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July-August 2023, Issue 642

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

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Table of Contents

  1. President’s kōrero
  2. Introducing Rayane Al-Faraj, new NCWNZ intern
  3. NCWNZ Governance Training Day
  4. Gender Apartheid Roundtable
  5. NCWNZ collaborations depend on us
  6. Parental leave for directors – an issue of equity
  7. Some of what's happening at local branches: Manukau
  8. Milestones: Wāhine and Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  9. NCWNZ Action Hubs
  10. Resources to share in meetings and with your networks
  11. Readings to consider
  12. Stories to celebrate
  13. Dates to note for July & August 2023
  14. Quotation to ponder
  15. Whakataukī to share


Suzanne Manning October 2022
Suzanne Manning,
NCWNZ President

President's kōrero

Tēnā tātou e hoa mā, ngā mihi ki a koutou.

It is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week coming up on 11-17 September, and I would encourage you all to learn some new kupu (words) and put them into practice during the week and beyond. Check out our NCWNZ social media, we will be acknowledging this special week.

In fact, our Communications Team are in overdrive at the moment. This time of the year is always so busy for NCWNZ, especially in an election year. Yet this is also the time when we make Impact, with a capital “I”.

Some of the things that the Comms team is trying to tell the world about:

  • The launch of the Gender Attitudes Survey, coming soon.
  • Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and NCWNZ’s commitment to this kaupapa (purpose).
  • Suffrage Day on 19 September – the 130th Anniversary (“Are we there yet?” – ah, not quite…).
  • Policy Questions that NCWNZ Action Hubs think are the most urgent for political parties who want to be in government, along with the answers political parties have provided. (See the press release and download the answers here:
  • The Education Action Hub’s report on Consent Education in Schools. (See the Circular article about this initiative and download the report here:
  • The International Action Hub’s webinar on Feminist Foreign Policy on 13 September (be in quick for your ticket at

Planning for the online AGM on Saturday 23 September at 10 am is progressing well. The papers are now available through the Members Hub of the NCWNZ website – remember you need to be a financial member and have a login for the website to access these papers and to vote. The financial review is in its final stages and we will get the reviewed financial statements to members very soon.

In amongst all this, the background work of the organisation continues. The Board has multiple projects they are working on, as are Action Hubs, as are Branches. Ka mau te wehi (awesome work)! At the same time, please take care as volunteers to look after yourselves and the other volunteers you work with. Sometimes our passion raises our expectations of ourselves and others to unrealistic levels. In the words of our former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, “let’s be kind”.

Ka kite anō (see you again),


Introducing Rayane Al-Faraj, new NCWNZ intern

Rayene Al-Faraj, Wellington 2023Kia ora! My name is Rayane Al-Faraj; I am the new intern for NCWNZ. I am both French and Jordanian, and I came all the way from the South of France, where I am studying political science in a university called Sciences Po Toulouse.

This is the first time I have travelled that far, and I am doing this to work as a board administrator for NCWNZ. Therefore, I will be joining them until mid-December, and I am beyond excited to be a part of this amazing organisation.

I am going abroad as part of my degree requirements, and after this semester in New Zealand, I am going to Seoul as an exchange student. One of my dreams is to travel all around the world, and I am really excited for this experience. As for my hobbies, I'm very interested in art in all its forms, such as painting, theatre and dance, and I love discovering how art is influenced by a culture. In practice, however, I'm more into sport, having recently taken up football.

Icon for pronouncing Rayane's nameI am looking forward to meeting the volunteers from all around Aotearoa and to being a part of the different projects and events that are going to take place. I have already had occasions to meet some inspiring and hard-working people. As a (maybe) future project manager in an NGO, I admire how you carry values of diversity and inclusivity within the organisation, but beyond that in everyday life. I find the country’s commitment to social justice and inclusivity really impressive, and I can’t wait to learn more about the history and culture of Aotearoa.

I am truly grateful for this opportunity, and looking forward to having this experience.

Ngā mihi nui,
Rayane Al-Faraj
NCWNZ Board Administrator

NCWNZ Governance Training Day

On Saturday 12 August, the Wellington NCWNZ office hosted a “governance for non-profit organisations” training. This was a new initiative, designed to support candidates to apply for the NCWNZ Aspiring Board member role.*

The seven participants were individual members or from NCWNZ affiliated organisations, and the grant from Lotteries MDF which has provided other governance training for NCWNZ enabled us to pay for them all to travel to Wellington for the day. The training was facilitated by Sandy Thompson from LEAD, who has been working with us for over a year now.

NCWNZ governance training 2023

The Board of NCWNZ and participants at the governance training day.

The focus of the training was about the key functions of boards. Participants learned the importance of NGOs in democracy, the value added by having a board in an organisation, and the main responsibilities that come with the board. The training gave useful tips on how to manage responsibilities and take decisions while defending values. The atmosphere was welcoming, very friendly, and at times very loud, as they learnt from each other’s experiences of volunteering in an organisation.

NCWNZ governance training exercise
Team exercise: How hard can it be to put this small pole on the ground?

After a studious morning followed by shared kai, it was time to get to know more about NCWNZ and each other. This included team exercises using the iconic Stuff online quiz (finding that instructions were unclear so different teams did different quizzes) and manipulating wooden poles. There was also a presentation and discussion about NCWNZ, and the opportunity to watch Nina Santos’s video that she sent from Paris (Nina is the current Aspiring Board member). The final session role modelled good governance behaviour by gathering feedback and having an evaluation of the day.

Rayane Al Faraj, our new intern Board administrator, attended the day despite it being her fourth day in the country! Her comment about the day was “it was a great day, very enriching and fun. This session was a great opportunity for different people that have the same interests to meet in a convivial way. We all learned a lot from each other’s experience. It also permitted to help us to get tools to achieve our ambitions and gain experience.”

* The Aspiring Board member role is for someone with little or no governance experience, and the post was created by NCWNZ members for the purpose of providing women with the opportunity to gain such experience. It is a one-year appointed position in a Board governance role with full rights and responsibilities, while being supported by the other Board members.

Gender Apartheid Roundtable

On Wednesday 23 August, the Iranian Solidarity Group Aotearoa New Zealand held a policy roundtable discussion at Parliament and online, on the topic of the living conditions of Iranian and Afghan women and the use of the term ‘gender apartheid’. NCWNZ President Suzanne Manning was an invited speaker, and she attended in person along with Rayane Al Faraj, Board administrator intern. Carol Beaumont, Board member, and Julie Thomas, Parliamentary Watch Committee member, attended online.

