Soroptimist International and the Betty Loughhead Soroptimist Scholarship

Portrait of Betty Loughhead c1990
Betty Loughhead wearing the korowai, Te Amo Oranga Nui Ki Te Ao, made by Whero Bailey (Te Atiawa) in 2003 with blue and gold feathers, the Soroptimist colours.

One of NCWNZ's organisational members is the Soroptimist International of Aotearoa New Zealand (SIANZ). Soroptimist International was founded in 1921 and its motto is "A Global Voice for Women."  According to their website: "The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin soror meaning sister, and optima meaning best. And so Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as ‘the best for women’." The first Soroptimist club in New Zealand was chartered in Wellington in November 1939. Within ten years clubs were established in Auckland and Christchurch, and in 1978, the New Zealand clubs joined in the founding of the Federation of the South West Pacific (SISWP) with eleven other countries in the region. One of five Federations globally, SISWP recently changed its name to Soroptimist International South East Asia Pacific. This was to reflect the thirteen countries in their Federation. SIANZ club numbers are now 20 with the recent charter of a young club, Soroptimist International Rangatahi Wellington.

Betty Loughhead joined Soroptimist International of Christchurch in 1951 and held office at all levels. She served on the Conference of Clubs of which she was Chair in 1967-69 and was President of the Soroptimists Clubs of the South West Pacific 1980 – 82. She served as a member of the International Board from 1979 – 1983. It was about this time Betty moved to the Wellington club.

In 1983 Betty began her two year term as President, Soroptimist International. She was the first New Zealander to achieve this position and many New Zealand Soroptimists attended her inauguration in Istanbul.

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Reporting to the United Nations CEDAW Monitoring Committee

CEDAW logoFrom 1.00 – 3.00 am (not a misprint) on Tuesday 5 July, NCWNZ Parliamentary Watch Committee Convenor Beryl Anderson and President Suzanne Manning attended the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 84 Pre-Sessional Working Group hosted in Geneva, via Zoom. The meeting was chaired by Franceline Toé-Bouda, the committee member from Burkina Faso, who spoke in French. Translation was available (although it took both Suzanne and Beryl a while to find out how to access the translation).

The non-government organisations (NGOs) from countries who will be reporting to CEDAW in 2023 were attending to give an oral presentation in support of their written submissions on their List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LoIPR). These issues guide the CEDAW Monitoring Committee in their questioning of each country’s government during the reporting sessions. The LoIPR for Aotearoa New Zealand was formed collaboratively by NCWNZ with our organizational members and other women's organisations.

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Milestones - Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House

Kate Sheppard House 2021 snipped from GoogleMaps images
Kate Sheppard House. Image from GoogleMaps, 2021.

1888. Walter and Kate Sheppard built an eight-room kauri and slate-roofed villa on their two acres purchased in 1887. The address is 83 Clyde Road, and the village was built in a rural suburb of Christchurch called Fendalton. It was located on the same street as properties owned by Kate's brother Frank Malcolm and her sisters Isabel May and Marie Beath. Today, the suburb is now called Ilam, and the historic site borders the University of Canterbury.

1891. Kate began regularly reporting on the women's suffrage movement through the women's page in The Prohibitionist, published by the Sydenham Prohibition League. Since 1887 Kate had served as the national superintendent for the department of Franchise and Legislation for the Women's Christian Temperance Union of New Zealand – the first national organisation established by and run specifically by women. Together with her sister Isabel, she had been using her home as an office for their shared interests in women's rights activism.

1893. At her dining room table in this house, one of the women's suffrage petition rolls was pasted together before it was sent to the House of Representatives in Wellington. This particular roll contained almost 32,000 signatures. Here in the garden, Kate received a telegram on 19 September 1893 informing her of the reform of the Electoral Law in which women won the right to vote in general elections.

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Te Tiriti o Waitangi & NCWNZ

Aleisha Amohia, LinkedIn profile picture, 2022At the NCWNZ Conference 2022, Aleisha Amohia, NCWNZ Wellington Branch President (photo at right), presented an "Introduction to Te Tiriti o Waitangi" workshop. The workshop aimed to introduce Te Tiriti through a brief teaching of its history and articles, and offer a discussion for attendees to understand how it could be applied to our lives and mahi. Download the slides (.pdf file) here. Please contact Aleisha Amohia and/or Ashlee Metcalfe at [email protected] before sharing the slides with anyone else.

