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


Strong, Enduring Rural Environments



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Wonder how many groups taking part in Women Walk the World events around the globe were accompanied by an animal?

Near Whanganui, Harley the pet goat followed 13 Fordell-Mangamahu members all the way on their 12 kilometre trek over hilly terrain during their Women Walk the World day out.

Setting off from a farmhouse at 190 metres above sea level, the members and Harley climbed up to 434 metres over four hours, traversing typical hill country land.  They took their lunch with them and enjoyed the wonderful 360 degree views in perfect autumn weather. Not to be left out, three dogs also joined the hikers and Harley on their adventure.

The walk was one of 30 that Rural Women NZ members took part in, combining a social day in the fresh air with fundraising for the ACWW cause. In total we raised $1,931.76.  

Our Forest Reserve branch members in the far north chose to do a coastal walk at Mangawhai heads.  “Starting  at the Sandbar Cafe they climbed the stairs to the clifftop walkway.  “This walk mirrored the Troubadour’s Walk one of the walks in the hugely popular Mangawhai Walking Weekend held in March.  We enjoyed the stupendous view of the Estuary and out to sea the Hen and Chicken Islands and Little Barrier on the horizon before wending our way down a track through bush on the headland to the Estuary again.  An amble along the shore then a stiff climb up to the residential streets of Mangwhai Heads and back to the Sandbar for a drink and informal meeting.  A total of $100 was raised from a gold coin donation for the walk and an extra special trading table.  A fun day for a good cause.

North Auckland Provincial members and some husbands and friends gathered at Butler’s Point Whaling Museum at Hi Hi beach, Mangonui, to look around the museum and walk through the beautiful old gardens of the homestead, built in 1876, including 170 year old magnolia trees, says Marilyn Hutchings, provincial president.
Our smallest branches weren’t going to be left out either.  Three members from Colville in north Coromandel set off on a fine morning, riding their bikes a short distance before walking up and over the hill to Waitete Bay, where they plunged into the sea for a refreshing swim and ate lunch before retracing their footsteps back to Colville, a 16 kilometre walk in total.

Omokoroa Rural Women met at Salisbury Wharf at Mt Maunganui and after an enjoyable lunch walked along the beautiful boardwalk at Pilot Bay.

A larger group of 32 members explored the newly-opened Clutha Gold Trail in the South Island, which offers a unique heritage experience. The trail showcases the area’s history, including the earliest Maori moa hunters, Chinese gold miners and European-style farming. The walkers, from our Beaumont-Tuapeka group, rounded out their day’s activities with raffles to raise funds for ACWW and a well-deserved cup of tea.

Other walks were held in Taranaki, at Lake Mangamahoe, Dargaville during the regional conference, Thomson’s Bush on the banks of the Waihopai River near Invercargill, at Puketi coastal garden, at Butler’s Museum Kaikohe; at the Waitahora Valley by members of the Mangatoro branch; and at Mount Maunganui, where members of Te Puke-Rotoehu branch stepped out.  Cromwell branch members walked around Lake Hayes and lunched together in Arrowtown after their 10K hike.  Rukuhia and Tirau branch members walked around Lake Cameron, and Rerewhakaaiti members took a stroll around a retirement village gardens. Others groups that took part included Franklin, Oropi, Hampden, North Otago Provincial, Henley, Pokuru, Naike, Auroa, Muhuinoa East, Scotts Ferry, Mahikapawa and Omokoroa branches.  You all earned yourselves a cuppa and a big pat on the back!

Once again, Rural Women New Zealand’s Women Walk the World challenge was a great success and our members are looking forward to taking part again next year.

National council has agreed to donate $1000 from Women Walk the World to our Solomon Islands appeal.  The rest will go to ACWW’s Pennies for Friendship fund. To date we have raised $1931.76.  

Women Walk the World 2014

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Wonder how many groups taking part in Women Walk the World events around the globe were accompanied by an animal? Read More

Rural Women NZ's letter box sticker competition is helping show our support for violence-free families.

The competition is being run in partnership with the national It’s Not OK Campaign.

People can show they support violence-free families by posting a sticker on their letter box encouraging us all to make our communities safer. 

Then enter our competition by sending in a photo of your letter box with the sticker on it, just like the one sent in here by one of member Wendy Knight.

Did you know ...

In New Zealand 39% of women in rural areas and 33% in urban areas will experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime
Half of all murders and 58% of violent crime in New Zealand is family violence
Police are called to a family violence incident every six minutes but estimate only 20% of incidents are ever reported.

Family violence can be hard to detect in rural communities where houses are far apart and victims can be more easily isolated from family and friends than in built up areas.

“It can be easy to say ‘It’s not my business’ if we are worried that violence might be happening to someone we know.  But family violence is a crime and should be reported,” says national president, Wendy McGowan.

“As members of Rural Women NZ we can take leadership on this issue.  We can use our profile in our communities to bring this serious social issue out into the open.”

