In Memoriam: Anne Rodger MNZM, Life Member of the Dunedin Branch

Anne RodgersDunedin branch members were shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death on 23 November 2023 of a valued and loved branch member, Anne Rodger. Just days before, she had been MC at the 100th birthday celebrations of the Dunedin Women’s Branch of the Labour Party, after returning from a South Seas cruise with daughter Gillian. She had been ill, but this was unexpected.

The citation for a well-deserved MNZM in the New Year’s Honours List of 2019 stated:

"Anne Rodger had been a member of the National Council of Women since 1983 and served as both Secretary and President of the Dunedin Branch. She was instrumental in establishing the NCW’s Alexandra’s Branch.

"She represented the Dunedin Branch on the Dunedin Forum for Non-Violence for three years, facilitated the 1993 forum ‘Towards a Non-Violent Society’ and was a member of the NGO Coordinating Committee for the Beijing World Conference on Women from 1992 to 1996.

"At Catholic Social Services in Dunedin she established a ‘Birth Support Group’ for very young parents and co-facilitated a post-natal programme for women raising infants alone. She initiated a group to address issues for grandparents responsible for the upbringing of their grandchildren, which is now a nationwide service run by Presbyterian Support services.

"Anne had held numerous voluntary executive and committee roles including with the Dunedin Childcare Association, Dunedin Māori Women’s Welfare League, Otago Co-ordination Committee for the Disabled, the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity, the Help Sexual Abuse Foundation, the Mosgiel University of the Third Age, the Dunedin University Club, SeniorNet Otago, and Abbeyfield (Residences for the Elderly) Dunedin which she helped establish."

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Reflections from our outgoing Action Hub convenors

After leading the Influence and Decision-Making Action Hub since its inception, Co-Convenors Sue Kedgley and Amy Rice are stepping down. Here’s what they have to say reflecting on their time at the helm.

Sue Kedgley
Sue Kedgley

Tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement in NCWNZ prior to becoming an Action Hub Co-Convenor.

Sue: I joined NCWNZ about three years ago and was active primarily in writing submissions. When the Action Hubs were created someone suggested I might be interested in Convening the newly created Influence and Decision Making Action Hub and I agreed to do so. I felt it was important to have a young woman helping to lead the hub and so I approached Amy and was delighted when she agreed to lead it with me.

Amy: Back then I was a member of the NCWNZ Wellington Branch, but didn’t really have the creation of Action Hubs or any other big picture NCWNZ stuff on my radar. I was working as a policy advisor in government and outside of work and NCWNZ, I filled my time with sports (touch rugby, running, triathlon) and volunteering to help people experiencing homelessness.

What attracted you to take on the role of leading the Influence and Decision-Making Action Hub?

Sue: It was a new Action Hub and I liked the idea of seeking to increase the influence of NCWNZ.  

Amy: I actually only considered the role because Sue invited me to come on board with her. I knew working alongside someone with her experience was an opportunity too valuable to pass on so while it was daunting, I said yes!

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Kia ora from Mathilde

Mathilde Le GoffKia ora! I’m Mathilde Le Goff, and I’m the new intern in the NCWNZ for five months, until mid-July 😊

I’m 23 years old and I'm from Toulouse, in the south of France. I’m studying political sciences and my master’s degree focuses on the fight against discrimination, that is gender issues, but also racism, disabilities, LGBT+ phobia, and all types of discrimination that could exist.

I’m currently doing a gap year between my two years of master’s degree and before coming to Aotearoa, I did another internship for 6 months. I worked in a council agency in France, specialised in all of the topics related to diversity and inclusion in big companies, and I had mainly to deal with disabilities and gender issues.

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Aleisha Amohia selected as NGO delegate for CSW68

Aleisha AmohiaManatū Wāhine Ministry for Women selected Aleisha Amohia, President of the Wellington Branch of the National Council of Women New Zealand, as the non-governmental delegate to join the official New Zealand Government delegation to the sixty-eight session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) from 11 – 22 March 2024Applications were assessed by a selection panel comprising representatives from the International Women’s Caucus.

Aleisha earned two degrees from Victoria University of Wellington: a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Management and Information Systems). She is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sector. Much of her volunteer work is to ensure more women, Māori, and other marginalised groups, look for and stay in STEM careers.

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Challenges of Climate Change: Women bringing solutions - Me aro ki te hā o Hine-ahu-one

Women and girls are a key to climate action. There is an urgency at every level to effectively mitigate the devastations of the Climate Crisis. Collectively women must be at the decision-making table to help find strategic solutions through influencing climate change policy and legislation and to engage at grass roots. Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and te ao Māori (the Māori world) values need to be centralised in our relationship with whenua.