Gender Apartheid roundtable August 2023 flyer

Forough Amin, from the Iranian Solidarity Group NZ and founder of Iranian Women NZ Charitable Trust, started the discussion by stating that gender oppression exists all around the world because of the patriarchal system. However, the situation in Iran and Afghanistan is different: in these countries, the oppression women face is systematically enforced by the State and the law, which makes it extremely violent and difficult to combat. Hence, the Iranian Solidarity Group NZ seek to have the international community name the gender oppression in Iran and Afghanistan as ‘gender apartheid’ and to encourage collective action against it.

The second speaker, Gregory Fortuin, former Race Relations Commissioner, spoke of his experience in South Africa during racial apartheid. He explained how the term ‘apartheid’ has a strong and violent meaning, because of the history behind it. Drawing similarities between the situation of women in Iran and Afghanistan with that of black and coloured people in South Africa from 1948-1991, he argued that the term gender apartheid is appropriate to describe what women are facing and should be used to highlight the violence of the situation.

This point was enforced by Gissou Nia, human rights lawyer from the US, speaking of the importance of the international community recognizing gender apartheid. This is a goal of the organisation End Gender Apartheid, who want gender apartheid to be made a crime against humanity in international law. Some progress has been made, especially since the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, an Iranian woman killed by the morality police, which put a global spotlight on the country’s discriminatory framework. There is still a long way to go.

Margaret Wilson, Professor of law and public policy and former Speaker of Parliament, explained that the idea behind the codification of gender apartheid is to criminalise any control and domination of women. The main issue in New Zealand is to get the Parliament’s support in both its foreign and domestic policy. While obtaining domestic support involves providing education about gender apartheid, a foreign policy would involve seeking an international convention or law that would recognize the criminalisation of gender apartheid.

Suzanne Manning outlined the history of women gaining the vote, a global project led during the late 1800s, with different countries using different tactics. The goal of suffrage for women was achieved through collective action and gaining allies in positions of power. New Zealand has a special reputation internationally as the first country to grant women the right to vote at the national level and is seen as a leader in gender equality. We need to use this reputation to speak out against gender apartheid. Governments and NGOs have different but complementary roles in this task and should collaborate to provide strong support for women’s resistance in the face of oppression in their own countries.

Finally, during a Q&A session, attendees heard an inspiring first-hand account of the ongoing resistance of women and minority groups in the face of oppression in Iran and Afghanistan.

Gender Apartheid Roundtable

Get on out there! Whether you are a member of a local NCWNZ branch or of an NCWNZ Action Hub, we rely on you to help with collaborations across organisations with a similar mission to get things done at the local, regional and national levels. As stated in the NCWNZ 2020 report A Sustainable Future - Free from Gender Discrimination: "Our strength comes from our membership, which includes individuals, branches, and organisations from unions and NGOs to community organisations." 

Currently, we have 13 local branches and more than 200 member organisations, as well as individual members. In addition, we have members and non-member volunteers who serve on six Action Hubs. The Parliamentary Watch Committee, an evolution from one of the original components of the NCWNZ since its founding in 1896, coordinates the writing of official submissions and our combined input into consultations with Parliament or with international organisations such as the United Nations' international treaty, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Let's take a look at the NCWNZ Constitution and Bylaws (March 2022):

  • Common purpose: Members need to be committed to the purpose of NCWNZ (Bylaw 1). That purpose includes advancing the status of all women and girls to achieve gender equality (Rule 4).
  • Role of NCWNZ local branches: Branches advance the purpose of NCWNZ in their local area (Bylaw 7) which includes collaborating and partnering with other organisations and engaging with the general public. 
  • Role of Action Hubs:  The Action Hubs give effect to the purpose of NCWNZ through policy, actions and campaigns; support NCWNZ members to lobby decision-makers and campaign in their area; and, support people involved at a local level who are connected to Action Hubs to take action locally (Bylaw 14).

For example, the NCWNZ Manukau Branch might connect with The Family Harm Prevention Group there in Manukau to receive their input to NCWNZ action items. Once the Parliamentary Watch Committee and the NCWNZ Board finish with an official submission paper or letter, the local branch might then ask this local organisation to come forward as a supporting signatory. By connecting with the Branch in this way, the local group may eventually join NCWNZ as a member organisation and get regular updates or requests for input directly.

Another example is the leadership role undertaken by three Action Hub convenors: Eva Hartshorn Sanders (International Action Hub), Sue Kedgley (Influence and Decision-Making Action Hub), and Eileen Brown (Safety, Health and Wellbeing Action Hub). Eva has written a blog post that describes the issues involving online misogyny, the strategies for prevention currently undertaken by different countries, and how New Zealand is falling behind. (See Eva's article in Transparency, After conferring with the NCWNZ Board, they sent an invitation to 25 Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to meet to discuss the formation of a Coalition to collectively advocate, campaign and lobby for action against online harm - including legislation and independent regulation. The process will be formalised at a forthcoming launch event, and it is still ongoing.

Think about it. We rely on you to keep our collaborations authentic and vibrant.


Parental leave for directors – an issue of equity

Logo snipped from Governance NZ websiteA speech by Sue Kedgley ONZM, convenor of the NCWNZ Influence & Decision-making Action Hub and former member of New Zealand Parliament, delivered to the Women on Boards Summit on 17 August 2023. (See the whole program here.)

I can still vividly recall the jubilation I felt when Laila Harre’s Paid Parental Leave bill, which gave all women employees a statutory right to 12 weeks of paid parental leave, was passed in Parliament in 2002. It had taken years of lobbying and working with women’s groups to get the
legislation passed, and it felt like a huge milestone for New Zealand women. I was equally delighted when paid parental leave was extended to 18 weeks in 2016, and 26 weeks in July 2020. At the time, I assumed the legislation applied to all women in employment in New Zealand, and so it never occurred to me, or I suspect to most other MPs, that the right to parental leave did not extend to women who were company directors or to locally elected Councillors.

So, I was surprised when a member of the National Council of Women, Margaret Cook, pointed out at a meeting last year that women directors and locally elected Councillors are not entitled to parental leave in New Zealand. This was an equity issue that needed to be addressed, she suggested, if we wanted to see more women on boards and Councils. We agreed, and so we set up a small group to campaign to extend the statutory right to paid parental leave to women directors and Councillors.

As a first step, we contacted the Institute of Directors, Women on Boards and Local Government New Zealand, who all confirmed that there is indeed no provision under our law for a director of a company, a non-profit organisation or a trust, to take parental leave. The official reason for this, it was explained, was firstly, that company directors are not considered to be employees under our law, and so they don’t have the same rights or protections as other employees, such as personal grievance protection or paid parental leave. And secondly, the concept of a director taking a leave of absence from a board, does not exist in New Zealand company law.

