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Southland member Ann Irving has received a national Walking Access Award in recognition of her efforts towards obtaining public access to one of the few remaining flax wetlands in Southland.

The wetland is located in Rural Women New Zealand's forestry block in Dipton, and Mrs Irving has been working with Environment Southland, landowner Alan Maxwell and the NZ Walking Access Commission to create a legally enduring 150 metre track giving access to it.

New Zealand Walking Access Commission regional field advisor for Queenstown Lakes and Southland, Ange van der Laan, says Mrs Irving has been working tirelessly to make the walkway a reality.

“The possibility of the wetland being opened for public access is now there, and that is largely due to Ann’s tenacity, patience and commitment,” Ms van der Laan says.

Mrs Irving, who is secretary of the Rural Women New Zealand Southland Forestry Committee, says she has always been interested in conservation and is humbled by the award. She stresses that the credit should also go to her colleagues at Rural Women New Zealand and to others in the community.

“The award recognises the efforts of everyone involved. It’s been quite a big job,” she says.

Mrs Irving acknowledged Mr Maxwell, the landowner who has agreed to the walkway going over his paddock and Environment Southland which had agreed to become the Controlling Authority of the walkway. Dipton Landcare Group and Dipton School had also played a major role and would soon roll out a weeding and planting programme for the walkway.

New Zealand Walking Access Commission chief executive Mark Neeson says the Walking Access Awards recognise those who have made significant and lasting contributions to public access to the outdoors in New Zealand. These contributions can be through securing new legal access, championing public rights of access, trail building, or contributing to understanding of access rights and responsibilities.

“The annual awards are an opportunity to acknowledge people in the community who are investing a great deal of time and effort to making walking easier, which in turn allows people to enjoy the outdoors,” Mr Neeson says.

Mrs Irving received the award on Monday 16th November during an informal event at the Dipton Golf Club. MP Todd Barclay attended the event, as well as New Zealand Walking Access Commission operations manager Ric Cullinane. 

Rural Women New Zealand acknowledges the announcement from NZ Post (10 September 2015) that rural delivery services are changing from six to five days a week for some rural communities.

After November, about six percent of NZ Post rural delivery customers will move from six to five day delivery (Monday to Friday) in some rural areas near Auckland, Wellington, Whanganui, Rotorua, Havelock, Oamaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Rural Women New Zealand believes it is important for the five day a week rural delivery service to remain unchanged in rural areas.

National President Wendy McGowan says,"Rural delivery contractors provide a lifeline, delivering mail, supplies, spare parts, animal health remedies, medicines, and courier parcels.

"The five day delivery and pick up service ensures people are able to run their farming enterprises and other rural businesses effectively, even from remote locations. These businesses breathe life into rural communities, as demonstrated through our Enterprising Rural Women Awards."

In many rural areas there is still limited or no mobile phone coverage or broadband connections, "It is important to continue the five day delivery service for rural communities to remain connected," says Ms McGowan.

Changes to NZ Post rural delivery service

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rural Women New Zealand acknowledges the announcement from NZ Post (10 September 2015) that rural delivery services are changing from six to five days a week for some rural communities. Read More

NZ Landcare Trust's Aorere River Project has won the inaugural Morgan Foundation NZ Riverprize at the International Rivers Symposium Gala Dinner in Brisbane. 

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar accepted the award on behalf of the Aorere River Initiative.“I think this is a real victory for community-led grassroots river management in New Zealand. Without the Aorere river community, the story really wouldn’t have happened.”

After the awards Dr Edgar highlighted the contribution of Barbara Stuart, a long-time Rural Women NZ member, "I'd particularly like to congratulate Barbara Stuart, NZ Landcare Trust Regional Coordinator for the Top of the South, for the incredible job she has done, helping to bring together the Aorere community and encouraging them to solve problems and take positive action." 

Farmer spokesperson and dairy farmer Sue Brown has been instrumental in the success of the Aorere project. Sue was pleased and a little surprised to hear the Aorere project had won, given the scale of the other projects in the final four."Our project is a community approach to catchment wellbeing. It's a story of the dairy industry and the shellfish industry coming together and looking at the catchment as a whole."

The Aorere River Catchment lies within the Tasman District of New Zealand’s South Island and is home to over 13,000 cows and 35 dairy farms. The Aorere River suffered from serious bacterial contamination, which in turn had a negative impact on aquaculture including the mussel and cockle farms in the Ruataniwha estuary. NZ Landcare Trust played a lead role in bringing different stakeholders together and supporting farmers in the region to set up the Aorere Catchment Group. NZ Landcare Trust worked with farmers to develop on-farm environmental plans, provide project coordination and act as brokers, facilitators and supporters to the farming community.

The results were outstanding, thanks to the proactive response from local dairy farmers. The project not only improved the ecological health of the river and coastal environment but also created community cohesion, assisting dairy and marine farmers to coexist and maintain their livelihoods sustainably.

Photo: pictured from left NZ Landcare Trust's Dr Nick Edgar, Barbara Stuart and Richard Thompson, with Morgan Foundation's Andrew Gawith - photo credit to International River Foundation.


Aorere River Restoration Prize wins international award

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NZ Landcare Trust's Aorere River Project has won the inaugural Morgan Foundation NZ Riverprize at the International Rivers Symposium Gala Dinner in Brisbane.  Read More

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the way our legal system deals with family violence and seeks your views on a range of ideas.

