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March-April 2024, Issue 646

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

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Katie steps in for president's kōrero

Katie Thomas - Board member 2024Tēnā tātou katoa.

A different face for you in this edition of The Circular as I step in to kōrero for our President, Suzanne.

My name is Katie Thomas and I am the current Aspiring Board Member for NCWNZ. I have been involved in a number of network led organisations across the public sector for a decade now, all with a focus on working towards gender equality in Aoteroa New Zealand so playing a role within NCWNZ is a natural fit for me! It was a huge honour to be asked to put my name forward for this role in 2023 and I have been warmly welcomed into the fold by my fellow Board Members as well as the amazing volunteers from our Hubs and Branches that I have been able to meet and work with so far. I look forward to engaging with many more of our volunteers as we work together in the future.

2024 has been a busy year so far, with a huge amount of work underway across the motu within our Hubs and Branches - a huge thank-you to all of you who continue to put your time, energy and passion into NCWNZ.

On Saturday May 18, the Pacific National Councils of Women Forum will be held online between 1-4pm. This is an invite only event for our memberships and we are excited for the opportunity to connect with our sister councils through the Pacific. You will have received the event details in a recent NCWNZ message, so please register and mark your calendars to attend. We look forward to joining you at this unique event later this month.

Our annual reporting cycle has started for 2024/2025 which means it is membership renewal time! We encourage you to sign up or renew your membership – head to for more details.

Finally, work is underway on preparing for our annual AGM which will be held in Christchurch on Saturday 5 October, followed by our Distinguished Service Awards. We have some fantastic guest speakers and workshops planned so make sure you keep an eye out on our communication channels for more information.

IWD 2024 - the UNA-NZ Wellington event

On Wednesday 6 March, two days before International Women’s Day, the Wellington Branch of the United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA-NZ) organised a panel discussion on the UN IWD theme of “Count her in: Invest in women. Accelerate progress.” The panel consisted of Suzanne Manning, NCWNZ President, Natasha Jolly (Former UN worker and women’s rights researcher) and Joy Dunsheath (UNA-NZ).UNA-NZ logo

Suzanne talked about the importance of allies to accelerate progress towards gender equality. Discrimination and inequality occur when some groups hold power to serve their own needs; those groups need to recognise the problem and share the power. This means we need all genders to work together as allies for gender equality. Suffrage in 1893 would not have been achieved if male allies had not voted in favour of the Bill. Suzanne then shared results from the 2023 Gender Attitudes Survey which showed the difference in perspectives between women and men on how well we are doing on achieving gender equality in Aotearoa New Zealand. To accelerate progress, we need men to acknowledge the true extent of the problem. She also shared some comments on the very last report the World Bank released. For the first time, they considered violence against women and access to childcare to determine the gender pay gap. The result is striking: the gender pay gap is even worse when we consider this feature.

Natasha Jolly shared some of her work with a presentation entitled “Gender, Justice, Reconciliation, Healing,” based in her research area of peacemaking criminology, relational sociology and international human rights law. For her, the UN gives a framework and a common language to talk about issues and how gender perspectives must be taken into account.

Joy Dunsheath from UNA-NZ, World Federation of UNA, and long-standing representative to NCWNZ, summarised the 2021 World Bank Gender Equality report. She shared a range of figures that showed just how far we have to go before there is global gender equality, and why accelerating progress is so important. For instance, on average, women have only 75% of the rights of men; and in Iran, the legal age to get married is 9 years old. She also warned about the global backlash against women’s rights.

The audience, both in the room and online, were engaged and had many comments and questions.

One question was around how to engage the younger generation and allies in our organisations. Suzanne outlined some of the initiatives we have taken within NCWNZ, including diversifying the way we operate so that those who are more "cause-driven" can join an Action Hub only, and those who prefer the local socialising and action join a Branch. She also spoke about being proactive in seeking diverse candidates for the Board and creation of a Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Accessibility committee. Natasha also shared her point of view as an immigrant New Zealander, stressing the importance of representation and addressing multiculturalism – all of which takes time.

The question of the divergence of feminist struggles around the world was also raised. Some countries are far more advanced than others in terms of gender equality, but that doesn't mean that for these "model" states, equality has been achieved and there's nothing left to do. This is particularly true of New Zealand, which has long been seen as a forerunner and model country in terms of gender equality. However, as the latest Gender Attitudes survey illustrates, there is still much to be done in the fight against sexism, even in New Zealand.

UNA-NZ IWD 2024 event
Photo courtesy of Pat Metham, UNA-NZ, featuring: (left-right) Martine Udahemuka (UNA-NZ Wellington President), Joy Dunsheath, Suzanne Manning, Natasha Jolly.

