President’s Kōrero, October 2022

The month of September was celebration month! Suffrage Day was celebrated around the two motu with many events. I myself was thrilled to be invited to the unveiling of the suffrage stained-glass window at the Whanganui District Council Chambers, commissioned by the Whanganui branch – kei te pai ō mahi. (See article on this commemorative window here.) It was a time when NCWNZ was out and about, visible and proud. Especially so at Parliament, when we were able to hold the postponed celebration for the 125th anniversary of NCWNZ’s founding. It was great to see so many members and guests there, with so many of those who have contributed over many years. Thank you to all who were involved in the organisation of the event, it was very special because of your efforts.

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Charts to Use: Child Poverty in New Zealand

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Child Poverty Report 2022, prepared by Bryan Perry, claims that data stretching from 2007 to 2021 show that New Zealand has seen a drop in the number of children in poverty. Poverty is defined essentially as indication of household resources being insufficient to meet basic material needs. The trend (see the charts below) has been falling for those households with children (i.e., ages 0-17) reporting “not enough” income for basics. This trend for New Zealand has been ignored by many who use a limited amount of data (e.g., just household income) or who insist that if only people got full-time work, their material hardship would lessen.  Instead, MSD’s main Household Incomes and Material Wellbeing reports show that not all households with low incomes are in hardship, and not all who report they live in hardship have low incomes.

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Photos of 125 Celebration in Wellington

A celebration of the 125th anniversary of Te Kaunihera Wāhine o Aotearoa, the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) was held in Wellington on 13 September 2022, deferred from last year due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Hosted by Minister for Women, Hon Jan Tinetti, and sponsored by Countdown, the event took place in the Banquet Hall in Parliament and included presentations of NCWNZ Distinguished Service Awards. Photos and details about the event are below.

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Hope Has Two Beautiful Daughters - A Book Review

Book cover for Anne Thurston's _Notes from Inside_Notes from Inside: A courageous woman’s experiences of domestic violence and mental illness
A Book Review by Hilary Lapsley

Anne Thurston has given us the gift of survivor experience in her memoir of domestic violence, mental illness and recovery. Her story covers many decades. The formative events and impressions of childhood. Marriage, children and life on the family farm as it pitches down from idyll to jeopardy. And then through her process of recovery, activated by courage, curiosity, self-analysis and psychotherapy. Thurston has a great gift for description, honed by the memoir writing course she attended. Her warm depictions of childhood and the farming life are particularly vivid and sensuous.

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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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