So, while there’s nothing to stop a director from asking for a leave of absence from a board to look after a newborn child, our company law does not address the issue of how a director could be absolved from any liability risks if something went wrong while they were on leave. As the law is silent on this issue, a director on parental leave would continue to have extensive legal duties to the board and would be responsible for any decisions that were taken in their absence -- even if they had applied for, and
received, a legitimate leave of absence. They would also be subject to any liability risks associated with the board while they were on leave.

There is no option, either, under existing company law, for directors to delegate their duties to other board members during a period of a leave of absence. So, in practice, the only completely safe option for a director wanting to take a leave of absence and not incur any liability risk, is to resign from a Board. A further problem for a director who opts to resign from a board to take parental leave, is that there’s no obligation on a board to hold their position open, or to guarantee them a seat at the table, when they are ready to return. And I should add that while I am talking about women directors, this would apply equally to a male board member who wanted to take parental leave.

The justification for this unsatisfactory situation is that Boards are required, under the 1993 Companies Act, to act in the best interests of a company at all times, and it is argued that there could be circumstances, such as if a board was in the middle of a take-over, when allowing a board member to take a leave of absence could expose a board to risk. Allowing a skilled Director to take a leave of absence could result in a skills gap on a board, or in quorum issues that could adversely affect the performance of a board.

The solution to the dilemma that directors face if they want to take parental leave, would be to amend our company law, as Germany is proposing to do, and allow directors to take a leave of absence. And suspend their rights and obligations to the board, and any liability for damages, while they were on leave, and, as with any other employment role, allow them to automatically resume their role on the board at the end of their parental leave. Another possible solution would be to deem company directors to be self-employed and extend them the same parental leave rights as all other self-employed New Zealanders enjoy. In Denmark and the United Kingdom
directors are deemed to be self-employed and are therefore eligible for paid parental leave and their positions are held open while they are on leave.

In the meantime, however, and until such time as our law is changed, it is left up to individual board members to negotiate a solution to the ‘problem’ of them wanting to take parental leave. The onus is on the director to make their case to a board, and this places a considerable burden on individual board members, and comes with significant potential personal risks, as the Institute of Director’s points out in a 2020 paper entitled Should I Leave, or Should I Go? Directors, leave of absence, and liability, which provides guidance to directors wanting to take leave from a board.

This is extremely unfair, in our view, and constitutes a significant barrier to young women wanting to pursue governance careers. It is difficult enough for young women directors who may not seem to quite fit the mould, without saddling them with responsibility for having to negotiate permission to take leave from a board. Nor should women directors be professionally disadvantaged, or forced to resign from a governance role, if they want to take a few months parental leave. 

So how are women directors managing in this unsatisfactory situation?

Lani Evans was Chair of Vodafone Thank you Payroll when she became pregnant in 2018. She had assumed she would be entitled to parental leave when her baby was born. When she discovered this wasn’t the case, she sought advice from the Institute of Directors and reached an agreement with her board that she would resign and take six months of unofficial parental leave, on the understanding that she would be reappointed to the Board once her leave was over, and her position would not be up for a vote. After resigning and taking six months of unpaid leave, she returned to the board and resumed her governance career and went on to become head of the Vodafone Foundation. She helped draft an official leave of absence policy for directors on her board and is presently on leave with her second child.

Lani was grateful that her Board agreed to reappoint her, as there’s no obligation on a board to do this. But she admits that having to give up her hard-won governance roles to start her family “felt unjust and demotivating.” It can be really challenging for younger women who may not have good connections or be perceived to fit the mould, to get appointed to a board, she points out.

So, it’s unfair, if women who want to take a few months of parental leave, are forced to give up their governance roles or start their governance careers all over again. If we want more diversity on boards, we should be actively removing barriers to the participation of women.

Women who are directors of charities, trusts or non-profit organisations face the same dilemma, as Louise Evans, a newly elected member of the Invercargill Licensing Trust, found out when she became pregnant last year. To avoid being liable for decisions that were made while she was on leave, she opted to resign from her position on the Trust and to become a non-paid volunteer for the Trust. Louise was grateful the Trust kept her position open while she was on leave. But she worries that women directors who can’t afford to do this might be forced to step back completely from governance while their children are young, and this would mean a loss of diversity on boards. “I find it pretty weird that if we’re trying to promote diversity on boards, and younger female voices, that this barrier exists,” she says. If, as a nation, we
considered it truly important to have women on boards, there wouldn’t be barriers like this holding women back.”

Miriam Walker tried to combine new parenthood and governance when her son was born in 2015. She was shocked to discover she wasn’t entitled to parental leave and after initially struggling through board meetings while she was breast-feeding, she decided to resign from her board and take a year’s break from governance — primarily because she was concerned about liability issues. A year later, she resumed her governance career and was elected to the Netsafe board. She believes the absence of parental leave for directors is likely to discourage talented young women in their thirties and forties who anticipate becoming pregnant, from pursuing a governance career.
That’s a real problem, she says, because women in this age-group are significantly under-represented in governance. It would be far better, she argues, if directors were encouraged to start their governance careers in their thirties.

Toni Moyes was a Future Director of Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, when she became pregnant in 2021. She took parental leave from her full-time job, but she decided to remain as a director of Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, a role she loved, while looking after her new-born child. It took a lot of extra effort and a great deal of juggling and support from her family to switch from mothering an infant into corporate governance mode, she says, especially in the first three months as she grappled with the physical demands of early motherhood, recovering from childbirth, breast-feeding and sleep deprivation. When she needed to attend an Auckland board meeting, for example, her partner flew up with her and sat in a next door room with her baby, so she could breast-feed him. Despite the challenges, she says, the opportunity to engage her brain as a director while she was a new mother, was a godsend. “Having high-quality, part-time work was the perfect balm for the mini-identity crisis I experienced as a new mum. I loved the opportunity and it helped me feel like a whole person.” Toni continued on with her governance career and is now chair of the Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Foundation. But she doesn’t believe it should be left up to individual women to negotiate a solution if they have a new-born child, as if they were a burden to the board.

Nor should a woman’s ability to combine governance roles with mothering be dependent on how supportive, or unsupportive, a board is, she argues. It would be much easier and fairer for everyone if the law was changed. Until that happens, Toni believes all boards should be flexible and supportive of directors who are in their first few months of parenthood. Many companies go beyond their statutory obligations and offer full salaries to employees on parental leave, she points out, and she believes the same opportunities should be extended to women in governance roles on boards.