CSW68 report from the NZ NGO delegate

CSW68 in New York 2024
Members of the New Zealand delegation before the CSW68 closing ceremony.

CSW68 was a jam-packed, eye-opening, invaluable opportunity to learn about the complexities of foreign policy, the inner workings of the United Nations, and how it all intersects with the global mission to achieve gender equality.

A key highlight for Wellington Branch President Aleisha Amohia, the NGO delegate to the New Zealand Government delegation for CSW68, was having quality time and conversation with the talented, passionate NGO representatives from Aotearoa. It was also a blessing to spend so much time in the magic of New York City.

Aleisha is a technical lead and software developer in her day job, so she attended a number of side events which discussed digital equity, artificial intelligence, data, and the many ways in which technology tools and solutions can support women and gender equality initiatives. Aleisha also enjoyed events where young women, ethnic women, Indigenous women, and disabled women talked openly about their lives, and how the gender equality movement must consider their unique needs and ideas to be truly intersectional and transformational.

CSW68 and the current NZ political climate presents NCWNZ with a range of opportunities. Aleisha believes we need to strengthen our platform by:

  • Responding to Government decisions and consultations so that our positions are known and shared;
  • Collaborating with other NGOs so that our priorities can be aligned and supported; and,
  • Growing our membership to truly represent, and amplify the voices of, all New Zealand women.
CSW68 delegates from NCWs and ICW 2024
Members of National Councils of Women from around the world,
and the International Council of Women at CSW68.

Roundtable with Dr Natalia Kanem, UN Population Fund

On Monday 11 March 2024, Suzanne Manning (President of NCWNZ) and Mathilde Le Goff (Board administrator intern) attended a roundtable discussion with Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Under-Secretary-General.

Roundtable with Natalia Kanem, UNFPA, 2024

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Their mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. They work with partners in more than 150 countries to provide access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services. The goal of this agency is therefore to end unmet need for family planning, preventable maternal death and gender-based violence and harmful practices including child marriages and female genital mutilation by 2030.

Natalia Kanem, UNFPADr Natalia Kanem, the executive director of this agency, graduated from several degrees in History and Sciences, Medicine and Public Health in Epidemiology and did her studies in the United States. She began her career at the Johns Hopkins and Columbia University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Before joining the United Nations, she had many responsibilities and positions in Africa, all related to child’s protection and women’s reproductive health and sexuality. She has an amazing background of strategic leadership and management in the fields of medicine, public health, international peace and development, human rights, and social justice.

This meeting was the occasion to discuss different issues - sexual and reproductive rights, maternal mortality, abortion rights, the right to choose to have OR not have children, and what could be done to protect women and girls regarding those issues.

The meeting, which took place in a small group of around 15 people, provided an opportunity for constructive and valuable exchanges, as well as networking with very inspiring people. It's always super encouraging to see that in such important international organisations as the United Nations, there are competent people who know exactly what they're talking about. It's also very pleasing that they take the time to come and exchange with the various national stakeholders and share their experiences and points of view.

We would like to thank again the United Nations Association for this invitation, and Dr Natalia Kanem for her time, her expertise and for everything she does for women’s and children’s rights.

In Memoriam: Jean Fuller

Jean FullerJean Fuller
6 September 1934 – 5 March 2024

Born in Auckland, Jean grew up on a farm in Tuakau. Attending Auckland University, Jean graduated with an MA in English then taught at Hamilton Girl’s High School. With her husband Geoff, Jean settled in Karori where they had two boys. Once they had grown up, Jean returned to the workforce. Jean embraced computer technology at a time when most people didn’t want to know how to use them, learning computer programming in her early 50s and worked as a database/computer management assistant at the US Information Service from 1988-1999. She always shared her technical ability and knowledge with others, supporting her husband in the writing of legal texts and maintaining the online access to them.

Jean held a number of roles with the NZ Federation of Graduate Women, including National Secretary, Wellington newsletter editor, and supporting academic dress. She joined Parliamentary Watch Committee (PWC) in 2004, convening it from 2010-2014. In this role she provided training to NCWNZ’s Standing Committee Conveners and Board Members. Jean documented processes in a user-friendly manner, to ensure everyone understood everything. Her notes are still used today. Jean was superb at managing the interface between NCWNZ and Parliament, ensuring high quality submissions were presented on behalf of women.

Jean represented NCWNZ at Parliamentary Conferences and consultations with visiting MPs from Queensland and Bougainville. She was instrumental in NCWNZ’s campaign on retirement income, holding meetings with MPs from all political parties to present the issues women have achieving equity in retirement income.

