welcome back, !

Home : About Rural Women NZ






About RWNZ


Rural Women New Zealand is a charitable, membership-based organisation which supports people in rural communities through opportunities, advocacy and connections.

Our members are diverse, but all of us share rural interests that connect and energise us.We are the leading representative body promoting and advocating on rural health, education, land and social issues. We provide information, support, practical learning and leadership opportunities.

Our members

We have groups throughout New Zealand. Some groups meet for networking and friendship, often supporting their local communities through events or fundraising. Others are focused on education and learning, and facilitate training days and workshops.

If you can’t make regular meetings, but still want to have your say and stay connected, then individual membership might be an option for you.

RWNZ VALUES

  • Charitable: We continue our traditional role of supporting rural communities.
  • Forward Thinking: We lead the development of strong rural environments for today and the future.
  • Flexible: We are creative, proactive and innovative.
  • Professional: We are reputable and use best practice.
  • Inclusive: We welcome diversity in all its forms.

RWNZ History

RWNZ was established in 1925 by women who wanted better social and economic conditions for rural people. For over 80 years we have been at the forefront of rural issues, working to grow dynamic communities in New Zealand.

RURAL WOMEN NEW ZEALAND'S MISSION

Strong, Enduring Rural Environments

STRATEGIC INTENT

Download our Strategic Intent 2014-2017

JOIN UP TODAY!

Read All NewsRecent news

Rural Women members have been helping to present $2000 jumbo-sized cheques to eleven rural schools who were lucky enough to win the Farmlands Garden Grants competition.

Pictured here are pupils from Wharepapa South School, who received their winnings from the secretary of the local Rural Women branch, Jacqui Wellington.

The popular grants are a joint Rural Women New Zealand/Farmlands venture, aimed at helping schools develop vegetable gardens and orchards.

This is the fourth year we've given out the gardening grants with funds from the popular Farmlands Ladies Nights.

“It’s a great way to help schools teach children how easy it is to grow food and what makes a healthy diet. In past years the gardening grants have been used by schools to build tunnel houses, composting systems, buy plants and fruit trees and gardening equipment.”

This year 52 North Island schools and 38 South Island schools applied for the grants. The entries were colourful and enthusiastic, and in some cases included videos created by the children showing what they hoped to achieve in their gardens.

The lucky winners are:

Otamarakau School, Bay of Plenty
Paparoa Primary School, Northland
Te Horo School, Kapiti
Wharepapa South School, Waikato
Norfolk School, Taranaki
Patoka School, Hawke’s Bay
Lauriston School, Canterbury
Seddon School, Marlborough
Clutha Valley Primary School, Otago
Lake Brunner School, West Coast
Waianiwa School, Southland


The schools also received fertiliser from Agrisea NZ Ltd and a copy of ‘A Good Harvest – recipes from the gardens of Rural Women New Zealand'.

Farmlands’ Chief Executive, Brent Esler, says the company is proud to continue its support of Rural Women New Zealand and the rural school garden grants.

“As a rural co-operative it just makes sense for us to support schools that make up the hubs of the rural communities we service.”




Farmlands Garden Grants 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rural Women members have been helping to present $2000 jumbo-sized cheques to eleven rural schools who were lucky enough to win the Farmlands Garden Grants competition. Read More

When Debbie Evans attended the 2014 Rural Women New Zealand Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington, she came away with a decision to inspire rural women of Northland.

Debbie passionately wanted to share what she had learned at GDL and help Northland women recognise their unique skills and strengths, build confidence and help them reach their full potential. She decided she would invite Agri-Women's Development Trust executive Lindy Nelson to design a one day programme called REVEAL!

Debbie wanted it to be free and therefore available for all women. Enter major sponsors Lotteries and COGS, plus in-kind support from Cowleys Hire Centre, Farmlands, Whangarei Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and BNZ Bank which together gave a total of $12,000 to run the day.


A small team of Rural Women members did the event proud with their typical ‘can do, will do’ planning skills and attitude, accompanied by large doses of encouragement from Kath Gillespie of RWNZ Aoroa Branch and Top of the North RWNZ National Councillor Fiona Gower

Several weeks before the course date it was already over-subscribed and the waiting list was growing.

