New Zealand on the UN website here).

The CEDAW Committee had questions for some NGOs, around providing evidence of their startling statistics, and for the Monaco Human Rights person who was quizzed on why there were no NGO reports. Such questions show the emphasis of the CEDAW Committee on gathering objective and subjective evidence from a number of different sources, in order to produce their monitoring report and recommendations.

NCWNZ will work in a collaborative way to produce the alternative report for the CEDAW reporting session next year.

celebration separator gold

Aleisha Amohia, LinkedIn profile picture, 2022At the NCWNZ Conference 2022, Aleisha Amohia, NCWNZ Wellington Branch President (photo at right), presented an "Introduction to Te Tiriti o Waitangi" workshop. The workshop aimed to introduce Te Tiriti through a brief teaching of its history and articles, and offer a discussion for attendees to understand how it could be applied to our lives and mahi. Download the slides (.pdf file) here. Please contact Aleisha Amohia and/or Ashlee Metcalfe at [email protected] before sharing the slides with anyone else.

This session was in line with NCWNZ policy passed in 2018 to acknowledge and honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

2.11.3 That NCWNZ is committed to the rights and obligations articulated in Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding documents of Aotearoa. NCWNZ demonstrates a visible and tangible commitment to honouring the tikanga of tangata whenua and ensuring the fulfilment of rights and responsibilities of both Tiriti partners.

The text from the slides is reproduced below.

Article One - Kāwanatanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Kāwanatanga is a nominal and delegated authority that gave the queen control of her people. Article One confirms that Rangatira (Chiefs) agreed to the British having a Governor to exercise Kāwanatanga over British people.

The right to govern is qualified by an obligation to protect Māori interests.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Ensuring NCWNZ embraces te reo Māori and tikanga Māori, so that NCWNZ spaces reflect the bicultural foundation of Aotearoa.

Partnering with Māori organisations, such as Māori Women's Welfare League, to ensure there is more wāhine Māori input into our decisions and submissions.

Building up membership at NCWNZ so there are more to share the load, to prevent our Māori members (and members representing other minority groups) from being overworked.

Co-governance in the form of a Māori Co-President on the Board.

Article Two - Tino Rangatiratanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Tino Rangatiratanga is understood to mean absolute authority over lands, settlements and all that was and is valuable to Māori (taonga).

It is self-determination - the right to exerise authority in respect to one's own affairs.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Being inclusive of Māori in our membership, including inviting representation from Māori Women's Welfare League.

Continuing to grow our understanding, as a collective and as individual members, of Aotearoa's history and issues relating to Māori. Identifying opportunities to learn and amplify the voices of wāhine Māori and Māori groups.

Article Three - Ōritetanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Ōritetanga means equity. The Crown promised to Māori the benefits of royal protection and full citizenship. This article guarantees equity between Māori and all New Zealand peoples.

As long as socio-economic disparities remain for Māori, we have not fulfilled the obligations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Acknowledging the many systemic and structural inequities that exist for Māori, and acknowledging we have a role to play in correcting them. Starts with NCWNZ walking the walk, and making real progress on that policy we made in 2018.

Employing systems and references in every NCWNZ process, document and policy that creates space for our Indigenous members to embrace ancestral practices and mātauranga Māori.

Fostering a safe space to learn from mistakes, educate each other, and do better. Tāngata Tiriti members stepping up to support and share the burden placed on Māori members to do this mahi.

Creating and sharing tangible resources, tools, and information, so Branches can make progress locally. Developing success criteria so we can measure our progress.

Being open to implementing tikanga Māori etc., such as referring to the Māori lunar calendar (maramataka), using karakia and te reo Māori, more waiata, kai at hui, storytelling and discussion.

Article Four - Wairuatanga

In Te Tiriti o Waitangi, what does this mean?

Wairuatanga is spirituality.

The failure to engage with wairuatanga also represents a potential breach of Te Tiriti, which guarantees religious freedom in the broad sense - requiring our recognition and respect for Indigenous principles, and willingness to uphold and support Indigenous practices.

What this could mean for NCWNZ?

Gaining deeper understandings of the socio-political context and the impacts of intergenerational trauma and colonisation on Māori. Spending more time at Branch Meetings discussing this.

Actively listening and proactively learning.

Doing karakia, and discussing what it means.

Recognising there are different kinds of spirituality and encouraging members to embrace whatever that might mean for them.

Getting to know each other better, understanding where our members come from.

Next steps

As tāngata whenua and tāngata tiriti, we all have a role to play to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. To truly achieve gender equity in Aotearoa, NCWNZ must acknowledge and honour the document that allowed us all to be here, at all stages of our movement.

NCWNZ members have an opportunity now to take what they’ve learned about Te Tiriti and begin applying it in their Branches, in their workplaces, and in their lives.

Further learning


The Honorables Jan Tinetti and Priyanca Radhakrishnan announced recently that for the first time in New Zealand history, women's representation on public sector boards and committees is at the highest levels ever. Now at 52.5% representation, women are bringing forward new voices and diverse lived experiences that "can only be of benefit to the organisation the board is governing," says Minister for Women Tinetti.

Read more from the press release at the Beehive website:

Dates to note for September-October 2022

4 September 2022: World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) World Sexual Health Day

5 September 2022: UN's International Day of Charity

7 September 2022: UN's International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

8 September 2022: UNESCO's International Day of Literacy

10 September 2022: International Association for Suicide Prevention and the WHO's World Suicide Prevention Day

13 September 2022: NCWNZ 125th Birthday Celebration, Wellington

17 September 2022: World Cleanup Day and kick off for New Zealand's National Cleanup Week

18 September 2022: UN's International Equal Pay Day

21 September 2022: UN's International Day of Peace

23 September 2022: UN's International Day of Sign Languages

24 September 2022: Ancestor's Day (Pchum Ben)

26 September 2022: UN's International Day of Peace for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

28 September 2022: UN's International Day for Universal Access to Information

29 September 2022: World Maritime Day, theme is 'New technologies for greener shipping'

1 October 2022: UN's International Day of Older Persons

10 October 2022: WHO's World Mental Health Day; also Australasian Railway Association’s New Zealand Rail conference at the Hilton Auckland

11 October 2022: UN's International Day of the Girl Child

15 October 2022: UN's Rural Women's Day

16 October 2022: FAO's World Food Day: Leave No One Behind

17 October 2022: UN's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

24 October 2022: NZ holiday celebration of Labour Day; also, first day of UN's Global Media and Information Literacy Week

27 October - 14 November: Diwali Festival of Lights

Have you renewed your NCWNZ Membership?

If you've not yet renewed your NCWNZ membership for 2022 - 2023, please take a few minutes to do this now. Read more here on the NCWNZ website:

Quotation to ponder

Hope is energy.
Hope is a group project.
And we have work to do.
- Salena Godden

The Circular is the official organ of The National Council of Women of New Zealand. This newsletter is archived at The National Library of New Zealand (ISSN 2815-8644).