President’s Kōrero, April 2022

Portrait of Suzanne Manning 2022
Suzanne Manning, President,
National Council of Women of New Zealand

Ngā mihi nui e te whānau o Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa.

It feels great to be writing to all you NCWNZ members – and potential members – via the refreshed Circular.

Thanks to Randolph Hollingsworth who has volunteered to take on the role of Circular editor. Randolph is a historian and academic administrator who worked in the United Stakes for many years. Being a staunch feminist, she was also involved in a variety of US feminist groups, and has a keen interest in suffrage histories. Now living in Auckland and enjoying spending time with her daughter and their family, Randolph is putting her considerable talents into historical and feminist projects. We are lucky that she is an NCWNZ member and that the Circular is one of her projects.

Randolph has worked with Board members Kerri Du Pont, Nina Santos and myself to define what the refreshed Circular will look like in this digital age, and how we can make the best use of technology in its design and distribution. We hope you like it! We decided not to use the Circular for notices and Action Items, which will continue to be sent via Member emails as they have been for some time now. Rather, the Circular will tell our stories – stories of individual members, of organised branch events, Action Hub campaign milestones, achievements of organisational members, and relevant stories from other organisations whose kapuapa aligns with our own. Our intention is to publish the Circular about every two months. However, both the frequency, format and content will continue to be refined over time – a dynamic Circular for a dynamic organisation! So we need your stories. Please send them to [email protected].

Since I became President last year, my role has focused mainly on streamlining operational processes and catching up on accountability responsibilities. A huge milestone was achieved when we passed our new constitution at the April Special General Meeting. For this we are indebted to the work of Board member Carol Beaumont, Sustainability Coordinator Soraiya Daud, and the rest of the Constitution Committee members: Alyesha Asif, Beryl Anderson, Johanna Cogle, Margaret Cook, Christine Low, and Betty Ofe-Grant. We are also grateful for the financial support and encouragement for this work by the Ministry for Women.

We still have to operationalise the new Constitution, however it is exciting to be able to spend more time with an external focus, in our efforts to make gender equality a reality in Aotearoa. Here is a sample of that work from my perspective, three recent activities I’ve been involved in.

Suzanne Manning presenting on the Gender Attitudes Survey results, March 2022
Suzanne Manning presenting on Gender Attitudes survey
at Violence Against Women seminar, March 2022


Suzanne Manning Querobine Lacey Aleisha Amohia Rob McCann 2022
(left-right) Suzanne Manning, Querobine Lacey,
Aleisha Amohia, Rob McCann

Last November, we were invited by Querobine Lacey of the Philippines Embassy to speak at a Violence Against Women (VAW) seminar in Wellington, and I went along with the Wellington branch president Aleisha Amohia, where she spoke to the group with great effect.

As a follow on, I was invited in March this year to speak at a VAW seminar for the ASEAN group (comprised of the resident missions in Wellington of Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). I had the opportunity to talk about our Gender Attitudes survey, and meet up again with Rob McCann from White Ribbon. Sitting at our table was Jesus Domingo, Ambassador for The Philippines, and he was delighted to hear that Nina Santos had joined the Board of NCWNZ, and spoke highly of her. It’s great to see our Board members making impact like that.

A totally different interaction was with Katie Harris and Georgia Wright, from Balmacewen Intermediate School in Dunedin. The office often gets queries from school students wanting information for school projects, and Joni Tomsett, our office volunteer, does a good job of answering those emails. These girls, however, were making a podcast and wanted to interview me. You can listen to the final podcast "Brave voices, Bold actions!" on here. It was wonderful to be talking to these young feminists.

Finally, Aleisha and I teamed up again to make a video to send to the May General Assembly of the International Council of Women, inviting them to come and hold the Executive Committee and Asia Pacific Region meetings in Wellington in September 2023. The decision will be made at that General Assembly.

Aleisha Amohia featured in video for International Council of Women
Aleisha Amohia filmed by Video Taxi
in invitation to ICW to meet in Wellington in 2023

We were supported by Wellington Events and Tourism NZ who are keen to promote holding international conferences in Wellington, and they provided a professional videographer. Jason from Video Taxi filmed us next to the Kate Sheppard artwork at the National Library. This was a welcome diversion to all the ‘working from home’ I’ve been doing in the past months. Aleisha took a cool time lapse video of the filming, which should make its way onto the Wellington branch Instagram account in due course.

Thank you for all your support for NCWNZ, and we hope you enjoy the new Circular. Please continue to send in your stories so that we can all see the richness of this organisation.

The Circular banner cropped

Use the links below to read more stories from The Circular (April 2022, Issue 634)


  • Suzanne Manning
    published this page in The Circular 2022-04-25 21:59:32 +1200

Get involved locally - connect Be generous - donate Keep up to date - news