The argument is sometimes made that women directors are in a relatively privileged position and should therefore be able to juggle their parental responsibilities with being a company director. But as Lani Evans points out, the responsibilities and liabilities of directorships are becoming increasingly onerous, and not all women have enough support to be able to juggle both roles, especially if they have several children or are single mothers. And many women cannot afford to resign and take parental leave without an income, especially if there’s uncertainty as to whether their position will be offered back to them when they return.

For all these reasons, the National Council of Women believes that extending paid parental leave to directors is an important equity issue that urgently needs to be addressed. In our view, directors should have the same entitlement to parental leave as anyone else working in a leadership role. They should be able to take a few months of parental leave without being professionally disadvantaged or having to resign from their governance roles and lose their income while on leave. The National Council of Women would welcome the opportunity to work with Women on Boards to change the law to extend parental leave to directors.

We believe it will be hard to achieve gender diversity goals on boards, which we note is one of the goals of Women on Boards, until this issue is addressed, as it is clear to us that the lack of provision for parental leave, combined with the risk of personal liability while on leave; the lack of options to return and the loss of income if a director is forced to resign from a board, all constitute a significant barrier for young women who want to pursue governance careers. This is a real concern, in our view, as women are still massively under-represented on private sector boards and constitute only 25.9% of directors on private companies.

On a final note, we agree with leadership consultant, Dr Ellen Joan Nelson, who is concerned that most of the focus on getting women into leadership or governance positions, has been on helping individual women, by providing them with courses, coaching and programmes to increase their confidence. While these are valuable, they are band-aid solutions, and what is really needed, she argues, is to fix the structures that are creating barriers to women in leadership positions.

Extending parental leave to directors would help overcome a significant barrier to women’s representation on boards. The recent and very welcome proposals by Labour and National, to extend Parental Leave entitlements, together with the Prime Minister’s statement that a comprehensive review of Parental leave legislation is needed, suggest that the time is right to push for a change in the law. But to achieve that change will require concerted work from Women on Boards, the Institute of Directors and other organisations that represent directors.

Some of what's happening at local branches

In July I was asked by Family Harm Prevention to attend a meeting with the Family Harm Practitioners to explain to them the role that National Council of Women play in preventing family violence.

I prepared a short presentation with slides and upon arrival was shown into a small room with a huge table surrounded by nearly 50 women, mainly Māori women and immigrant women. The manager asked me if I would like to meet them and so they went around the room and each woman introduced herself, sometimes in te reo with English translation stating what their role was in the organization.

I was overwhelmed by their responsibilities and prior to the presentation advised them that I felt very privileged to be in the company of such amazing women who were so supportive of our community.

The presentation was very well received. They expressed an interest in meeting with NCWNZ members to discuss upcoming NCWNZ Action Items which relate to women, children and families. They felt that they could make a valuable contribution to the NCWNZ presentations to Parliament. Board approval would be required for this but as these practitioners are working from the ground level, their input could be of value. They were particularly interested in the agreement of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and took away the International Council of Women (ICW) handouts provided.

The Manager [male] asked us to leave as the room was required for another meeting but a quarter of those attending came up to me, expressed their gratitude and gave me a big hug. I thought the meeting was well received by those attending and a tribute to National Council of Women.

Judi Goldsworthy, NCW Manukau President

Milestones: Wāhine and Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi has served as an important defining document in New Zealand history, making it unique in the British Empire - then in 1840, and continues in its impact today. Māori women signed te Tiriti; so far, up to 18 possible names have been identified and more are being discovered by researchers every day. Unlike the women among the white settlers coming to New Zealand then, wāhine Māori traditionally had a say in important matters of their people, especially in matters regarding authority over their lands. This tradition of leadership continues to fuel the activism to rectify systemic discrimination and end the misogyny that causes a range of socio-economic disparities especially for Māori, Pacifika and immigrant women in New Zealand. More importantly, the historical events and laws that breach te Tiriti have and continue to impact all New Zealand women today. Below are some milestones in New Zealand's history adapted and excerpted from "Historical events and laws which breach te Tiriti o Waitangi," pp. 58-68 in Treaty of Waitangi, questions and answers (Network Waitangi, 2018).

1840. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is signed over seven months. The treaty written in Māori was signed by 512 Māori (including Topeora of Raukawa on behalf of her hapū) and by the British Governor on behalf of the Queen. Recognised in international law, this treaty maintains Māori authority in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Treaty written in English was signed by 39 Māori and is recognised by the New Zealand Parliament. The treaty gives Māori the same rights as British people, though the Queen guarantees all Māori rights to their land, forests and foreshore and seabed. It gives overall though limited control to the Crown. At this time, the Māori population is about 150,000 and the Pākehā population about 2000.

Merenoko and her hei-tiki - image resized and published on
Land rights activist Mere Nako of Motueka (d. 1888)

1845. Advocacy by Māori leaders to fulfil the Crown’s legal obligations to the customary owners in Te Tau Ihu (top of the South Island) to protect 15,100 acres of land – and in particular by the 1870s Nelson and Motueka reserves (aka "Tenths") - takes shape and continues today in on-going court proceedings. One of the leaders in the 1870s-80s for petitions to the government is Mere Noko, whose precious hei-tiki seen in her portrait to the right is worn by her descendant as he attends Court proceedings today.

1846. Governor George Grey abolished the position of Protector of Aborigines which was to advocate to the Crown for Māori interests.

1852. The British government creates the New Zealand Parliament and suffrage is granted expressly only to males, aged 21 years or older, landownership in male voter's name. Ignoring the Constitution, Governor Grey did not declare any Native districts which would recognise Māori authority (including women leaders) over their own affairs. Nearly all of the South Island and about one-fifth of the North Island had passed into Crown ownership by 1865.

1860s. The Pākehā population is booming, and the government creates the Native Land Courts in 1865. A Native Land Court could exclude Māori from holding shares in whenua on the basis of being identified as a rebel. Wāhine Māori spend lengthy hours in court pursuing their land interests (unlike their British counterparts they were acknowledged as landowners under Māori law and custom). Rural women make a concerted effort to learn how to read and write to support their claims in court to certify land they already own. However, the Land Courts allow land transfer to Pākehā settlers to become much easier, and approximately 2 million hectares changed hands between 1870 and 1892.

1867. Four seats in Parliament are reserved for Māori representatives - men only. The New Zealand government creates Native Schools which teach British laws, culture, agricultural and domestic sciences - disallowing any use of Māori traditions, including farming knowledge. By 1880, all teaching must now be in English. By 1907, use of Māori medicines and healing practices are made illegal. While this mainly affected the work of male experts (tohunga), elderly women and female healers were also targeted.

1879-83. NZ government passes a series of acts to imprison without trial those who conducted the non-violent resistance to surveying Māori land, including Parihaka women and children. The Native Reserves Act of 1881 gives control of Māori reserves to a Public Trustee. Native Land Acts throughout the 1880s-90s allow for further sales, including land formerly designated as reserves.