A partnership between Rural Women New Zealand and Agri-Women’s Development Trust created a day of inspiration and life-changing challenges for 150 Northland women. “They had the benefit of a training day equivalent to any reputable training provider complete with an amazing morning tea, fresh flowers and of course embroidered tablecloths!” says Debbie. 


“Receiving such affirming feedback such as how inspiring and empowering the day was from so many participants has been the icing on the cake,” says Debbie. “Being so oversubscribed shows that there is a need for more of this type of training for our rural women”.

REVEAL! was designed by Lindy Nelson, RWNZ member, 2013 NEXT Businesswoman of the Year and Executive Director of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust


RWNZ member Debbie Evans is CEO of the Kaipara Community Health Trust in Dargaville, elected member on the Northland District Health Board, and a 2014 Rural Women New Zealand Growing Dynamic Leaders graduate.

 

 


Northland Rural Women REVEAL! Their Full Potential

Friday, April 17, 2015

When Debbie Evans attended the 2014 Rural Women New Zealand Growing Dynamic Leaders course in Wellington, she came away with a decision to inspire rural women of Northland. Read More

Applications are now open for Rural Women NZ & Access Homehealth scholarship 2015. 

“This $3000 scholarship will be awarded to a health professional to help further his or her studies,” says Rural Women New Zealand National President, Wendy McGowan.

We encourage health professionals, especially those studying at a post-graduate level, to apply before the closing date of 1 July.

“Given our rural focus, we are keen to support someone who has an interest in providing health or disability services in rural communities.”   

In 2014 the scholarship was awarded to Bay of Plenty nurse Ellen Walker (pictured above). Ellen is studying to become a rural health nurse practitioner, and used the $3000 scholarship to help fund her post-graduate diploma studies at the University of Auckland.

Download an information sheet and application form.

Apply now for Rural Women & Access Homehealth scholarship

Friday, May 01, 2015

Applications are now open for Rural Women NZ & Access Homehealth scholarship 2015.  Read More

On 23rd March 2015, Central Southland Provincial Rural Women held the 33rd Annual Bride of the Year in the Winton Memorial Hall.

There was a total attendance of 290 this year, including 28 brides and 10 bridesmaids competing for the winning honours. It was a hugely successful night filled with gorgeous gowns, lots of lace, tulle and even cowgirl boots.


This year’s winning Brides are:

1st Annabelle Herbert nee: Harris
2nd Sonya Sanders nee: Stewart
3rd Katrina Kingsford-Smith nee: Hazlett

 

And the top Bridesmaids are:

1st Aimee Ross
2nd Janelle Ashley
3rd Nadine Duff



Photos provided by event sponsor Megan Graham photography

 


2015 Brides and Bridesmaids of the Year Chosen

Friday, April 17, 2015

On 23rd March 2015, Central Southland Provincial Rural Women held the 33rd Annual Bride of the Year in the Winton Memorial Hall. Read More

"Not so long ago, Afghan farmers collected the thick winter undercoat their goats shed every spring and threw it on the fire to heat their homes and cook their food.
Some have since learned that the super-soft fluff that comes off in clumps as the weather warms up, once cleaned, refined and spun into yarn is cashmere."

Afghan cashmere has found customers as far away as the United States, Britain and Europe. It's changed life for goat herders like Mohammad Amin. He has 120 goats grazing the open spaces around an industrial park on the outskirts of the western city of Herat. At this time of year, most of the female goats have kids and shed the cashmere, which Amin pulls off in huge handfuls.

With an extended family of 13, he has a guaranteed income from the best of the cashmere he harvests as traders, processors, donors and international businesses are cottoning on to Afghanistan's potential as a major producer.

"Buyers come to us and buy the good quality cashmere, the rest we take to the market and sell," Amin said.

Each animal yields up to 250 grams of cashmere, Amin said. Each season he can earn more than $1,100 USD in a country where the annual national average is less than $700 USD.

Only about 30-40 percent of Afghanistan's 7 million goats are combed for cashmere, according to estimates by the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development, even though up to 95 percent of the animals could become part of the production chain. Most of the raw product is bought by traders who sell it to Chinese buyers to produce clothing.

Afghanistan is the world's third biggest producer of cashmere, its 1,000 metric tons a year, worth $30 million, accounts for 7 percent of the global market though it lags far behind China's 70 percent and Mongolia's 15 percent.