“Friends and family are usually the first people to see the signs of violence in the home and we encourage people to offer help – safely – if they are concerned.

“We say it’s better to be wrong than sorry, so act on your gut instinct.  We don’t recommend intervening in a violent situation, but do recommend asking for help or advice or reaching out at a quiet time.”

Violence is not just physical, it’s psychological, sexual, financial and emotional. Below are some signs that violence is happening in a family relationship.

A victim may be:

fearful, nervous
isolated, doesn't want you coming round
worried about their partner's reaction

A child may be:

silent and withdrawn
unusually well behaved

A perpetrator may be:

controlling their partner and children
making all the decisions
jealous and possessive
controlling finance

The It’s not OK website has more information for family and friends.

The Rural Women NZ letterbox sticker and awareness campaign will run throughout 2014. Contact national office if you'd like a supply of stickers for your community.

Rural Women New Zealand members have organised some great events for Adult Learners Week in September.

Tamahere (Waikato) - chainsaw day

Awana (Great Barrier) - prostate and health issues day

Moa Flat (Otago) - workshop on Iriens

Beaumont-Tuapeka (Southland) - whanau fun day of workshops

Central Taranaki - education changes in primary schools; how parents and grandparents can help

Southland Interprovincial - IT skills day

Rukuhia (Waikato) - IT skills day

Onewhero (Auckland) - communications and leadership day

Pakawau - first aid refresher course

For more information contact Mary Gavigan, ACE Aotearoa

Adult Learners' Week events

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rural Women New Zealand members have organised some great events for Adult Learners Week in September. Read More

NZ Future Farms ConferenceThe way farms are managed is changing.  Today’s farms require more capital, expertise, and governance to remain competitive into the future.  

Join us at the NZ Future Farms Conference, being held at Te Papa Wellington from 20-21 October to focus on the many ways of boosting farm performance and improving farm management.

Delegates are expected from corporate farming, legal, financial, farms services, and small hold farming backgrounds.

Bex WarburtonSouthland Rural Women NZ member, Becs Warburton, (left) will represent Rural Women NZ as a panellist at the Future Farms conference on 21 October. Becs was one of our Growing Dynamic Leaders course participants earlier this year, and runs her own business helping farmers to develop their financial and business literacy skills. Before moving to Southland earlier this year she was a member of our Rangitikei Women in Farming Group.

Free conference places available for smallholding (family) farmers - here's how to apply:

Please make your applications in writing to reception@conferenz.co.nz by 5pm, 24 September 2014.  All applicants will be notified in writing by 1 October 2014.  Please note that the offer is valid for the conference only.

Link to conference brochure

Link to Future Farms Conference website

Future Farms Conference - Te Papa - 20-21 October

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

NZ Future Farms ConferenceThe way farms are managed is changing.  Today’s farms require more capital, expertise, and governance to remain competitive into the future.    Read More

Northland has been dealt a severe blow from adverse weather over the last couple of weeks and we know some of you wish to help those who've suffered losses, even from afar.

As we know from past events, it isn’t just now that assistance will be needed and appreciated.  It is later once the clean-up is finished that the effect of the stress may show itself.  It’s well documented that such adverse events lead to a spike in family violence, while some people may suffer the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder later.

Northland is an area with a large number of lower socio-economic communities that are less well-resourced financially to cope when disaster strikes.

We aim to assist people under stress in the region now, and to help reduce the impacts further down the track, by:

• sharing information about support available, including the “It’s OK to Ask for Help” campaign
• promoting and supporting Mental Health 101 courses (or similar) being specifically organised for the region
• working with other agencies to find out where help is needed
• organising community get-togethers, morning teas, bbqs etc to de-stress and share information
• raising funds to distribute to those with specific needs

Northland appeal:  If you’d like to donate to our Rural Women NZ Northland Appeal, please deposit funds into Bank Account 06 0493 0317603 00 (Kaurilands RWNZ) or post cheques to Rural Women NZ, PO Box 12-021, Thorndon, Wellington (donations are tax deductible). 

Our Regional Management Team will work with local agencies and support groups in the area to identify where the funds are needed most.

If any members are in need of help, or you know of somebody in need of support, please get in touch with our Top of the North regional councillor, Fiona Gower


Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award, in association with the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists. 

We welcome entries from journalists in the print and broadcast media. Pictured here are last year's very deserving winners, Sarah Perriam and Tony Glynn of Rural TV, with Jackie Edkins of Rural Women NZ.

The award recognises the important contribution women make in rural communities, either through their role in the farming sector, or to the general rural environment.

Entry form and information

Entries must be of two articles /programmes based on the theme of “rural women making a difference”.  This could be in the sense of community involvement, on farm or in another rural-based business or activity.
Any New Zealand-based journalist or communicator is eligible to enter the award.  

Entries close Friday, 12 September.  

Guild of Agricultural Journalists Awards Open

Friday, August 01, 2014

Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award, in association with the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists.  Read More