1890s. The Advances to Settlers Act of 1894 gives low interest loans to Pākehā only, and the Old Age Pensions Act of 1898 automatically disqualifies those with shares in tribal land. Between 1890 and 1930, approximately seventy percent of the remaining 10 million acres of Māori land had been lost. Much of the land that remained (3.6 million acres) was useless for commercial farming; Māori were rendered economically and culturally impoverished. Led by their rangatira Mere Rangingainga, the Wanganui women's committee presented their opposition in the courts and before government planning to open the Wanganui River for trade. In 1895 Makere Mihi led a well-attended meeting at Te Aute Hawke's Bay at which she formed a committee of women to invoke mana tikanga to organise an embargo of the Land Court and convince Māori to cease selling land. 

1909. Native Health Act restricts Māori from adopting children within extended families. It also prevented wāhine Māori from breastfeeding, supporters stated it was supposedly to prevent the spread of disease.

1918. NZ soldiers returning from active duty in World War I are given land to farm, but not to Māori soldiers (nor to any women nurses or volunteers).

1928. NZ government was authorised to take land for forestry, airports, roads, land development and subdivision - it was legal to avoid telling Māori owners of pending confiscation.

1930s. NZ government provides subsidies to help unemployed during the Great Depression - Māori receive 1/2 of the regular amount given to Pākehā.

1953. Māori Affairs Act allowed for Māori land deemed to be "uneconomic" by the Māori Trustee (a Pākehā male) could be sold without the owners' consent. Much of this was then leased to forestry companies to use for monoculture and without oversight so to attain maximum profit. The Town and Country Planning Act prevented rural Māori from building on their land - 60% of Māori shifted to towns and cities between 1950 and 1980.

1967. Rating Act enabled local governments to lease or sell Māori land where rates were outstanding, even if the land was not producing any income for its owners.

Dame Whina Cooper - image from Wikipedia biography
Dame Whina Cooper ONZ DBE addressing the Māori land march at Hamilton in 1975

1975. Dame Whina Cooper from Cape Reinga launched the Te Rōpū Matakite o Aotearoa (‘Those with Foresight’) group and led the Māori Land March to Parliament: "Not one more acre." The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 established the Waitangi Tribunal as a permanent commission of inquiry to make recommendations on claims relating to Crown actions which breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1986 the Act was amended to allow claims to the Tribunal dating back to 1840. 

1986-88. State Owned Enterprises Act provided for the transfer of Crown land to state owned corporations - a step toward the privatisation of Crown assets, reducing the possibility of the return of publicly-owned resources to settle Treaty claims. Māori disproportionately are affected by the redundancies caused by the Act (up to 80% of the jobs lost), and with the high unemployment levels came a sharp decrease in health outcomes compared to Pākehā. The Ports Reform Act 1988 allowed privatisation of Harbour Boards and the right to sell assets including Crown land and foreshore, putting them outside the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal. Both Acts include sets of "Principles" for Crown action on the Treaty of Waitangi despite the rejections by Māori.

1995. Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, signed as the Māori Queen the Waikato Raupatu Deed of Settlement with the NZ Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth II, with Dame Te Atairangikaahu present, gave royal assent to the new legislation that provided inflation-adjusted Crown payments to the people whose lands had been confiscated in the 1860s as well as the return of some lands. This was the first historical Waitangi Tribunal settlement relating to grievances about the loss of land. 

2004. The Foreshore and Seabed Act extinguished Māori customary rights and title. Tariana Turia and Nanaia Mahuta vote against the Bill; a special envoy from the UN came the next year and wrote a report protesting the Act but was ignored. As a part of the anniversary commemorations of the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand, the Peace Movement Aotearoa launched in 2003 the "No raupatu in our time!" campaign in a collaborative protest by Pākehā opposed to the government's foreshore and seabed proposals. The government's claim had been steadily built up by the Māori Fisheries Act 1989 and the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claim) Settlement Act 1992.

2007. New Zealand is one of only four countries to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. There was no consultation with hapū or iwi about the government's position. NZ police conduct "anti-terrorist" dawn raids around the country and Māori families and communities are treated very differently from others.

2011. Māori adolescent mothers were found to be approximately half the total number in NZ. However, research has shown that with Māori adolescent mothers in teen parent organisations, the “integration of Indigenous knowledge opens up new avenues for a more sophisticated understanding of organisational practices” (Pio and Graham p.1) and positively intertwine with their life journeys. See also Hindin-Miller (2012).

2018. Child Poverty Reduction Act shows significant improvement over time for New Zealanders despite the median incomes of households with children of predominantly Māori and Pacific peoples still lag below those households in New Zealand who identify themselves as European. However, the 2022 surveys are missing data on children living in transient housing. 

2020. UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing in NZ Leilani Farha urged the nation to consider its roots in the Treaty (Te Tiriti) as a source of rights and expectations for all New Zealanders. She stated: "New Zealand’s ongoing history of colonization, land dispossession, forced assimilation, and racism and the contemporary consequences of these forces on and for Māori." 

This brief recounting serves as a tribute to the women, both Māori and Pākehā, who advanced the struggle for social justice and economic equality in New Zealand. For more information, refer to the references below. You can download "Treaty of Waitangi: Questions and Answers," (Network Waitangi, 2018) or email a purchase order for hard copies using this Peace Movement Aotearoa webpage:


"About the Waitangi Tribunal," Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Government:

Benjamin, Ethel. "Māori Women and the Law - Ethel Benjamin Commemorative Address," Speeches, New Zealand Government (8 July 1999):

Farha, Leilani. "End of Mission Statement Visit of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing to New Zealand," UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (19 February 2020):

Henare, Denese. "Carrying the burden of arguing the Treaty," pp. 126-136 in Vision Aotearoa: Kaupapa New Zealand, Witi Ihimaera, ed. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams Books, 1994.

Hindin-Miller, J.M. "Re-storying identities: Young women's narratives of teenage parenthood and educational support," unpublished doctoral thesis. (Christchurch, NZ: University of Canterbury, 2012).

Hollingsworth, Randolph. "Charts to Use: Child Poverty in New Zealand," The Circular, NCWNZ (28 October 2022):

Hollingsworth, Randolph. "Te Tiriti o Waitangi & NCWNZ," The Circular, NCWNZ (9 July 2022):

Kidman, Joanna; O'Malley, Vincent; et al. Fragments from a Contested Past: Remembrance, Denial and New Zealand History. (BWB, 2022):

Mikaere, Annie. "Maori Women: Caught in the contradictions of a colonised reality," Waikato Law Review 2(1994): 125-?.