The Afghan government, recognizing potential, recently came up with a "cashmere action plan," aiming to target the highest end of the global luxury market" where a designer-label cashmere sweater can cost $1,000 USD.

But it's a long haul. Afghanistan remains a country in conflict after almost 40 years of war and few foreign investors are prepared to face such an insecure and uncertain environment, even if it's to exploit world-class oil and mineral resources, or agricultural products such as pomegranates, saffron and cashmere. Long-term, it could be a self-sustaining industry in Afghanistan, one that will create jobs, including work for women, generally marginalized in this society.

Cashmere is not a wool but a hair, which accounts for its unique characteristics compared to sheep's wool, soft and fine in texture, light and strong at the same time. In the near-sterile conditions at a processing plant, the grimy, matted raw goat coat is washed and the long hair is separated from the cashmere.

The cashmere is repeatedly refined, becoming increasingly gossamer-like as it is transformed into the highest quality, pristine, aerated fluff. It is then baled and sent to Europe, ready to be spun into yarn that can be dyed and knitted or woven into fabric, carpets and clothing.

A small spinning operation in Kabul called Qaria has had success with a three-month pilot program spinning the cashmere into yarn and dying it using plant-based colorants sourced locally, such as saffron and indigo.

Briton James Blewett, a partner in Qaria, says they have orders for the yarn from America, Britain and Europe, where it is gaining popularity in knitting shops. Qaria yarn sold out within hours at a recent wool trade fair in Britain, he said.

Blewett said the company's first hand-knitted garments could be on sale later this year, carrying with them hopes of cashmere excellence with a label bearing a stylized goat's head, with the words "Afghan Made."

Story courtesy of Lynne O'Donnell, Associated Press – April 2015.

Where to house the new community olive press was the big topic of conversation when Gendie Somerville-Ryan, President of Awana Rural Women on Great Barrier Island, met Carol and Trevor Rendle of Barrier Olive Growers Ltd for coffee. Awana Rural Women, a branch of Rural Women NZ, owns its own premises – a hall and a garage. The garage was undergoing a major upgrade and would make the perfect place for the olive press. All it took was a cup of coffee and a chat and the olive press had a new home.

“Awana Rural Women activities encourage community cooperation and development and what better way to demonstrate this than to help promote economic growth through horticulture,” said Mrs Somerville-Ryan. “Our facilities are centrally located, of a high standard and well-known around Great Barrier Island. Housing the olive press is very much in line with our philosophy of helping the community to help itself through education, personal development and building community capacity. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The community olive press was officially opened by Hon Nikki Kaye, MP for Great Barrier (and Auckland Central) on Friday the 10th of April 2015. Hon Ms Kaye acknowledged the perseverance and hard work of everyone involved in getting this project not only off the ground but up and running. “The reason this cooperative approach has worked on the Barrier is that so many people contribute. The olive press is important for economic reasons – it gives people another option to stay on the Island,” said Hon Nikki Kaye. “Awana Rural Women have been the backbone of the community and it is fitting they have been part of this project.”

A recent survey showed that there were over 600 olive trees already fruiting on Great Barrier Island but developing an industry from the olives is impractical when the fruit has to be shipped off Island for pressing. Barrier Olive Growers has purchased the press and growers will be able to press their fruit for a nominal charge – hopefully kick-starting an olive oil “export” industry for the Barrier.

Awana Rural Women can see a great future for Barrier olive oil, from an olive oil festival to an olive picking and pressing experience. However, the first step is to get the 2015 vintage harvested and pressed – and enjoyed by those on the Barrier and beyond.

 


Maggie Barry, Gendie Somerville-Ryan, Trevor Rendle, Hon. Nikki Kaye and board members of Great Barrier Island

 

Rural Women and Olive Oil - What a Great Mix!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Where to house the new community olive press was the big topic of conversation when Gendie Somerville-Ryan, President of Awana Rural Women on Great Barrier Island, met Carol and Trevor Rendle of Barrier Olive Growers Ltd for coffee. Awana Rural Women, a branch of Rural Women NZ, owns its own premises – a hall and a garage. The garage was undergoing a major upgrade and would make the perfect place for the olive press. All it took was a cup of coffee and a chat and the olive press had a new home.  Read More