These ideas include:

  • Better guidance in law about family violence and the expectations about how the government will respond.
  • More visibility in law to the population groups affected by family violence.
  • Creating additional pathways for victims, perpetrators, and the wider family who seek help without having to go to court.
  • Improving protection orders including how applications are funded
  • Creation of a new framework of family violence offences.
  • Supporting improvements to the whole of government response to family violence. 
Research indicates rural New Zealand has on average a higher level of reported family violence than urban New Zealand. However, because of the lack of services and support and the isolating nature of rural, more domestic violence goes unreported, therefore your feedback is important.

Rural Women NZ have put a submission forward to the Ministry of Justice, click here to download the submission.  

For any further information please go direct to Ministry of Justice.




Review of Family Violence Legislation - have your say

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the way our legal system deals with family violence and seeks your views on a range of ideas.
 Read More

To celebrate the 90th anniversary in 2015 of the founding of Rural Women New Zealand we are launching the 90 for 90 Challenge to our members.

The aim of the 90 for 90 Challenge is for ninety Rural Women New Zealand groups or members to make 90 donations during 2015, in recognition of the 90 years we have been working for rural communities.

This may be $90 charitable donations to a cause or a person, preferably with a rural aspect, or 90 handcrafted items donated to a relevant organisation.


90 for 90 Flyer - further information about this project

90 for 90 Information Sheet - to accompany all donations

90 for 90 Donation Form - single (for monetary donations)

90 for 90 Donation Form - double (for monetary donations)

Detailed history of our organisation (printable format)

Detailed history of our organisation (low resolution - suitable for dial up connections)

Highlights of our activities over the last 90 years:

1927 - WD Emergency Housekeeper and bush nurse schemes set up
1927-present - advocating for fair travel reimbursement for homecare workers
Early campaigns for better transport, boarding allowances, water reticulation and phone services
1939-45 - Support for soldiers at war - from spinning and knitting to fundraising for a Spitfire!
1930s - Establishment of the Dipton forest with logging proceeds distributed for charitable purposes in Southland.
Rest Homes set up to give women a break away from the toil of farm work
1970s and 1980s - Fundraising for Leptospirosis research by Massey University
Rest Homes sold and proceeds used to fund educational and other bursaries
Leadership training through Wellington Experience and Growing Dynamic Leaders
2006 - Leptospirosis fundraising re-established 
2007 onwards - Speed Past School Buses advocacy
2009  - Let’s Get Plastered for Breast Cancer - fundraising and awareness campaign
2009 onwards - Enterprising Rural Women Awards 
Annual Garden Grants for rural schools - run in partnership with Farmlands
Publication of three cookbooks with Random House containing members’ recipes
Advocacy for better broadband and mobile coverage for rural
2011 - Aftersocks fundraiser following Canterbury earthquakes
2011 - Postman Pat on the Back Awards
2012 - Y Front Up to Prostate Cancer - fundraising and awareness campaign
2014 - Leading celebrations for the International Year of Family Farming

90 for 90 Challenge

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

To celebrate the 90th anniversary in 2015 of the founding of Rural Women New Zealand we are launching the 90 for 90 Challenge to our members. Read More

Do you know of any young children who have been very ill with E.coli O157:H7?

How did they catch it? How soon after it was caught was it diagnosed? How bad was it for the child and their family? 

As a rural mother, National Councillor Fiona Gower recognises the need to keep children safe. She knows the dangers of quad bikes, tractors, water and animals as well as other hazards seen daily. But what of those that can’t be seen? Such as minute organisms hiding in mud and water and in animal urine and faeces. These are the bugs that if not dealt with can cause major illness and in some cases irreparable damage and even death. How do we protect our families from them?

Rural Women NZ members are aware of Leptospirosis thanks to fundraising and awareness campaigns. But what about Salmonella and Rotovirus? The latest of the organisms to be targeted by awareness campaigns and research is E. coli O157:H7.

What is E.coli O157?

E.coli O157:H7 (STEC or VTEC) is an intestinal pathogen that causes severe outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to severe bleeding from the bowel, to renal failure leading to transplants or dialysis. It has the most severe effect on children aged under 5 with 10% of cases hospitalised. There was one death in 2014.

The most common risk factors reported for VTEC/STEC infection cases in 2014 were contact with pets, farm animals and animal manure.

  • Kids on farms can be infected with E. coli O157:H7
  • Children under 5 years old most susceptible to serious illness.

This infection has been increasing since 1997 with 187 cases notified last year.

STEC infects cattle and sheep, however animals will appear healthy.

How to keep your children safe:

  • As a veterinarian, RWNZ National Councillor Liz Hancock stresses that hygiene awareness is really important with any of these bugs. Thorough hand washing when coming inside from farm and basic hygiene (leave dirty gumboots and overalls outside) will reduce the opportunity for infection.
  • Parents need to be aware of how to try to prevent their children picking up these bugs. At this time of the year it is important to encourage hand washing, with children spending time in calf sheds and pet day animals and plenty of mud and water around. There are lots of opportunity to pick up bugs by ingestion or through the eyes and nose or cuts and grazes.
  • If a child has diarrhoea and has been in contact with animals, ask a doctor to test for E. coli O157:H7. If your child is very unwell, ask them to check for all the diseases. It is better to push for the test and be negative, than miss it and your child end up in hospital with complications from the disease.
  • Doctors who look after rural patients need to be aware of these organisms and be prepared to test.

Rural Women NZ are interested in your E.coli O157:H7 stories (names and places will be changed to ensure confidentiality) please email Cecilia.desouza@ruralwomen.org.nz. 

Contact for enquiries:

Fiona Gower
National Councillor and Environment Spokesperson

Rural Women NZ
Ph: 027 428 3884
Email: fiona.gower@ruralwomen.org.nz  

Children and E.coli

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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