Mitchell, Dr James S. "The Native Land Court and Maori land alienation patterns in the Whanganui District 1865-1900," Wai 903, A58 (September 2004):

"No raupatu in our time!" Peace Movement Aotearoa

Papa, Rāhui and Meredith, Paul. "Te Atairangikaahu Korokī Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero," Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (orig. pub. in Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, 2018)

Paterson, Lachy and Wanhalla, Angela. He Reo Wāhine: Māori women's voices from the nineteenth century. (Auckland University Press, 2017):

Pio, E., & Graham, M. "Transitioning to higher education: journeying with Indigenous Maori teen mothers." Gender and Education, 30 (2018): 846-865.

Ruru, Stacey; Roche, Maree; and, Waitoki, Waikaremoana. "Māori women's perspectives of leadership and wellbeing," Journal of Indigenous Wellbeing 2 (1 June 2017): 5-14.

Seuffert, Nan. "Race-ing and engendering the nation-state in Aotearoa/New Zealand," American University Journal of Gender Social Policy and Law 10, no. 3 (2002): 597-618.

"The Treaty in practice," NZ History, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Manatū Taonga (updated 15 April 2016):

Whaanga, Mere. "Te Kōti Whenua – Māori Land Court - Surveying and other costs, 1880–1900," Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (20 Jun 2012):

"Whina Cooper leads land march to Parliament 13 October 1975," NZ HistoryMinistry for Culture and Heritage, (updated 27-Oct-2021):

NCWNZ Action Hubs

The NCWNZ Influence and Decision-making Action Hub gathered questions from each of the Action Hubs and, upon approval of the Board, sent these questions out to all the NZ political parties for responses. The National, Labour, Green, ACT and Opportunities (TOP) parties responded to the survey, while the Māori, New Zealand First and Vision New Zealand parties did not provide answers before the deadline. Read more about this survey in the official press release sent out on 30 August to the media from Suzanne Manning, NCWNZ president, here: You can download the .pdf file of all the responses received here.

You're invited!
Feminist Foreign Policy: Political Panel Event

Poster for Feminist Foreign Policy event 13 Sept 2023Date: Thursday 13 September

Time: 5:30-7pm

Where: Victoria University of Wellington Pipitea Campus, 33 Bunny Street, Pipitea, Wellington AND online

The political season is upon us and we want to ensure that women’s voices and concerns are both seen and heard in foreign policy.  We invite you, your family, friends, colleagues and networks to buy tickets and share the upcoming Feminist Foreign Policy Political Panel Event - there is an in-person (Wellington) and online ticket option - available at

You will not be disappointed.  We have a stellar line-up: 

  • The current Minister of Foreign Affairs: Nanaia Mahuta, Labour MP for Hauraki-Waikato, a mana wāhine who is the first woman to be officially appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Helen Clark held the post in an acting capacity in 2008).  Nanaia brings a fresh perspective and indigenous world view to the world of foreign affairs - supporting intergenerational wellbeing, peace and prosperity for all is at the heart of Aotearoa New Zealand’s foreign policy.  The Labour Party has included trade, investment and climate action within their election priorities.  “These extraordinary times require an approach to Aotearoa New Zealand’s foreign policy that is anchored in our values and grounded in the principles of partnership and mutual respect. We can draw hope and encouragement from the principles embodied in our founding document Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Our sense of identity, place and connection is inextricably linked to the Pacific and the enduring relationship with our traditional allies.”
  • Dedicated and experienced National MP, Gerry Brownlee, who previously held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2017 and has held various senior leadership positions in the National Party, including Deputy Leader.  Gerry Brownlee is the foreign affairs spokesperson for the National Party and currently holds the title of “Father of the House” as the longest serving MP in Parliament.  The National Party has a focus on trade and investment in their election priorities, and Gerry Brownlee has also spoken about the role of New Zealand in the Pacific, working alongside traditional allies. “It’s important that we know what Pacific nations are thinking and reassure them that we are a willing and able partner. The only way we are really going to be able to do that is to get in front of people face to face.”
  • The talented and vocal Golriz Ghahraman, foreign affairs spokesperson for the Green Party.  Golriz brings lived experience to the foreign affairs portfolio as a child asylum seeker and the first refugee elected to the New Zealand Parliament, and with a previous career working as a lawyer for the United Nations. “The Green Party supports an international rules-based-order that protects and restores the environment, upholds fundamental human rights and international justice, and acts in unison in a responsible and non-violent manner to support peace globally… We recognise:
    • The unprecedented scale and urgency of the ecological crises facing our nation and our planet.
    • The large and growing scale of local and global inequalities and their role in the ecological crises we face.”

We are fortunate to have the well-respected journalist - the very talented Susie Ferguson - as the Chair for this political panel event.  Susie worked in Britain for broadcasters, including the BBC. She has reported and presented from around the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Lebanon, Mozambique and the Balkans. Stories she's covered include the Iraq War and the Boxing Day tsunami.  Susie is well known locally as the presenter on RNZ National's flagship news programme Morning Report for eight years. She stepped down in 2022 to pursue a new role as Senior Journalist and Presenter at RNZ, which sees her working on special projects and presenting programmes across RNZ National.

Topics to be covered at this Political Panel event are likely to include climate change, the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals and other international treaties, the women and peace agenda, the situation in the Ukraine, online harm and technology-facilitated gender-based abuse and harassment, priorities and risks in foreign affairs, and the role of women during pandemics and recovery.  

Please share this link for the event broadly through your networks:

This event is co-hosted by the International Action Hub and the Wellington Branch of the National Council of Women of New Zealand, Business and Professional Women New Zealand and Graduate Women New Zealand.

For more information, contact the Convenor for the NCWNZ International Action Hub, Eva Hartshorn-Sanders, at [email protected].

Teaching consent education in Aotearoa New Zealand - a report

Logo on R&SE GuideIn April 2022, The NCWNZ Education Action Hub committed to a campaign to advocate for the compulsory teaching of consent in all state and state-integrated schools/kura in Aotearoa New Zealand. It all started with a request from the NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch which reported that after reports about various forms of sexual harm in local high schools, a survey about misogyny in schools was completed in 2021. (See the Circular article about the work by researcher Dr Liz Gordon here.) The young women asserted that they would organise into a student-led group called Students Against Sexual Harm (SASH) and that they would work to make consent education to be compulsory in all schools. Louise Tapper, a member of the NCWNZ Education Action Hub and current chair of the NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch, has been leading the Education Action Hub's focus on this issue.