This session was in line with NCWNZ policy passed in 2018 to acknowledge and honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

2.11.3 That NCWNZ is committed to the rights and obligations articulated in Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding documents of Aotearoa. NCWNZ demonstrates a visible and tangible commitment to honouring the tikanga of tangata whenua and ensuring the fulfilment of rights and responsibilities of both Tiriti partners.

The text from the slides is reproduced below.


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Suffrage Window in Whanganui District Council Chambers

Whanganui NCWNZ and commemorative suffrage window June 2022
Artist Greg Hall, rear, with NCWNZ members anti-clock wise from him, Lynda Sammons, Joan Sullivan, Jo Power, Jenny Saywood, Margaret Campion, Sheryn Robertson, Judy Stein and Helma Vermeulen. Photo by Leigh Mitchell-Anyon also published in the Whangaui Chronicle and used here with permission.

The local branch of NCWNZ at Whanganui commissioned a window honoring women's rights activists Ellen Ballance, Margaret Bullock, and Jessie Williamson. The window also includes the NCWNZ logo and the white camelia associated with the women's suffrage movement in New Zealand. This art piece is one of twenty-five windows displayed in the District Council Chambers, depicting the Whanganui story - Nga Korero Hitoro o te Hapori. The work was designed and crafted by painter Julie Greig and glass artist Greg Hall.

The local branch of NCWNZ at Whanganui commissioned a window honoring women's rights activists Ellen Ballance, Margaret Bullock, and Jessie Williamson. This art piece is one of twenty-five windows displayed in the District Council Chambers, depicting the Whanganui story - Nga Korero Hitoro o te Hapori. The work was designed and crafted by painter Julie Greig and glass artist Greg Hall.

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Webinar - Countering Misogyny

Poster for Misogyny Webinar July 2022This piece was crafted by NCWNZ member Anne McCarthy after having attended the event. With over 250 participants, the topic and expert panelists attracted much attention. More information is coming about how the NCWNZ can follow up on the issues raised by the panelists and the Decision-Making and Influence Action Hub.

A webinar entitled ‘Countering Misogyny,’ facilitated by Sue Kedgley and the NCW Decision-Making and Influence Action Hub, took place on the 1st of July 2022. It consisted of a panel discussion amongst four leading New Zealand women’s rights advocates, journalists Mihingarangi Forbes and Alison Mau, Christchurch city councillor Sara Templeton, and researcher Kate Hannah. Its intent was to call out misogynistic online abuse to trigger a national conversation focusing on increased social and legislative safeguards in the future.

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Renew your NCWNZ Membership today!

Our new membership model and fees are now live! We encourage you to sign up or renew your NCWNZ Membership for 2022/23. You can join either as an Individual Member or choose to be appointed as a representative of an Organisational Member. Both Individual Members and Organisational Reprsentatives can be members of branches and/or Action Hubs. Here's some details on next steps:

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President's Kōrero, June 2022

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

I hope you all enjoyed Aotearoa’s first Matariki holiday, and managed to keep warm in the midwinter weather. Matariki is a time for reflection, gratitude, remembering those who have passed on, and resetting ourselves. Let’s hope that these values remain central to the holiday and that Matariki does not become over-commercialised.

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Being a young woman in NCW

Young women in NCW bannerOn Monday 16 May 2022, the NCW Influence and Decision-Making Action Hub hosted an online event to hear what is important to young women and give them a chance to share their perspectives, thoughts, barriers and interests.

This initial kōrero focused on getting to know other young women from across NCW and understanding any barriers they, or others they know, face to being involved in NCW -- both to membership in general and to taking on leadership positions. By "young women," the organisers meant anyone who identifies this way. Generally for those under 35 years of age, but the organisers admitted they knew "age can be just a number."

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PWC Needs You!

NCWNZ’s Parliamentary Watch Committee (PWC) is seeking new members to join its team.

One of NCWNZ’s greatest assets is its long-standing submissions process. The effective framework in existence today has developed over the years, and is known both for its professionalism and its unique ability to gather together and present the voices of women throughout Aotearoa. (See the latest list of submissions on the NCWNZ website at MPs and government leaders have praised NCWNZ for its thoroughly researched and professionally presented submissions. NCWNZ submissions are known for their consistently good quality and sound, intelligent analysis of legislation from the perspective of wāhine.

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