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In Memoriam: Jane Prichard

Jane Prichard, image supplied by Christine KingIt is with great sadness that I write to inform you that Elizabeth Jane Prichard MA, CNZM, QSO, died on 2 December 2023. I knew Jane from the 1980s, and when I came back from Qatar in 2012 Jane asked me to join her in Pacific Women's Watch New Zealand (PWW-NZ). She gave me the role of PWW-NZ representative to the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) Auckland branch, and she also made sure I went to New York to the United Nations (UN) meetings. It has been my honour and privilege to work with Jane for the last ten years and previously. Jane was a woman of vision and ambition. Her ambition was for all women and especially that the most marginalised could live fulfilled and safe lives.

Jane’s vision grows out of her early involvement with the Federation of University Women (now Graduate Women) at the time when the UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was being discussed around the world. Jane saw CEDAW as a key treaty and was part of discussion and education groups through the 1980 and 90s.

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Steph Lewis spoke on violence to MPs

Steph Lewis portrait from Labour websiteFormer Whanganui Member of Parliament Steph Lewis spoke on Tuesday 13 February 2024 at a regular meeting of the Whanganui NCWNZ branch. After a general summary of the history and goals of the National Council of Women as well as an overview on women in parliament today, we introduced Lewis. Carla Donson Manager of the Women's Network then put questions to Steph and it felt more like a conversation about her experiences and reflections being an MP.

Lewis focused on coping with public abuse that MPs, especially women MPs, endure. The abuse came from men and women. People threatened to protest at her home, and some would even follow her home from meetings. 

In February 2022, Lewis was harassed by anti-COVID vaccine mandate protestors outside Parliament. Some protestors came around the building banging on windows, and she heard them threatening to kidnap and lynch her. When Parliament adjourned at 10 p.m. protesters waited at the exit for MPs to leave, and security had to escort them from the building.

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Milestones: Wāhine who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Archives New Zealand has documented as much as we know so far about some of the wāhine who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. This was unusual because so many indigenous leaders signed alongside representatives of the British Crown, making New Zealand significant in women's history. Despite the images circulating today about the historic Waitangi treaty depicting crowds of men, women were present in leadership roles. Even the beach at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds was traditionally named after a woman of high rank: Te Ana o Maikuku.

And, while there is still much controversy about these extraordinary events, the Waitangi Tribunal’s report (.pdf file) from the Stage 1 Te Paparahi o Te Raki (Northland) inquiry offers a comprehensive narrative (including debates by analysts) of the initial signings at Waitangi, Waimate, and Mangungu. What we are learning is that out of the over 500 names of Māori leaders around the country who signed the nine copies of the treaty during approximately 50 hui, at least 18 might have been women. Because many names have not yet been fully researched, there may be even more than have found. (See the map and signatures of 13 of these women at the Te Ara encyclopedia website.) We also know that when British agents took te Tiriti documents around the country, a number of rangatira -- wāhine who exercised mana in traditional Māori society -- were refused the opportunity to sign because of their gender.

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NCWNZ at UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Photo from Wikimedia of Liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Red Army, January 1945
Photo from Wikipedia of Soviet Union Red Army soldiers talking to the children just liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp in January 1945. The boy on the left was telling the soldiers how to identify the surviving Nazi guards hiding in prisoner clothes. Nazis had swastikas tattooed under their left armpits.

In 2005 the United Nations designated January 27th the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp and crematoria as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Since then, the U.N. calls each year for the world to honour and remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, and all the victims of the German Nazi regime and its collaborators.

As a representative of NCWNZ, I joined many members of the Government, Diplomatic Corps, NGOs and representatives of the Jewish community -- all who stand against antisemitism, discrimination and apathy in the face of genocide. We met on 28 January 2024 in the Banquet Hall, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. We were encouraged to work to prevent future acts of genocide through education, documentation and commemoration.

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NCWNZ oral submission to expand laws supporting victims of family violence

Bernice Williams oral submission Justice Comm 1 Feb 2024On 1 February 2024, Bernice Williams of the NCWNZ Health, Safety & Wellbeing Action Hub presented an oral submission to the Parliament's Justice Committee | Komiti Take Ture who are working on expanding the courts' power to better protect the victims of family violence in Legislation Bill 285-1. The members of the Justice Committee who heard the submission were: James Meager (Chair, National); Todd Stephenson (ACT); Marama Davidson (Green); Ginny Anderson (Labour); Dr Duncan Webb (Labour); and, Tracey McLellan (Labour). The recording with Williams' presentation can be found on the Justice Committee, New Zealand Parliament website at the minute mark 32.34 and runs about 10 minutes:

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