Jean is remembered as:

  • a woman of principle
  • a lovely, gentle person, very astute, and measured of temperament
  • a real stalwart of PWC and NCWNZ
  • definitely one of the giants on whose shoulders we stand today
  • a very knowledgeable lady who willingly shared her wisdom
  • an intense, knowledgeable and passionate woman.
  • an incredible mentor and inspiring leader who was enthusiastic about the development of women
  • a quiet unassuming person with a rapier mind.
  • someone who fostered emergent leadership
  • being inspirational, enthusing people about their ability to make a change – encouraging people to want to make a difference.
  • strong, determined, kind, patient.

Her years of service, commitment and institutional knowledge will be missed.

Moe mai rā, e kuia.

Beryl Anderson

Education Report by Young-Ae Ha, Education Advisor of ICW

Young-Ae Ha, ICW Education AdvisorThe Education Action Hub recently received a paper forwarded from the International Council of Women (ICW). The paper was written by Young-Ae Ha PhD  who is the Education Advisor of ICW and professor at Humanitas College of Kyung Hee University of Korea.

Dr Young-Ae Ha urged us to study the ideologies of Young Seek Chou (1921-2016) of Korea and Daisaku Ikeda (1928-2023) of Japan. Both men founded universities in their respective countries, advocating the importance of “education for human society and peace.”

After World War II and in the height of the Cold War, Dr Choue proposed and co-founded the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP). The IAUP’s inaugural conference was held in Oxford University, United Kingdom in June 1965. Dr Choue worked with leaders of Costa Rica to enact in 1981 the International Day of Peace, and he promulgated the International Year of Peace in 1986. Though Korea was not a member of the United Nations, Dr. Choue petitioned 2,000 leaders around the world to support the bill. Today the UN encourages the world to celebrate September 21 as an International Day of Peace. Dr Ha asserted that Dr Choue emphasised nonviolent method of peace to overcome socio-economic problems in society – “and based on this, various doors such as freedom, equality, and co-prosperity in human society were presented.” The Graduate Institute of Peace Studies and the Institute of International Peace Studies brought scholars together to research peace and allowed for “fostering peace talent.” The Graduate Institute of Peace Studies won the Peace Education Award at UNESCO in 1993. Dr Choue wrote over 50 books, including Democratic Freedom, The Creation of a Civilized World, Reconstruction of the Human Society, and Oughtopia.

Meanwhile, Mr Daisaku Ikeda served as a leader in the Soka Gakkai Buddhist movement in Japan and undertook studies of peace. Dr Ha wrote that President Ikeda “emphasized human dignity and placed importance on 'one-on-one dialogue and human education.'” He met with leaders of China and the Soviet Union because he believed in direct dialogue, citizen diplomacy, to bring about peace. See more about his regular petitions for peace and justice submitted to the UN at his website:

Dr Ha wrote that these two men “put the core values of the ideology of educational peace into practice with the peace of mankind… [and] left a great mark in the history of world peace.”  She concluded that understanding the work of these two men clarifies for us today “the importance of education and peace and the role of the United Nations, especially at a time when women and children suffer the most in today's escalating wars and conflicts.”

Some of what's happening at local branches

Gabriela Aotearoa IWD 2024Two members of the Manukau Branch of NCW attended the International Women's Day multicultural event on 8 March 2024 held by the Filipino alliance of women's organisations called Gabriela Aotearoa. The event was part of the "One Billion Rising" celebration for 2024. According to their website: "We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by violence [against women]. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable."

The day started with an emphasis on creativity and sustainability. An inspiring session on upcycling and crafting with the ReCreators provided the opportunity to transform everyday items into beautiful crafts. We also attended presentations by three remarkable speakers who shared their journeys, struggles and triumphs as women. Speakers included Leonie Morris of Auckland Women’s Centre; Hina Nasir, Human Rights and Women Empowerment Advocate; and, Drokshan Shadan, Women’s Rights and Refugee Rights Advocate.

At the interactive workshop, we had the chance to share our own experiences, listen others and discuss ways we can support each other in our journeys as women. We moved into small groups to discuss: “What are the biggest challenges that you face as a woman in New Zealand?” These challenges included language, getting a job and in some cases getting their men to change their ways and this too was related to equality. A Māori woman who played the guitar made up a song and changed the word 'woman' to 'womyn' as she was not happy with the word in its present format.

And then – there was Zumba! We danced together with a cause and be a part of the global One Billion Rising movement. Dance is a vibrant expression of freedom and solidarity. Delicious coffee with biscuits was provided on arrival; and, after these sessions, lunch was enjoyed by all.

