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In March 2017, the Productivity Commission released a report recommending a number of changes to the way the Government funds and delivers Tertiary Education in New Zealand. RWNZ asked members for their feedback on the Productivity Commission’s Report, to inform on our submission to the Commission.
It was disappointing to see that the otherwise excellent report of the Productivity Commission largely bypassed the rural sector, as it is a unique sector with its own challenges.
Without these issues being specifically highlighted in the report, it is unlikely they will be directly addressed in any actions taken by government as a result of the report. Not only are the challenges faced by rural people of all ages seeking tertiary education likely to not be improved, their ability to access tertiary education could be reduced due to unforeseen consequences of changes made, albeit with the best intentions, that have not been rural-proofed. It was largely evident from the outset, and in the wording of the Scope, that the rural sector was not identified as a “priority group.” Where the report provided graphical and statistical information, the categories were either gender based, age based or with Māori/Pasifika, and in some cases Asian, identified as unique categories. Again, it has been identified that the rural sector is not being recognised.
Also concerning, is the perception that in general access to affordable, fast, reliable broadband has been assumed to be available to all learners. If so, then those on the wrong side of the “digital divide” will be further disadvantaged. The 527-page report from the Commission focused heavily on the way education is funded and the constraints and barriers resulting from that. The
benefits of access to quality tertiary education and the wide range of courses, included ACE funded courses, which categorised tertiary education, were also well covered in the report.

RWNZ’s submission with respect to the low number of students graduating with degrees in agricultural based subjects and the mismatch with the demand for skilled workers in primary production,
was also commented on in the report. The recommendations generally were ones that should have a positive impact on access to education, although how much, if at all, the rural sector would
benefit is unknown. This information needs to be specially addressed. In conclusion, RWNZ welcomes the report, and believes some very sensible recommendations were made. It is hoped that some of the proposals that are being considered will first be rural proofed so that impact can be measured. RWNZ would be happy to input into this process.

The Productivity Commission report is here: New models of tertiary education – the final report on the Commission’s tertiary education inquiry.

Background: 

In November 2015, the Government asked the Productivity Commission to examine how well New Zealand’s tertiary education system is set up to respond to, and take advantage of, trends in technology, internationalisation, demographics, tuition costs and demand for skills. We were also asked to identify potential barriers to innovation. 

The Commission’s report and its package of recommendations seek to give providers the scope to innovate in the delivery of tertiary education, and incentives to do so.
Key recommendations include:

  • better quality control and self-accreditation for strong performers;
  • strengthening the role of student demand in allocating funding to providers;
  • making it easier for students to transfer between courses;
  • abolishing University Entrance;
  • better careers education for young people;
  • enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets;
  • making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and
  • facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers.

Rural Women New Zealand published a submission for the Commission to consider in November 2016. Click here to download the Submission

RWNZ have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealander of the Year 2017 Awards. RWNZ were nominated in the Mitre 10 Community of the Year category.

RWNZ's Chief Executive Officer Penelope England and National President Fiona Gower, accepted the certificate on behalf of members on Wednesday 22 February.

 

New Zealander of the Year Awards 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

RWNZ have been awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the New Zealander of the Year 2017 Awards. RWNZ were nominated in the Mitre 10 Community of the Year category.  Read More

On International (Working) Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) would like to acknowledge the contribution of rural women to New Zealand’s communities and their pivotal role in primary industries and entrepreneurship.

For over 90 years RWNZ has been an integral part of the rural landscape. “RWNZ’s role is to support rural women through our organisation and help them grow. We have members from all walks of life and all industry sectors. Some members have incredible skills and knowledge which helps us innovate and find new ways to connect with the rural community,” says Fiona Gower, National President of RWNZ.

“One of RWNZ’s greatest strengths is the branch network where members can meet others and learn something new. It is important that women can meet-face-to-face, especially if they are living in isolated areas. RWNZ branches host social outings, community events and regular upskilling workshops.”

