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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.


  • 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 90 years we have been at the forefront of rural issues, working to grow dynamic communities in New Zealand.


Strong, Enduring Rural Environments


Download our Strategic Intent 2014-2017


Read All NewsRecent news

Each year classrooms teach health to children throughout New Zealand. This year they expect to teach more than 260,000 children from 1,500 schools.

In rural areas approximately 80% of children aged 6-13 years will participate in lessons with Harold the Giraffe this year, learning about what it means to be a good friend, how to have a healthy diet and how to keep themselves safe, to name just a few topics.

“We’re absolutely thrilled Rural Women New Zealand have chosen to support Life Education Trust as their national project this year. Rural Women New Zealand have been an important part of our history, spanning back 28 years, and the challenges for children growing up today are certainly no less than in 1988,” says John O’Connell, Chief Executive of Life Education Trust (NZ).

“We’re really looking forward to working together with Rural Women New Zealand and getting out to meet as many of you as possible, working together in partnership for the children of New Zealand.”


Rural Women New Zealand request all branches and groups fundraise for the Life Education Trust and send their monies to National Office of Rural Women New Zealand. The total raised will be given to Life Education Trust to share among their community trusts around New Zealand. 

National Project: Life Education Trust

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Each year classrooms teach health to children throughout New Zealand. This year they expect to teach more than 260,000 children from 1,500 schools. Read More

Women Walk the World is an annual event, where women’s groups in many countries organise walks in their communities along local tracks and trails, to raise funds for the Associated Country Women of the World.

It’s a great way to come together, catch up with friends and have some fun and healthy exercise along the way.

The date for the event is Friday 29 April– ACWW Day - though walks can take place at other dates around that time if more convenient.

Here’s What You Do:

1.Decide on a walk for your group. It can range from a stroll around the park, a hike through the bush, an amble around a neighbourhood or along a walkway.
2.Invite others. This is a great way to reach out to new potential members, and include families and friends.
3.Go to the online registration form, fill it in and email enquiries@ruralwomen.org.nz or post to national office before your walk, so we know what walks are taking place and can promote them.
4.We have t shirts and pedometers for groups that register. Initially one set per group on a first-come, first-served basis. These will be sent on receipt of your registration form.
5.The idea is to raise funds. This could be done through sponsorship, a gold coin donation, or perhaps an afternoon tea or sausage sizzle afterwards. Here is a sponsorship form you can use.
6.Tally up the number of people who attend and the distance walked.
7.Take photos and send to national office so we can publicise your walks and use on our website and Facebook pages. Email enquiries@ruralwomen.org.nz.
8.Send your funds raised, and details of kilometres walked to national office.


Join a Walk in your region 

Horowhenua Branch: Himitangi Beach walk 27 April 2016 Gold coin donation 
Contact Jean Coleman ngaios@farmside.co.nz

South Canterbury Provincial 
Meet at the Glasshouses at the Timaru Botanical Gardens. 11am 29 April 2016.
Contact Mary Ross (03 6860087) or mossvale@xtra.co.nz or Margaret Chapman (03693 9994 or mgchapman@xtra.co.nz by Tuesday 26th April if intending to participate for catering purposes.


Mid Canterbury Rural Women and the Women's Institute
Tinwald Domain - BYO Picnic and gold coin donation for ACWW on 29 April 2016
Contact Sandra Curd for more information curd@xtra.co.nz


Fordell-Mangamahu Branch 
Meet at the Shades farm, Aranui bridge 3663 Mangamahu Road, 9am Saturday 30th April 2016.$5 per person for Pennies for Friendship.
Afternoon tea will be served, all members to bring a plate. 

Contact Brenda Collins abc@farmside.co.nz or 03 3422818.


More About The Work Of ACWW

ACWW connects and supports women and communities worldwide by:

• Working in partnership with member societies to offer mutual support
• Connecting at international level through UN representation
• Funding community development projects
• Supporting agricultural initiatives
Find out more about ACWW here.


Women Walk the World 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Women Walk the World is an annual event, where women’s groups in many countries organise walks in their communities along local tracks and trails, to raise funds for the Associated Country Women of the World. Read More

Rural Women New Zealand would like to acknowledge that some farmers are experiencing tough times, in particular due to the low milk price in the dairy sector, and the drought conditions in regions throughout New Zealand.

“We encourage our members to be there for each other, please keep a close eye on your neighbours, as together we can cope with adverse weather conditions and unpredictable markets,” says Wendy McGowan, National President of Rural Women New Zealand.

A reminder that there are support services such as the Rural Support Trust, whose leaders have been working closely with farmers to monitor their well-being and directing them to relief assistance as well as organising community events and one-on-one mentoring.

Farmers also have access to IRD flexibility for tax payments during the drought.

We encourage our members and the wider rural community to connect with each other and also access support through agencies such as:

If you just want to talk, or know someone who is at risk, there are a range of support options available, including counselling services:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 - Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.
  • Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.
  • Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to 11pm)
  • Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm - 6pm weekdays)
  • The Lowdown: thelowdown.co.nz - website for young people ages 12 to 19.
  • National Depression Initiative - depression.org.nz (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service
  • For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz.

