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.

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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.

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Half of New Zealand Honours Awarded to Women

The National Council of Women NZ - Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa is delighted that the immense contribution women make to our community and society has been recognised in the recent Queens Birthday Honours, where women received 52% of the awards.

On average, women have been awarded 49% of the Queen’s Birthday Honours over the past five years, Suzanne Manning, President of NCWNZ, says. “These awards acknowledge the voluntary and often unsung contribution women make in so many areas of New Zealand life,” Dr Manning said.

“NCWNZ congratulates the 89 women who received awards, and especially those who are associated with the Te Kaunihera Wahine, such as Carol Beaumont, an NCWNZ Board member, and other women who belong to organisations that are affiliated with NCWNZ.

“We are pleased, too, that for the first time a person receiving an award has been identified as intersex.”


See more for an analysis of the Awards by sex and category; For media enquiries please contact 022 655 6512

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Calling for NCWNZ Aspiring Board Member applications

Applications for NCWNZ Aspiring Board Member now open

Role:  Aspiring Board Member
Term: 8 months, until Conference February 2022
Location: National position 
Closes: 31 May 2021

Applications are invited for the Aspiring Board Member position until Conference at February 2022.

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 - as an Aspiring Board Member. Building on our 125 year history of advocating for social change, we’re in the midst of re-positioning ourselves to finish the job Kate started, and you could be a part of our new movement.

The Aspiring Board Member opportunity provides people with governance potential and ambition the opportunity to participate on a board and gain governance experience. It also provides the NCWNZ board with exposure to new talent, ideas and experiences. We are looking for an action-orientated professional committed to our cause and our organisation, with proven skills in financial management/strategy, including reporting, audit oversight and budgeting.

It is desirable to have any of:

  • Skills in business enterprise, growth and investment
  • Skills Fundraising, sponsorship and revenue diversification 
  • A tertiary qualification in a finance and commerce-related field
  • Membership of NCWNZ or knowledge of the organisation

In addition to governance, you will also contribute to the operations of NCWNZ, especially in the area of finance, audit and risk. 

Our current pro bono board meets monthly by zoom, and the commitment from each board member averages around 8 hours per week. 

The Board wishes to reflect the diverse nature of our population. Applicants representing tangata whenua, as well those representing minority ethnic groups are desired. For more information see the NCWNZ Skills and Diversity Matrix Policy 

To apply, please send a cover letter with a short explanation of why you would like to be considered for the role (no longer than 500 words) and your current CV to [email protected] by 31 May 2021.


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Gender Justice Collective launch campaign to prioritise National Womens Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan

In 2020, UN Women launched its report, “Women´s Rights in Review 25 years after Beijing”, a comprehensive stock-take on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, which remains the most comprehensive agenda for gender equality ever agreed. Despite extraordinary global challenges today, the report proves that positive change is possible, as shown by the success of women’s collective action to obtain accountability for crimes against them and the flourishing of feminist movements across the world. 

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New dates for 2020 Conference

As was advised to members recently, the Board and Conference Committee have had to postpone the 2020 NCWNZ Conference and AGM. We have rescheduled the conference for Saturday/Sunday 27/28 February 2021. This takes account of the holiday season while still allowing the conference committee to finalise further details and allow branches to have a meeting before conference.

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NCWNZ Conference to be postponed

The Board decided on 11th November, that despite the best efforts of our small conference organising team of volunteers, we are unable to proceed with the NCWNZ Conference on 20 & 21 November. We thank them for their efforts thus far.

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Applications for NCWNZ Board now open

Role:  Board Members (3) 
Term: 3 years 
Location: National position 
Closes: noon 21 September  

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

Do you believe in a Gender Equal New Zealand?  If so, consider becoming a Board member of New Zealand’s iconic gender equality organisation – the National Council of Women New Zealand, founded by Kate Sheppard. 

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Second Gender Attitudes survey shows surprising shifts amongst Kiwis

The National Council of Women of New Zealand has released the second Gender Equal NZ Gender Attitudes survey.

The research, undertaken every second year by Research NZ, aims to provide an ongoing gauge of attitudes towards gender in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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