RWNZ is building partnerships with education organisations in the rural sector to assist members in developing their leadership skills and knowledge. Many members have progressed into leadership roles on local school boards, health committees, and district councils or become commercial company directors.

The RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Awards is a showcase for the success of women operating businesses in rural locations and contributing to their local economy and community. The competition has evolved over the years to promote entrepreneurship and encourage innovation in the use of technology in remote locations. Winners of the awards have included women lifestyle publishers, honey producers, native nursery operators, physiotherapists and adventure-tourism providers.

Wellbeing and access to health services is a feature of RWNZ’s ongoing commitment to ensuring rural women and their families continue to thrive. Recently the focus has been managing the challenges of living in rural locations and dealing with adverse events such as drought, fires, earthquakes and floods.

RWNZ are focused on building up community connections by hosting social activities such as Bingo nights and cricket matches which encourages people to socialise and have fun off-farm. It is also a good opportunity for people to connect with their neighbours and communities and talk about their experiences with others in similar situations.

RWNZ also hold an annual Women Walk the World fundraising event in April. It brings together members and local communities to participate in a walk or social get-together. The proceeds are collected for the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW). RWNZ is a member of ACCW which has a vision of an improved quality of life for women and communities worldwide.

In late April the South Pacific Area Conference for ACWW will be held in New Plymouth, it will bring together rural women from around the Pacific region. Conference proceedings include the Women Walk the World event, business sessions and reports from international representatives. Delegates will hear about the progress of rural women around the world, development of their communities and improved health services, and opportunities for education.

Pictured are Penny Mudford, RWNZ Board Chair with Penelope England, Chief Executive Officer of RWNZ at the Zonta International Women's Day Parliament Breakfast on Wednesday 8 March.

Green Party MP Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Bill is before Parliament, and RWNZ asks Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse and his fellow MPs to support the Bill.

The Bill seeks to address harms experienced by victims, by focusing on how workplaces can be made a safer and more accommodating place for victims. It would extend leave provisions to include domestic violence leave, as when women leave a violent situation it can be very hard for them to manage court proceedings, counselling, housing and the needs of their children without extra leave.

Work at a regular time and place can make work a target for the abuser, but with employer support through flexible working arrangements, that can be adjusted to support the employee.

“RWNZ believe that the Bill will have an impact on people who are victims of domestic violence and help support them when they need to leave the relationship,” says Fiona Gower, RWNZ National President.

“Rural women often have to travel long distances between home and work and it can be very difficult for them to move away from a violent relationship.

“The services for helping victims of domestic violence are mostly located in urban areas. Enabling rural women to take time off work to access services, is a step toward helping them to move away from a violent home, and setting a plan in place to rebuild their lives.”

RWNZ recently made a submission on the Government’s family violence law changes, in support of adding protection of animals to legislation. Violence to animals is often part of the package of abuse. Comments were also made about the lack of near-neighbours and isolation in general, also a woman’s support is often from friends and family of the perpetrator.

RWNZ have worked closely with the Ministry of Social Development on the campaign: ‘It’s Not OK‘. RWNZ have held several workshops with the Sophie Elliott Foundation spreading the message of how to recognise healthy relationships, and how to assist someone who is not in a healthy relationship.

Click here to read the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill (New Zealand Parliament website).


RWNZ support the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Green Party MP Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Bill is before Parliament, and RWNZ asks Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse and his fellow MPs to support the Bill.  Read More

Read All NewsRecent news


 

WINNERS OF THE NZ GUILD OF AGRICULTURAL JOURNALISTS AND COMMUNICATORS ANNOUNCED

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) presented two awards at the 60th New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators Awards (Guild's).

“RWNZ believes that the Guild’s are an important opportunity to recognise the talent which connects and strengthens New Zealand’s rural communities,” says National Chair, Penny Mudford.

“As an organisation, we sponsored two awards at this year’s Guilds – the Rural Connectivity Award and the RWNZ Journalism Award.

“RWNZ established the Rural Connectivity Award to recognise the importance of connectivity to rural communities and agri-businesses in rural areas, celebrating journalism that helps raise awareness about the issues and benefits of rural connectivity.