If it is an emergency or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, please call 111

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealander of the Year Awards on Wednesday 17 February.

Marie Appleton MNZM, a National Life Member of RWNZ accepted the Certificate of Achievement for the Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year award category at the gala awards ceremony.

The Community of the Year award category was won by Community Fruit Harvesting that pick and preserve neighbourhood fruit for charities.

“We are very honoured to receive the Certificate of Achievement in the category for New Zealand Community of the Year. It highlights the invaluable work of our organisation and its members’ ongoing support for people in rural communities through learning opportunities, advocacy and connections,” says Wendy McGowan, National President, Rural Women New Zealand.

Rural Women New Zealand is in its 91st year and is a leading representative body promoting and advocating on rural health, education, land and social issues. Members have access to practical learning workshops and leadership development opportunities, and build friendship and support networks which help grow dynamic communities.


RWNZ nominated for a New Zealander of the Year Award

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealander of the Year Awards on Wednesday 17 February.  Read More

Autumn has arrived and as the climate cools hunters will start tracking into the bush for the roar.

Rural Women New Zealand in collaboration with Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) would like all hunters to take extra care this roar. Don’t forget to take with you a personal locator beacon (PLB) as they are an essential part of your safety kit if things go wrong.

Rural Women New Zealand President Wendy McGowan says, “More and more of our rural women are obtaining firearms licences and are out there hunting and gathering as well. Firearms licencing nationally is on the increase and our women are a part of the reason why.”

“We want to see everyone home safely this roar, no more grieving families please.

“Every year there are injuries or fatalities involving firearms and now is a good time for users to remind themselves of some of the basic safety rules,” advises McGowan.

Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) Chairman Paul Clark reminds hunters of their responsibilities towards safe handling and security of the firearms before, during and after their hunt. “A firearms licenced owner’s responsibility does not end at the taking of their game, it ends when the firearm has been safely and securely stored away.”

COLFO are aware of the increase in firearms licences being issued to women. Clark suggests “It is well known that women generally learn handling and shooting skills quicker and are often consistent with this.” He goes on to add “The adrenaline rush that most males get while hunting during the roar appears to have less of an effect on most women hunters.”

Clark and McGowan both agree, “Full freezers, healthy eating and happy households this roar is the ultimate goal.”


THE FIREARMS SAFETY CODE: Seven Basic Rules of Safe Firearms Handling


  • Check every firearm yourself.
  • Pass or accept only an open or unloaded firearm. 


  • Loaded or unloaded, always point the muzzle in a safe direction.


  • Load the magazine only when you reach your shooting area.
  • Load the chamber only when ready to shoot.
  • Completely unload before leaving the shooting area. 


  • Movement, colour, sound and shape can all deceive you.
  • Assume colour, shape, sound, and shape to be human until proven otherwise. 


  • THINK! What may happen if you miss your target? What might you hit between you and the target or beyond?
  • Do not fire when you know others are in your firing zone. 


  • When not in use, lock away the bolt, firearm and ammunition separately.
  • Never leave firearms in a vehicle that is unattended. 


  • Good judgement is the key to safe use of firearms.


For further safety information refer to the Council of Licenced Firearms Owners.


Roar firearms and hunter safety

Thursday, March 24, 2016

 Read More

Central Southland Provincial Rural Women have held the 34th Bride of the Year.

Entrants included 18 Brides and 9 Bridesmaids.  A successful evening was enjoyed by over 300 in attendance, lace showed in many of the wedding gowns, and a variety of colours, length and styles in the bridesmaids' dresses.

Results Bride of the Year for 2016 (photo above)

Winner: Sally Driscoll nee: O’Brien (on right)

Second: Erin Milne nee: McGimpsey (on Left)

Third: Rachael Devlin nee: Crawford (Centre)


Bridesmaids Final (see photo below)


Left No 6 Amanda Paul (Placed Third) Bridesmaid for Erin Milne

Centre No 7 Kerry O’Brien (Placed Second) Bridesmaid for Sally Driscoll

Right No 9 Lauren Edgley (Winner) Bridesmaid for Megan McGregor



Bride of the Year Heats (below)

Left No 8 Paula Eckhold nee: Crighton

Centre No 9 Catherine McFadzien nee: Butt

Right No 7 Rachael Devlin nee: Crawford


Brides Heats Two

Left No 14 Suzanne Taylor nee: Richards

Centre No 15 Erin Milne nee: McGimpsey

Right No 13 Hannah Jozko nee: Hamilton (Daughter of the Hokonui President Neroli and Christopher Hamilton, Hannah travelled from Christchurch to enter as did her bridesmaid.)





Bridesmaid heats

Left No 5 Paula Anderson Bridesmaid for Suzanne Taylor

Centre No 7 Kerry O’Brien Bridesmaid for Sally Driscoll

Right No 6 Amanda Paul Bridesmaid for Erin Milne



We would like to acknowledge the Fiordland Advocate for supplying the photos.