In Memoriam: Heather Marion Smith

Heather Marion SmithHeather Marion Smith’s life was dedicated to economic as well as political sovereignty through decades of submissions both oral and written to councils, select committees, public fora and newspapers. She served as convenor of the Economics Standing Committee for National Council of Women of New Zealand for two terms, delivering well researched information on issues relating to her brief.

A member of the Whanganui NCWNZ Branch, she attended many Whanganui District Council meetings and regularly presented submissions through the Council’s Annual Plan process. Heather raised many issues and challenged the thinking at branch meetings.  It was rewarding for the Branch during the period Heather was the Convenor of the Economic Standing Committee.  

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Climate Change Action Hub Hosted Ayushi Kachhara

AyushiKachhara-LinkedInProfile2022The NCWNZ Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability (CCES) Action Hub held an online meeting on 21 November 2022 at 7 p.m. with Christine Caughey serving as CCES Hub Convenor. Caughey welcomed Ayushi Kachhara, air quality specialist working in the engineering consultancy, WSP. Her topic was “Reducing air pollution could result in lower climate impacts. So where is the hurdle?”

Kachhara outlined the origins of many of the air quality contaminants emitted every day from business, industrial, transport, domestic and other activities. She focused not only on the human health impacts including premature deaths, but also on the impacts on the natural and ecological environments.

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Webinar: Women Changing the World, in the Past and Today

Banner for International Hub webinar 4 Dec 2022A discussion hosted by the International Action Hub of the National Council of Women of New Zealand and sponsored by the Pacific Women’s Watch NZ was held via the NCWNZ Zoom on Sunday, December 4th at 2 p.m. New Zealand Time. The panel of four women from around the world examined current and past roles of women's organisations in collaborative efforts at an international level to create lasting social change. The event was chaired by Carol Beaumont, NCWNZ Board member, and the live webinar included sign language interpreters. 

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Chart: Student Attendance Rates in 2022

Statistics on students' attendance from state and state integrated schools in Aotearoa New Zealand have become a discussion of importance to political elections. School attendance and truancy are much more than a politician's talking points. Educators and researchers know that students' attendance is linked to both student wellbeing and attainment. In other words, every day in school matters. And for some student groups, especially those students in low decile schools, attendance is particularly important.

In Term 2 of 2022, 39.9% of students attended schools and kura regularly. Regular attendance is the percentage of students attending more than 90 per cent of halfdays within a set period, usually a school term. For Term 2, 2022, this time-period consisted of 10 school weeks (96 half-days), consistent with most previous years. The attendance records of 757,776 students were reported and processed from 2,265 schools and kura (92.3% of all state and state-integrated schools and kura) for this period. This represents 96.8% of the student population in all state and state-integrated schools and kura on 1 July 2022.

This chart below, recently published by Education Counts, shows the dramatic changes in school attendance rates from 2019 to 2020.

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Barbara Pritchard on Truancy in Schools

The NCW Manawatu meeting in November featured Assistant Principal Barbara Pritchard of Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School. She spoke on the topic: ‘Truancy in schools and what is being done.’

Barbara Pritchard and Audrey Jarvis - Nov 2022
Barbara Pritchard and her invitee, Audrey Jarvis.
Image supplied by NCW Manawatu.
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Milestones: Legal Status and Sexual Orientation/Identity

1837: William Yate, a Church Missionary Society worker who lived peaceably with his male companion for two years in the Māori village of Waimate, was removed from his duties upon evidence of his homosexual activities with an English sailor as well as several male Māori youths at the Bay of Islands.  

1858: English Laws Act enforces in New Zealand all English laws as of 14 January 1840, including the law that acts of sodomy are "unnatural."

1867: The English Parliament replaced the death penalty for buggery with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in 1861. New Zealand enacted similar legislation six years later. Consent is no defence.

1893: Any sexual activity between men of any age became unlawful in England in 1885, and New Zealand followed suit in 1893. Typically, sentences of one or two years’ hard labour were imposed for offences other than sodomy. Men found guilty of sodomy could still be flogged, and serve their term of imprisonment with hard labour, in the 1940s and 1950s.

1921: Macquisten Amendment attempted to add "acts of gross indecncy by females" to 1885 Act. Defeated in the House of Lords.

1941: Crimes Amendment Act 1941 removed the punishment of flogging from New Zealand law, retaining life imprisonment for sodomy.

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Policy Paper on Stalking and Sexual Harassment

MinistryOfJustice-logo.jpgIn November 2022 the Policy Group for Criminal Justice led by Corinne McIlwrath were in the process of preparing a document on sexual violence and family violence for Minister of Justice Kiritapu Allan. The Minister has responsibility for the formulation of justice policy and for the administration of law courts, and the Policy Group is working to craft new legislation that will update the Crimes Act 1961.

The Auckland Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children (ACSWC) together with the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges (NCIWR) reached out to McIlwrath to provide additional insights into issues specifically regarding stalking and harassment. They worked also with members of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ). Key authors for the paper submitted to McIlwrath were Alison Towns (ACSWC), Natalie Thorburn (NCIWR) and Bernice Williams, a member of the NCWNZ Influence and Decision-making Action Hub. The Policy Group's recommendations to the Minister included the joint paper as an appendix. 

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NCWNZ Dunedin hosts “Inspiring Young Women Breakfast”

The Dunedin Branch of National Council of Women held its sixth annual “Inspiring Young Women Breakfast” recently, at which six women, successful in their chosen careers, spoke to Years 12 and 13 girls from 9 local secondary schools, about their journey to where they are, the obstacles they met and how they overcame them. Sixty-five students came at 6.45am to hear the speakers, who were from a range of occupations and whose journeys were very different.

photo of women panelists sitting at a long table
Panelists (l-r): Megan Gibbons (CEO Otago Polytech); Julia Imo (post-graduate studying bioengineering and founder of Wayfinder); Elisabeth Cunningham (Convenor of Breakfast); Emma Burke (Lawyer); Alison Lambert (Chef); Jay Phillips (Programme Manager of YES -Youth Employment Success); Abbey Brice (Auto Electrician).
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NCWNZ Manawatu hosts Dr Shalome Bassett

Margaret Sinclair-Jones and speakers at NCWNZ Manawatu meeting 2022
Back (l-r): Emma Buckle, Dr Shalome Bassett; Front (l-r): Margaret Sinclair-Jones (Chair), Dr Audrey Jarvis. Image courtesy of Geraldine Anne McCarthy.

The NCWNZ Manawatu branch meeting in October 2022 featured Dr Shalome Bassett, Principal Scientist at Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North.

Dr Bassett introduced a recently developed genome sequencing device which was designed to reduce methane production by cattle. The device could lead to the reduction of burps and methane emissions in dairy herds. In discussing this, Dr Bassett thanked former Principal Scientist Dr Audrey Jarvis for her early research into lactic acid bacteria.

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NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch Suffrage Celebration 2022

Nearly a hundred people gathered at the Kate Sheppard National Memorial on 19 September 2022 to celebrate Suffrage Day in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Pointing toward the women portrayed in the monument, the keynote speaker, Mayor Lianne Dalziel, urged everyone to honour the historic activists by getting out and voting at midterm elections. (See the Otago Daily Times video of the event here.)

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