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.

Suffrage day media 2021

National Council of Women branches around the country have been celebrating Suffrage Day 2021, some by reaching out to the media. We celebrate the mahi of our knowledgeable writers along with the media journalists and editors who help us tell our story to the world. Check out these articles written by Southland branch writers for the Southland Times, and by Whanganui writers for the Whanganui Chronicle and the River City Press: 

Are we there yet? The road to women's rights is long but we will get there (Margaret Cook)

Imagine life without fear of being judged (Rebecca Amundsen)

Hope for the inclusion of all cultures in New Zealand (Lyn Devery)

Ongoing work by women's organisations part of equality solution (Vanya Bailey)

Empowering women is a step towards nondiscrimination (Bev Chesney)


The ongoing struggle for women's rights in New Zealand (Carla Donson)

125 years of National Council of Women of NZ (Jenny Saywood - 16th Sep 2021, p. 8)



Suffrage and Afghanistan

NCWNZ calls on government to increase its support for Afghan women on Suffrage Day 2021

On the 128th anniversary of New Zealand women being the first in the world to win the right to vote, the National Council of Women Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa is concerned at the fragility of women’s rights around the world, and how easily rights that have been hard-won over decades can be erased, the President of NCWNZ, Dr Suzanne Manning, said today.

“We are particularly concerned at the situation in Afghanistan, where there are reports of ongoing human rights abuses, of women losing their basic right to education and employment, being excluded from society and forced to retreat into their homes,” Dr Manning said.

“We are calling on our government on Suffrage Day 2021 to announce additional measures to support women and girls in Afghanistan, and for the evacuation of at-risk Afghanis – especially women and girls who were associated with Aotearoa New Zealand’s mission in Afghanistan,” Dr Manning said.

“We support the call by numerous organisations and leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand for the government to increase the number of Afghanistan refugees we admit, to prioritise applications from women and girls, and to expedite the processing of Refugee Family Support visas and Critical Purpose Visitor visas.”

“We are also adding our voice to the voices of women leaders around the world who are calling for the government of Afghanistan to refrain from violence against women and girls and to uphold the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan,” Dr Manning said.

Even as we recognise our suffrage history and the work of suffragists and wāhine toa before us, we must also acknowledge that there is still much work to be done to achieve equality and better lives for women in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.

For further information contact:

Dr Suzanne Manning, President, NCWNZ

[email protected]

022 655 6512

125 Postponement

Our original plans for celebrating the 125th birthday of the National Council of Women - Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa  on Monday 20 September have been postponed, due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. We will celebrate at a rescheduled event when we can be sure that our whānau from Tāmaki Makaurau can join us.

50 Years a Feminist

Fifty Years a Feminist by Sue Kedgley

Massey University Press, 2021

Book review by Prudence Stone

Sisterhood is powerful: Sue Kedgley makes that clear in her new book Fifty Years a Feminist. I found this not just an exciting read, full of fun stories of meeting, planning, arguing, gathering, marching, but an inclusive read. I may not have been at Auckland University in 1971, or working for the UN in my thirties, but in that global movement that Sue was leading, I was taking part, I too was frustrated, confounded, undertaking my feminist crusades and breaking my own personal glass ceilings. That’s what I found compelling from start to finish; the book really helped me re-member myself a feminist, and in remembering, really made me proud.

In the book, Sue mentions a psycho-social phenomenon for second-wave feminists I had almost completely forgotten about. The ‘click’, that moment that came to so many girls growing up Pākehā in Aotearoa New Zealand in the middle of last century, who consciously named themselves feminist thereafter. The click comes with that first, incredulous ‘why?’ For Sue, it came through reading her first book of feminist literature. In perfect form, she would read it with a sister-friend and “spend hours…discussing its ideas and relating it to our everyday lives”. After her click, Sue recounts, she began to see sexism everywhere she looked. The truth is, sexism was everywhere in Pākehā New Zealand - all that changed was your own capability to see it.

Sue looks back on a career deeper than simply feminist; a “last minute mother”, a writer, journalist and documentary maker, an environmentalist and animal welfare activist, a successful politician and influential board member, still involved in feminism while celebrating the new guard of tech-native millennials now at its helm. There is still so much to do and there should be no inference from the book’s title that Sue rests at 50 years. Now comes the wisdom from all that experience to advise us where to from here, in her usual upfront fashion. It’s in light of this that I wholeheartedly recommend this book as a gift, particularly to all brothers, fathers, uncles or any other men friends in your environment.

Read full book review

Seeking NCWNZ Board members

Coopting two Board Members

The Nominations Committee is calling for two more Board members to be co-opted until the February 2022 conference. The advertisement can be found here and applications should be sent to [email protected] by noon 27 August.


Admin assistance

As we work with our growing operational team of volunteers, we are refining the roles we think we need. The Board would now like to call for people to fill two admin roles: one is that of Board administrator (board admin job description here), and one is to maintain our membership database (database admin job description here). We can provide training and support for these roles, and you would provide a good level of computing skill, attention to detail and a commitment to being part of a team. 

Trans rights statement

In response to: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/anti-trans-billboard-removed-wellingtons-cbd; https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/olympics/300341792/laurel-hubbard-faces-nowin-situation-if-she-succeeds-at-tokyo-olympics 

National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) affirms its stance on inclusion for trans women
Recent media stories have highlighted the challenges that trans and non-binary people still face to their right to self-identify their gender. NCWNZ is a feminist organisation that believes in equality for all genders.

Read more

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