It was a very enjoyable event. For us it was like a world-first because nearly every woman we spoke to was an immigrant. They had come to New Zealand from such countries as Afghanistan, China, India, Japan, Germany, Samoa, Korea, Philippines, Sri Lanka. Very brave women.

Judi Goldsworthy,
Branch President, Manukau NCWNZ

This International Women's Day 2024, the Wellington Branch of the National Council of Women NZ held the Gender Equal NZ Speaker Series. The GENZ Conf was a one-day virtual event for rangatahi to design their gender equal future for Aotearoa and think about how to achieve it.

IWD 2024 webinar from Wellington branch
A screenshot from the Gender Equal NZ Speaker Series: IWD 2024 recording.

The Wellington Branch of the National Council of Women NZ was excited to host the Gender Equal NZ Conference Speaker Series for this International Women's Day 2024. This was an opportunity to hear from some incredible Wellington-based wāhine about the work they do and how they're trying to make a more Gender Equal Aotearoa.

Wellington Branch President Aleisha Amohia MC’ed the session and introduced the audience to a fantastic line-up of speakers:

  • Mira Karunanidhi - a Barrister & Solicitor who is actively involved voluntary roles at the United Nations Association of New Zealand, Multiethnic Young Leaders New Zealand, Asian Law Students Association, UN Women, Wellington Community Justice Project, her local Community Trust Board and her high school’s Old Girls Association.
  • Caitlin Taylor-Maddock - a passionate advocate for youth empowerment in politics, and Communications Team Leader for the Make it 16 campaign for three years.
  • Cha’nel Kaa-Luke - an advocate for the Deaf community. They were a Youth Delegate at the WFDYS Youth General Assembly and a Semi-finalist in the Young New Zealander of the Year 2024.
  • Zoe Ferguson - a third generation deaf woman and the chairperson for the Deaf Aotearoa Youth Board.
  • Elizabeth Hodgson - a Wellington-based film producer who runs Little Lizard Productions and Co-Founder and Co-Executive Producer of Snap Shot Shorts, a short film series that aims to bridge the gap between working professionals and young upcoming filmmakers who are just starting their industry journey.
  • Yessenia Sandoval - runs Endo Warriors Aotearoa, a charitable organisation with a mission to raise awareness and provide education on endometriosis and menstruation. The charity provides support and medical care for individuals affected by endometriosis, combating period poverty, and offering free products to those in need.
  • Bethany Mataiti - a coordinator of the Pacific Climate Warriors, Te Whanganui-a-Tara team who is fighting for climate justice for her friends and family in the Cook Islands who are experiencing the direct impacts of climate change.

The webinar recording can be viewed online on the NCWNZ YouTube page:

This just in from Anne McCarthy: NCW Manawatu has created a new Facebook site. If you haven't already, please have a look at it:

and show your likes. We appreciate your support, thanks.

NCWNZ Action Hubs

Members of the Education Action Hub - Randolph Hollingworth, Louise Tapper, Anne McCarthy, Rae Duff - and invited attendees Rachel Dixon, University of Canterbury; Liz Gordon, independent researcher; Ragnar Anderson and Fiona McNamara from Sexual Wellbeing and Health - met online on April 19th. The focus of the meeting was to discuss how we might collaborate to advocate about the decision from the coalition government to remove and replace the Relationships and Sexuality Guidelines in schools. This included discussions about NCWNZ's ongoing campaign around consent education. It was a positive discussion of the shared concerns from group members. The group will draft a letter to send to the Ministry of Education and relevant Ministers outlining these shared concerns, and asking for more detailed information about what plans the Minister/Ministry have to replace the Guidelines, if they are removed.


IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action HubThe International Action Hub created a series of messages to be sent out to the NCWNZ Communications Team as well as the other Action Hubs so that it could be shared on social media in celebration of International Women's Day 2024. The theme this year was "Invest in women: Accelerate progress."

The Hub convenor, Eva Hartshorn-Sanders worked with an illustrator to create images that show girls and women at different stages of life and how they are impacted by poverty. The Hub hoped that the messages would encourage people to understand why investing in women and women’s organisations is important.

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - SUDI

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - disabled kids

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - LGBTQI+

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - pay gap

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - disabled

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - homeless

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - KiwiSaver

IWD2024 social media campaign from Intl Action Hub - intro



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

Resources to share in meetings and with your networks

The outcome of the Commission on the Status of Women’s consideration of the priority theme during its 68th session (2024) took the form of agreed conclusions, negotiated by all Member States. The Commission adopted agreed conclusions on “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective” on 22 March 2024.