The Action Hub members decided that they needed to find out what schools/kura were currently doing in relation to the teaching of the Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum. After conferring with the Minister of Education, the Action Hub members decided to ask the schools directly whether and how schools/kura were currently teaching about consent. A survey was developed by members of the NCWNZ Education Action Hub and field tested with educators across the nation. 

An email and survey were then sent to schools/kura as an Official Information Act request to the Chair of the Board of Trustees at 417 schools/kura with students in Years 9-13. A small number of responses were received – 67, a 16% response rate. Analysis of responses, which included statistical results and a thematic analysis of responses from comments, was carried out by members of the Education Action Hub.

The findings from the survey showed that all the schools/kura who responded taught the RSE curriculum to some degree. 37 schools/kura indicated that RSE was compulsory at their school/kura while 12 schools/kura responded that there were some programmes in RSE for some students. There was strong evidence that where teaching RSE was compulsory, this was aligned around Year levels. Most schools/kura noted that this compulsory RSE teaching was done at the junior levels – Years 9 and 10 – in Health or Physical Education classes. At the senior levels – Years 11-13 – respondents stated that RSE was usually an option for students.

Additionally, although respondents described RSE as being ‘compulsory’ at junior levels, some schools reported that students could opt out of RSE classes. Students who opted out were mostly doing so because of parental wishes. The use of both in-school staff and out-of-school providers to teach RSE was highlighted by the findings. There was evidence from the data that some form of consent education was taught as part of the RSE curriculum at the Year 9 and 10 levels (54 out of 67 respondents). This was not the case for the Year 11-13 levels. Several respondents admitted that consent was not taught effectively at senior levels and that there was little time spent on the Health curriculum. Any form of consent education was only addressed as part of one-off programmes from outside providers. Of the schools/kura who reported that there was some teaching about consent, programmes were mainly around understandings about what consent means and issues around control.

The findings showed that most schools/kura did not talk about consent education when they were communicating with their community about RSE in their school/kura. Some respondents did see this conversation as being important, and some stated that they included questions about consent education in surveys to parents and communities. Several schools/kura indicated that further professional development in this area would be helpful.

Limitations of the project included the small number of responses from schools/kura and that there was a single data collection method. The NCWNZ Education Action Hub acknowledges that generalisation of these findings beyond this participant group is not possible given the small number of respondents who completed the survey. However, members of the Hub contend that these are important findings to share and that they contribute to the growing evidence that effective, compulsory consent education should be included in all schools/kura in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Recommendations for future policy, which have been informed by the findings from this survey and by the NCWNZ Education Action Hub’s ongoing campaign around this issue, are presented below:

  • Consent education is made mandatory in all schools/kura in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Consent education progammes begin at the Year 1 level and issues around consent education are consistently explored throughout all year levels.
  • Consent education programmes include high level skill building to ensure that all students will learn the skills needed when giving and receiving consent.

Download the full report (.pdf file) here.

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Image from Child Poverty Action Group webinar posterDid you know that Kiwi parents pay more for daycare than those in other countries even though State funding here is the highest? New Zealand's childcare costs are among the most expensive in the world. Research has shown that providing families with access to affordable early childcare education can boost women's employment in wage-based labour. Many democratic nations across the world are focusing attention on intentional education for children from the ages of 0 or 1 until entry into primary education.

On Monday, August 14th, the Child Poverty Action Group offered a free webinar focused on the Early Childhood Care and Education Sector. The panelists were Michelle Duff (journalist and author), Dr Sophie Moullin (University of Auckland), and Dr Jenny Ritchie (Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington). The recording of the webinar, "Why is Early Childhood Care and Education so unaffordable and inaccessible?" is available on YouTube at

Michelle Duff included in her presentation a chart by data journalist Felippe Rodrigues that compares across multiple countries New Zealand's average cost for parents using childcare facilities as a percentage of their average wages. She emphasised that around $1.3 billion of state funding goes into the sector every year but the four biggest private operators get around $450 million of that. (See more on this in her recent article in Stuff.) 

Felippe Rodrigues chart re cost of childcare - OECD data

New Zealand spends $2.3 billion in early childhood education each year for 195,000 children, and the top five private providers receive almost a fifth of the government funding. In her presentation in the webinar, Duff Two-thirds of New Zealand's early childcare centres are run by private businesses whose primary goal is to increase profits and pay shareholders. This leaves, she claimed, high-quality education, access to care, and community-based needs to be of secondary importance. Duff estimated for her October 2022 fact-finding article that women lose out on estimated $116 million in earnings every year due to issues accessing childcare, with Māori, Pasifika, and single mothers impacted significantly more than others. 

Dr Moullin, a sociologist at the University of Auckland and former adviser on social policy in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, spoke about the downward trends in New Zealand in what had been a world-leading initiative in early childhood education (ECE) since the 1990s. She disparaged the stagnating wages and professional development of ECE staff, and that the government subsidies do not meet family needs. She described how in other nations a public investment in pre-school education as an expanded part of the current education sector works more efficiently than government subsidies or keeping mothers out of the wage labour force. She argued that public schools already have in place the kind of infrastructure needed to recruit teachers and maintain high quality education experiences -- and that this would be a more effective financially than offering it from profit-making corporate providers. Moullin's recent opinion piece in Newsroom described the competing policies of the Labour and National parties. Labour introduced a policy of extending subsidies for early childhood education to include 20 hours for two-year-olds; while National has offered a $250 million childcare tax rebate of up to $75 a week. Neither party has offered enough to make a difference, Moullin argued, in women's actual lived experiences and family budgets.

Dr Jenny Ritchie described what she called an erosion of New Zealand's early history of a social contract by "market forces" with the recent growth of large corporate providers of early childhood care and education. She emphasised that this trend is inequitable in quality of care and access. She summarised the CPAG recommendations to close the gaps in access and to increase community-based, not-for-profit providers. The CPAG recomend that government should prioritise working with iwi, hapu and urban Maori authorities and Pacific communities to identify the gaps in provision. A major recommendation is to provide free ECCE to all children who are using community-based services. This would include finding ways for those providers currently for-profit (including those identified as "charities") to become non-profit and community-based providers. This would mean, then, that government would need to raise funding levels to offer professional development to fully qualify teachers and improve those teacher/child ratios.

