National Council of Women of New Zealand Celebrates 125 years

NCWNZ-celebrating 125 years

Descendants of suffragists Kate Sheppard and Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, will be present at a special event in Parliament on 13 September 2022 to celebrate the 125-year anniversary of the National Council of Women of New Zealand, Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa, one of the leading women’s organisations in New Zealand.

“The National Council of Women has a long and proud history of promoting women’s equality,” Suzanne Manning, President of NCWNZ said today. “But it’s extraordinary that over 125 years later, New Zealand women have still not achieved some of the changes our foremothers campaigned for, such as equal pay for work of equal value, protection for low-paid workers and economic independence.” 

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Applications for new Board member now open

Hands up for NCWNZ Board

Role: Board Member
Term: 3 years
Location: National position
Closes: noon 21 August 2022

Applications are invited for a board member for the period of up to three years.

Do you believe in a Gender Equal New Zealand? If so, this is an exciting opportunity to join the board of New Zealand’s iconic gender equality organisation founded by Kate Sheppard – the National Council of Women New Zealand Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa.

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Rising misogyny sparks call for review of Act

Event title and headshots of panellists.


In our Countering Misogyny webinar in July, NCW's Influence and Decision Making Action Hub hosted a brave and inspiring discussion on the horrendous misogyny faced by women.

Panellists Sara Templeton, Miningarangi Forbes, Ali Mau and Kate Hannah shared their stories and insights into this resurgent area of concern for women in Aotearoa New Zealand. But it's clear there much more work we need to do.

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The US Supreme Court Abortion Decision: A Step Back for Women’s Rights

Activist banner, "Fight for Roe v Wade likes [sic] it's 1973!"

The National Council of Women New Zealand, Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa (NCWNZ) joins with Abortion Law Reform New Zealand (ALRANZ) in condemning the United States Supreme Court judgment that overturns Roe v Wade.

“This is a massive set-back for women’s reproductive rights and we feel for American women and the grief and anguish they must be experiencing," NCWNZ President Dr Suzanne Manning said. "Banning abortions won’t make abortions disappear. It will only drive abortion underground, increase risk and escalate major health issues for women. Poor women, women of colour, disabled women and LGBTIQ people will be the worst affected."


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Remembering Dame Miriam Dell

It is with great sadness that we honour and acknowledge the passing of our Dame Miriam Dell ONZ DBE JP. Dame Miriam was at the forefront of women’s issues in New Zealand and internationally for more than three decades. She was a fierce champion for women's advancement and gender equality, and has been a life member of NCWNZ since 1982.

Among her many roles and accolades, Dame Miriam will also be remembered as a Founding Member and Past President of the Hutt Valley Branch of the NCW and a Member of the national body. Her natural flair for leadership saw her elected National President of the National Council of Women from 1970 to 1974, where she led many initiatives such as being the NZ coordinator of the UN International Women's Year in 1975, and Chair of the Suffrage Centennial Year Trust in 1993. She was also elected as President of the International Council of Women, the first New Zealander to achieve this distinction.

Dame Miriam Dell was the New Zealand Government Delegate to all three UN Conferences for the Decade for Women in the 1970s. She was also the first Chairperson of the Committee on Women – what is now Manatū Wāhine, Ministry for Women, New Zealand.

We are deeply saddened by this news, but we know that Dame Miriam's legacy lives on. Thank you Dame Miriam for your service and contributions to women in Aotearoa. 

Make a Splash conference

Making a Splash

National Council of Women of NZ - Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa Conference
19 Feb 2021

All members are invited to attend the one day, online conference being hosted by the Southland Branch. The programme for the day can be found here.

Registration is as simple as emailing [email protected] with:

  • Your name and "NIM" (individual members)
  • Your branch, the names of your attendees, and indicate the voting delegates (branches)
  • Your organisation name, the names of your attendees, and indicate your voting delegate (organisational members)

For more information, see the members communications that will be sent out during the next week. 

Equal Earrings

Here at Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa/The National Council of Women NZ, we are often inspired by the fabulous young women who do things to support our Gender Equal campaign.

These students from Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka took part in a Young Enterprise Scheme, selling homemade clay earrings, and then donated 10% of their profits to Gender Equal. We are appreciative and impressed. You can read more about them here. 


In the North Island, Taradale High School students Marjolaine and Hannah organised a local charity wash as part of a social studies 'social action' unit, and donated their profits to Gender Equal. This sort of flaxroots support for our mahi leaves us grateful that there are so many people who care. 

Thank you to these students, and to all our other supporters and donors. We couldn't do it without you. 

Mind the Gap - Equal pay campaign

Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act of 1972, and 125 years after the first meeting of the National Council of Women NZ/ Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa called for Equal Pay for all genders, there is still a pay gap where women are paid on average 9% less than men (based on the median hourly rate). The gap between a Pasifika woman and a Pākehā man is more than 27%.

To push for more momentum on this critical equality issue, 35 organisations (including women's organisations like NCWNZ, unions and BusinessNZ) have joined forces in a new campaign: Mind the Gap. NCWNZ Board member, Carol Beaumont, was interviewed by RNZ The Detail on this important kaupapa. You can read about it and listen to the interview here.

Afghanistan women

Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa/The National Council of Women of NZ and UN Women Aotearoa wrote a joint letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister Nanaia Mahuta, adding our voices to those of other women's groups calling for continued and extended action to support women and girls in Afghanistan. Our letter can be read here.

We have received a reply from the Minister, in which we were pleased to hear that our government is continuing to take action in this humanitarian crisis. These actions have included "issu[ing] visas to a number of vulnerable Afghan nationals, including human rights defenders, women judges and those from ethnic minority communities at risk", providing targeted assistance to the UN Population Fund (UNPF) and Children's Fund (UNICEF) for services for women and girls, and making statements in international fora, calling for the protection of women's rights in Afghanistan. You can read Minister Mahuta's letter here

Interactions like this between civil society/NGOs and the government are important, to provide transparency on the government's actions and to give clear indications to the government on what civil society considers important. We are an interconnected global village, and gender equality should not be a privilege only available to a lucky minority.  

Dame Catherine Tizard

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Dame Catherine Tizard today, a former Patron of Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa – the National Council of Women of NZ.
The Honourable Dame Catherine was an inspiring trailblazer and in her life and career received many honours for her contributions in public and community service.
In 1971, she became the first woman Mayor of Auckland. In 1985 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 1989 she was the first woman in New Zealand to hold the post of Governor General. As part of her tenure as Governor General, Dame Catherine ended the practice of bowing to the governor-general on the grounds that "no New Zealander should have to bow to another."
She was also a recipient of the Suffrage Centennial Medal in 1993 and received New Zealand's highest honour when she was made a member of the Order of New Zealand in 2002. After leaving public office, she worked tirelessly for community causes. When asked about what she'd like her legacy to be, she once said, "To the best of my ability I tried to do some good, tried to make people's lives better in whatever way I could."
Thank you, Dame Catherine, for your long and distinguished service.

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