President’s Kōrero, December 2023

Tēnā tātou katoa,

Every time I have sat down to write this kōrero for you, NCWNZ members, I have been pulled away by something else that arrives in my email! Often it is an invitation to be involved with a group or event that aligns with our kaupapa, which is a positive sign. An example is our recent invitation to meet with the Commission of Inquiry for COVID-19: lessons learnt. I attended this meeting with VP Betty Ofe-Grant, Raewyn Stone, and Rayane Al Faraj, and we shared the 2020 position paper that had input from members across NCWNZ. the organisation. It shows the worth of us collecting our stories at the time. The Inquiry members asked thoughtful questions and listened well to what we had to say. I personally was very proud of the input that we were able to give, representing a wide range of women in Aotearoa. This is our organisation’s purpose, so it felt good to be able to fulfil that purpose.

In other news, we will be hosting the President of the National Council of Women of Australia, Chiou See Anderson, in Wellington in December. She will be here for one day, and we will have a morning tea at our premises to allow Wellington-based members to meet her. Chiou See and I have been developing our relationship as Presidents of sister organisations over the last two years, and it will be a great pleasure to finally meet her in person.

In November we had our first Board hui with the new Board, in-person at our premises in Wellington. We were able to welcome Betty as our new Vice President, Jean Nuku as a new Board member, and Katie Thomas as the new Aspiring Board member – you can read all about it in this NCWNZ News article on the website. It was great to start to get to know each other. We discussed the major things we wanted to do in the year ahead (aside from our usual advocacy work) and agreed that we would prioritise:

  • Constitutional Review: forming a committee to review the constitution that has been in place for 18 months and making recommendations for improvements.
  • Website refresh: to make the most of the capability of our existing website and database, we need to assess where improvements can be made, and then look to update and refresh the content.
  • Action Hubs: supporting Action Hubs with their campaigns, and discussing the possibility of a “Justice Action Hub”.
  • Training programme: supporting our volunteers with a variety of training opportunities. Te Tiriti o Waitangi: setting up a sub-committee to progress awareness and education about our commitment to Te Tiriti, and how we can implement our new policy.

We also re-allocated the roles of Board liaison to the Action Hubs:

  • Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability: Kerri Du Pont
  • Economic Independence: Betty Ofe-Grant
  • Education: Suzanne Manning
  • Influence and Decision-making: Katie Thomas
  • International: Anmar Taufeek
  • Safety, Health and Wellbeing: Jean Nuku

Note that Board member Carol Beaumont is focusing on Board governance work only, due to personal circumstances. The new Board members are all looking forward to working with members next year to advance gender equality in whatever ways possible.

We’re also delighted to announce the NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch branch has provisionally agreed to host our AGM in October next year! We look forward to being able to meet you all in person, to have some inspiring speakers and stimulating discussions, and celebrate our special people with Distinguished Service Awards. Details are yet to be finalised, but we wanted you to know what was being planned.

The old adage that “all good things must come to an end” is also relevant at this time. I regret to inform the wider membership that our new National Life Member, Jane Prichard, and Anne Rodger, Life Member of Dunedin Branch, have both recently passed away. These wāhine toa are part of the fabric NCWNZ, with involvement in women’s causes for decades and achievement lists that run pages long. Moe mai rā, e rangatira.

Suzanne Manning with Rayane Al Faraj and Vanisa Dhiru's partner Rakesh Naidoo at Phoenix Football 2023We also farewell Rayane Al Faraj, who is finishing her internship with us on 15 December. She will now travel around New Zealand and Australia with her sister before returning to France, and her next adventure will be in a University in South Korea for a semester. It’s been a pleasure working with Rayane. Suzanne Manning with Rayane Al Faraj and Harita Kushyap-Ghandi from Wellington branch at Melbourne Cup 2023 Here are a couple of photos of memorable occasions – the opening match of the Phoenix Football Women’s season where we met up Rakesh Naidoo (former NCWNZ President Vanisa Dhiru’s partner), and the Melbourne Cup Day event at the Australian High Commission where we met up with Harita Kushyap-Ghandi from Wellington branch.

The summer holiday season is almost upon us, with all the cultural, religious and family traditions that we have developed over the years. Whatever it is that you are planning, I hope that it brings you joy, and that this holiday time leaves you all refreshed and inspired.

Ngā mihi,

Suzanne Manning (she/her)
Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa - National Council of Women New Zealand


To read more articles from The Circular (November-December 2023) issue 644, click on the tag below.
Tag for Issue 644


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