A Child Poverty Action Group's policy brief co-authored by Dr Jenny Ritchie as early as 2020 posits that the early childcare system has been designed to benefit largely privately run centres and parents and children suffer as a result. To explore this topic more or to gather resources for discussing this topic with political candidates, visit the toolbox associated with the webinar at:



This Action Hub focusses on engagement with membership on issues in relation to how women and children are adversely affected by climate crisis, including building awareness of issues and how we can bring about change at high level and in our daily lives. They have created several official submissions these last few months. Some webinars run recently include one by Conor Twiford, climate change organiser for NZIE, the primary teachers' union; and one by Ayushi Kachhara, air quality specialist working in the engineering consultancy, WSP. (See the article on this at

Seven members of the Hub (Barbara Arnold, Dr Barbara Bedeschi-Lewando, Dr Gill Greer Dr Emma Hughes, Catherine McInally, Challen Wilson, coordinated by the Convenor, Christine Caughey) engaged closely with the Ministry for Women. The goal was to produce reports for the Minister to introduce into the Ministry's work programme the impacts of climate change on women. NCWNZ continues to await release of the reports by the Ministry.

The Safety, Health and Wellbeing Action Hub members wrote a congratulatory letter to the Ministry of Health for their successful roll-out in July of New Zealand's first Women's Health Strategy. According to the website: "There will be equitable health outcomes for wāhine Māori, which is a commitment under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  There will also be equity of health outcomes between men and women, and between all groups of women." Download the Women's Health Strategy 2023 at the Ministry of Health's website here:

Resources to share in meetings and with your networks

Political Party Survey Questions, August 2023

The NCWNZ Influence and Decision-making Action Hub gathered questions from each of the Action Hubs and, upon approval of the Board, sent these questions out to all the NZ political parties for responses. They offer these compiled questions for members to use in local meetings – some or in total – with candidates these next two months. You can download the questions from the NCWNZ website (.pdf file) here: NCWNZ Political Party Survey Questions, August 2023.


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Online Safety Reforms

Did you know that NZ regulatory legislation, such as the Films, Videos and Publications (Classification Act) 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989, is over 30 years old. It needs to be updated to address the harms caused by online content. Misogynistic abuse and violent threats against women especially wāhine Māori is a significant issue that NCWNZ is working to address. The Dept. of Internal Affairs published a handy Fact Sheet for you to use as you discuss these issues: "Safer Online Services and Media Platforms" (June 2023). Download the .pdf file here:$file/Safer-Online-Services-and-Media-Platforms-Factsheet-June-2023.pdf


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The D*List

The NZ Human Rights Commission announced the launch of the new social movement, The D*List. This new organisation aims to improve attitudes to disability and disabled people. Committed to community engagement, The D*List is funded from philanthropics and support from the Commission. Join The D*List - sign up on their website,


Readings to consider

Beginners’ Guide To The Human Rights Act 1993

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission is carrying out a review of the protections in the Human Rights Act 1993 for people who are transgender, people who are non-binary and people with innate variations of sex characteristics. Beryl Anderson, Convenor Parliamentary Watch Committee, recommends the Beginners' Guide since it explains some features of the Human Rights Act that might help readers to understand key issues for the Commission’s review.


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Science and women's bodies

On August 7, Dr. Bethany Samuelson Bannow and a group at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland released a study ( to test saturation and capacity levels in menstrual products in hopes of better understanding how to diagnose heavy menstrual bleeding, or HMB. HMB impacts millions, up to one third of menstruating individuals. What was shocking to learn was that the industry has not been testing the capacity rates of tampons by using human menstrual flow. Read more here: Katie Herchenroeder, "Wait, tampons weren't being tested with human blood?" Mother Jones (18 August 2023):




Stories to celebrate

Prudence WalkerPrudence Walker is the new Kaihautū Tika Hauātanga NZ Disability Rights Commissioner

On June 19th, Prudence Walker, Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) NZ chief executive, was welcomed in her new role at a pōwhiri in Te Whanganui-a-Tara in Wellington. Read more about her on the Human Rights Commission website here.


Public art as memorial

A new mural in Pōneke pays tribute to local kaumātua June Te Raumange Jackson MNZM. Read more about the memorial here.


Manatū Wāhine Physical Activity and Wellbeing Fund recipients announced

The Ministry for Women confirmed on 2 August a total of 123 not-for-profit organisations who will receive financial support for community-led initiatives that improve women and girls’ access to sport and active recreation activities to support their wider wellbeing. The $1m fund comes from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. See the list of recipients here.


Feminist Scholar of Women's Bodies

Did you know that, according to Google Scholar, the most cited academic at Auckland University is psychology full professor Virginia "Ginny" Braun Her work has been cited nearly 250,000 times by other scholars. Dr Braun is a New Zealand psychology academic specialising in thematic analysis and gender studies (see more about her work in these disciplines at Follow her on Twitter at @ginnybraun.

Dates to note for September-October 2023

5 September: Annual Women's Debate: A Gender Lens over a General Election, sponsored by National Council of Women NZ, Graduate Women Wellington, and The Zonta Club of Wellington, Rutherford House, 6 pm

9 September: International Day to Protect Education from Attack

11-17 September: Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – Māori Language Week 

13 September: Feminist Foreign Policy: Political Panel Event, sponsored by NCWNZ International Action Hub and BPW NZ, Rutherford House and online, 5:30 pm. Register here

16 September: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

18 September: International Equal Pay Day

19 September: Suffrage 130 commemorations for the day the Electoral Act was signed into law on 19 September 1893. See the Ministry of Women's list of events here.

21 September: International Day of Peace

23 September: NCWNZ Annual General Meeting (AGM), 10 am - noon. Login to the Members Hub to see more. Questions? Ask Rayane at [email protected].

28 September: International Day for Universal Access to Information

3 October: World Habitat Day

11 October: International Day of the Girl Child

17 October: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

24-31 October: Global Media and Information Literacy Week

29 October: International Day of Care and Support

Quotation to ponder

Why do we seek diversity?
- to offer all a better world, one that allows for difference, to make a community's climate more bearable for those often marginalized, punished in disproportionate ways, eg detention, ESOL testing

What are we looking for when we say we are seeking diversity?
- challenging, voices/statements that may make those with privilege/powerful feel uncomfortable, defensive.

Makanaka Tuwe
Nyanduri | Storyteller
Sesa Mathlo Apothecary
Embodied Self Care | Collective Wellness | Social Justice

Whakataukī to share

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei.
Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.

This whakataukī urges us to aim high and reach for what is truly valuable. Be persistent. Don't let minor obstacles stop you from reaching your goal while remaining connected to and humble before the greatness of ancestors who came before you.

To understand how (and why) to use whakataukī as a resource to support leadership practice through conversations and critical reflection, read Kathryn O’Connell-Sutherland, "Growing shared leadership and bicultural understandings through whakataukī," School News New Zealand (21 July 2020):



The Circular is the official organ of The National Council of Women of New Zealand. Archived copies are available at the National Library of New Zealand (ISSN 2815-8644).

Do you have some news to share? Please send an email to [email protected].

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