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Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission has told the Court of Appeal that Aotearoa New Zealand’s current hate speech law is discriminatory. The Court was hearing the case brought by Russell Hoban, who is seeking a declaration that the country’s hate speech law is discriminatory because it only protects people against hate speech on the grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origin, but not sexual orientation. Read more about this, and past events involving hate speech:

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The Mental Health Foundation is calling for allies to sign their open letter, which asks the Coalition Government to retain current relationships and sexuality education (RSE) guidelines in schools and kura. The letter will be available online for public signatures until Pink Shirt Day on May 17 - a day which focuses on reducing bullying by celebrating diversity.

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The We Are Beneficiaries archive of digital artwork and online posts demonstrates how social media can raise awareness of issues of concern in the community and help work towards change. The fully digital collection records a project that amplifies the voices of social welfare beneficiaries, who often struggle to have their experiences recognised or understood by those with greater privilege in their lives. See more on this resource at

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The Manaaki Collective is a supportive community of every-day New Zealanders who stand for safe discussions and work towards Tiriti justice, racial justice, environmental justice and social justice. "We have come together out of concern for the safety of campaigners and rights defenders in our nation, and the lack of protection that they are receiving from our government to carry out the vital human and environmental rights work for our nation to progress towards our vision of an equitable, just, safe, Tiriti-centered nation." See their website at

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Rachael Dixon et al., "What would it take for relationships and sexuality education to be enacted meaningfully and responsively? Provocations informed by New Zealand policy and teachers’ perspectives," Sex Education (April 2024): 1–16. Open access to article for download available at


Readings to consider

From RNZ News - Education Ministry cuts: Roles providing support for disabled kids among those proposed to be axed

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The Backbone Collective recently launched a report on police activities involving victim-survivors of family, partner or sexual violence. The Main report and the Summary report are both available on their organisation’s websites ( and

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Stats NZ ended the nation's first-of-its-kind survey gathering key child poverty data.  The Living in Aotearoa survey was the largest panel survey on income and living conditions collected in New Zealand, and after just two rounds of interviews, cost-cutting across the public service sector has cancelled this important study of persistent poverty using longitudinal data. See the article by Laura Walters at

Stories to celebrate

The 20th anniversary of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers in October will launch a new book: Grandmothers' Wisdom: Living Portrayals from the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Pre-order at


Moana Maniapoto interviewed Professor Margaret Mutu at the Samoa House in late March. "The upbeat feeling was welcome and perhaps surprising, given the unprecedented attacks on Māori rights by the current government – but Margaret sees many reasons to hope." Read more about the event - and watch the video - on the Auckland Women's Center blog:


Shepherdess Series One "Three Women on the Land" returns to free-to-air TV, Sky Open (formerly Prime), Wednesdays at 8pm. "Each week we visit a different town or settlement and in each place, we explore the women’s sense of self, her whānau, her community, and the landscape in which she lives."

Dates to note for May 2024

1 May - Graduate Women New Zealand seeks applicants for fellowships and scholarships - see more at

2 May - New Zealand Women’s Leadership Symposium, Auckland; get tickets at

4 May - Adoption of the Outcome Report on New Zealand’s human rights performance as part of the fourth Universal Periodic Review of New Zealand will be held in Geneva (NZST: 1.30am to 4pm). All of these documents are available on the NZ NGO UPR site at under the ‘New Zealand's Universal Periodic Review: 4th cycle, 2023 – 2024’ heading, and you can watch live at

9 May - Researchers featured in forum on Domestic Violence, 5.30 - 7pm,Auditorium, Trades Hall Building, 147 Great North Rd, Auckland; If attending, please register To see the live stream, visit

9-10 May - 2024 UN Civil Society Conference meets in Nairobi; Joy Dunsheath MNZM JP of the  NCWNZ International Action Hub is a delegate - see concept note here

15 May - International Day of Families

16 May - International Day of Living Together in Peace

18 May - Pacific National Councils of Women Forum - online, register here:

21 May - World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

22 May International Day for Biological Diversity

23 MayInternational Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Quotation to ponder

When in a tough conversation, use your "pass the butter" voice.

Tania Hodges, during a webinar "Decolonising via Maori Leadership"
(March 17, 2024)
2024 Te Tiriti-based Futures + Anti-racism conference

Whakataukī to share

Ka ora pea i a koe,
ka ora koe i au.

Perhaps I survive because of you, and you survive because of me.

Survival of the community is essential to the well-being of all individual members of the community.

Mead, H.M. and N Grove, Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tīpuna (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2001): 26.



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 the newsletter managing editor, Randolph Hollingsworth, at [email protected].

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