Gender Equity Sessions with Mt Pleasant Primary School

Equity cartoon from idhsustainabletrade workshopNational Council of Women Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch was approached by four Year 8 students (12-13 year olds) from Mt Pleasant School in Ōtautahi Christchurch for support in running some sessions with young children at their school, around gender equity issues.

The girls had chosen gender equity as a year-long topic for a programme of study that is a primary school version of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. The four girls had already painted the toilets at the school (which had been blue for boys and pink for girls) green, and had discarded a raft of picture books in the school library that were too obviously gender specific and had set new rules with the Board of Trustees for future book buying.

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NCWNZ Affiliated High School Group in Ōtautahi Christchurch

Christchurch Girls High School crestNational Council of Women Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch is working with Christchurch Girls High School (CGHS) around the idea of setting up an affiliated youth branch at the school. CGHS senior students have already been active in supporting issues that affect young women, in particular, around issues of sexual harassment. This call to action came about as a result of the 2021 survey that was carried out at the school by researcher, Dr Liz Gordon of Pūkeko Research Ltd (download the .pdf file of the report here). The responses to the survey showed that there was significant, ongoing sexual harassment being experienced by the majority of students of all ages at the school.

Senior students at CGHS have since set up a group called SASH (Students Against Sexual Harm) which operates both in their school and in some other Canterbury schools. 

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Seeking nominations for Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology

ECART logoManatū Hauora | Ministry of Health invites you to submit nominations for two laypeople positions on the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART).

ECART is established under section 27 of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004 (the HART Act). Its purpose is to consider, determine and review applications for assisted reproductive procedures or human reproductive research. Further information on ECART can be found on their website ( A link to the advertisement can be found on the ECART website, here

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Battle of the Camellias

Kate Sheppard camelliaCamellias originate from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. They are one of the oldest flowers known to humans. They are hardy, evergreen and have many sizes and shapes suitable for many types of garden situations, from specimen trees to ground covers, containers or hedges. The species most widely grown as ornamentals are the sasanqua, japonica and reticulata. The first of these to flower every year in autumn and winter are the sasanquas. Japonica camellias are generally taller than sasanquas and have larger, more leathery leaves. Their flowers are larger too and they flower from winter to late spring and are generally slower growing. In New Zealand camellias bloom from late August to late September. The Camellia japonica alba plena 'Kate Sheppard' has become a symbol of New Zealand women’s suffrage since it was first introduced from Taranaki in 1993.

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Hutt Valley Branch and Henning Cup debate

NCWNZ's Beryl Anderson with 2022 Suffrage Cup winner James Mason, and Ri Comer, WSUJames Mason, Ri Comer
Hutt Valley NCWNZ Beryl Anderson (left) with Suffrage Cup 2022 winner James Mason, and Ri Comer of Wellington Speaking Union (right). Image courtesy of Wellington Speaking Union.

The Wellington Speaking Union organises the Senior Premier A Grade, the top debating grade within the Intercollegiate debating competition. The winning school receives the John F Henning Cup, donated in 1961 by the then United States Ambassador to New Zealand. The best speaker in the Grand Final is presented with the Suffrage Cup, donated by the Hutt Valley branch of the National Council of Women.

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Making the Most of Now

Videos from NCWNZ Christchurch YouTube channel (2022)Louise Tapper of the NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch (assisted by Rosemary Du Plessis) led the "Making the Most of Now" project that documented the COVID-19 pandemic experiences of thirteen young women in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Podcasts based on the interviews were broadcast on Plains FM Community Radio in July and August of 2021. Now four short videos based on these interviews and featuring three of the participants in this research are available on the NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch YouTube channel. Funding for the video project was obtained last year from the Rata Foundation - an application from NCWNZ Ōtautahi Christchurch Branch. 

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Birthday Celebrations NCWNZ

A few days ahead of Suffrage Day this year, we will at last be able to celebrate the 125th birthday of Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa, NCWNZ.

Deferred from last year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, we look forward to marking this special occasion for our organisation.

There will be entertainment and refreshments. And there will be birthday cake!

Hosted by Minister for Women, Hon Jan Tinetti, the evening is an opportunity to look back and acknowledge the phenomenal efforts of the women who persevered in their quest to gain rights wrongfully withheld from women, and to obtain access to positions in society that women of Aotearoa New Zealand enjoy today.

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President’s Kōrero, August 2022

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata!

This well-known whakatauki (proverb) asks the question “what is the most important thing in the world?” and answers, “it is people.” This wisdom deserves to be front-and-centre in all that we do.

We advocate for human rights to be applied to all people, not just a select few. We comment on the impact of policy decisions on people, reminding our MPs that they are the peoples’ representatives. The Board is also focusing on its people, by building a supportive team culture through training with LEAD, funded by the Lotteries Commission. We will be focusing on team building, and the roles and responsibilities of governance and leadership. We will then extend the training to other leaders in our organisation, with training in group dynamics, financial management and practical IT for branch presidents and Action Hub coordinating committees. We will provide more details are they are firmed up.

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He Aha Te Tupu: Safety, Health and Wellbeing Action Hub?

There is plenty of activity in the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Action Hub.

An exciting development coming up is contributing to the Women’s Health Strategy emerged from the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill. Submissions continue to be a constant activity: preparing presenting, and monitoring legislation progress afterwards and we are grateful to Raewyn Stone who leads this work. Recent and upcoming submissions include the Birth Injuries Bill, Improving Surrogacy Laws, the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Amendment Bill.

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A Call to Women in Palmerston North

It is of cause for concern that at present there are so few women nominations for the upcoming Council elections in Palmerston North. At present there are seven women and eight men on the Council, but three women are not standing again for election this year. To highlight this issue, the National Council of Women (NCW) Manawatu Branch held a meeting on 3 July in the Palmerston North City Council library to encourage participation in the elections. 

Event at Palmerston North City Council library 3 July 2022
Event panel members (l-r) Aleisha Rutherford, Lorna Johnson, Leone Hapeta, and Janine Rankin. Image from Anne McCarthy.
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