“This year, Gerald Piddock of Stuff NZ wins the Rural Connectivity Award for his work on how strengthening connections in rural communities is a way of supporting and attracting new farmers to the industry.

“The Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award was established to recognise the important contribution women make (and have always made) in the rural community, either through their role in the farming sector or to the general rural environment, in its broadest interpretation.

“Carol Stiles of Radio New Zealand’s Country Life Programme, wins the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2018 for her work on broadcasts which highlighted how one women’s dream of sheep farming came to fruition and another who is changing the lives of retired farm dogs.

“RWNZ is proud to be involved with the Guild’s and look forward to hearing and seeing more from the entrants and winners who grow, connect and support our rural communities,” says Ms Mudford.

Ends

For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Rural Women New Zealand

National Office

[email protected]

 

 

 

Rural Women New Zealand released a media release calling for a review of school bus eligibility criteria. 

 

 

RURAL SCHOOL BUS SERVICE REVIEW NEEDED

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is calling for a review of the school bus eligibility criteria, particularly in the rural areas.

“The safest way for children to get to school in rural New Zealand is by bus, however, the current eligibility criteria for the service means that children are being put in dangerous situations,” says Education Portfolio Convenor and Board Member, Sue Higgins.

“If children live within two kilometres of a rural school they are not eligible for the local bus service where there is one, and are forced to walk or cycle on roads with no shoulders, often used by logging trucks, stock trucks and milk tankers, making it treacherous for our children.

“RWNZ understands that parents are responsible for ensuring their children go to school, however, the rural bus is vital for farming families who have both a busy working life and distance, for those who live further away, to contend with.

“A review of the criteria applied to children’s eligibility for their local rural school bus service is needed – school by school.

“It’s time the Government showed leadership on keeping our rural children safe on their journey to and from school,” says Mrs Higgins.

Ends

 

For further information, please contact:
Rural Women New Zealand
National Office
04 473 5524
[email protected]


 

 

Rural school bus service review needed.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand released a media release calling for a review of school bus eligibility criteria.  Read More

 Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release following the announcement that Lumsden will lose its birthing unit. 

 

MEDIA RELEASE

16 August 2018
For immediate release

 

RURAL MATERNITY CARE IN CRISIS

The downgrading of maternity care in rural Otago and Southland will be catastrophic says Rural Women New Zealand(RWNZ).

“On top of the news that Lumsden’s birthing unit has been downgraded to a pre- and post-natal care unit, RWNZ understands that Wanaka has lost its bid to have a primary birthing unit and this does not bode well for rural communities,” says Board Member and Health Convenor, Margaret Pittaway.

“Whilst RWNZ is somewhat pleased that Lumsden will retain care facilities for any woman with pre- and post-natal needs, women ready to give birth will need to travel at least 50 kilometres to the nearest delivery suite.

“Wanaka is expecting 200 births this coming year and there will be no primary birthing unit, and like Lumsden, will become a hub.

“The Otago-Southland region has a huge hinterland with many young parents who are choosing to have families and raise them in this wonderful part of the world and are at risk due to distance from the maternity care they are entitled to.

"No consideration has been given to those parents who have needed the services provided at Lumsden and already travelling up to two hours, now having an extra 50 kilometres added.

“When assessing maternity needs there is always two lives to consider, the mother and the child, and its outrageous that at the time in their lives when they should be close to their families they are not able to be, due to poor decision-making.

“It is not acceptable that pregnant women in rural areas of the South Island are now miles away from anywhere that can support them to have safe births, something a rural impact analysis would have highlighted.

“It’s time the Government and DHB ensured rural communities have the same access to maternity care as urban communities expect,” says Mrs Pittaway.

Ends

 

For more information, please contact National Office.

[email protected]

04 473 5524

 

 

 

 

 

Rural maternity care in crisis

Thursday, August 16, 2018

 Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release following the announcement that Lumsden will lose its birthing unit.  Read More

Please read below our media release about Suffrage125 celebrations with RWNZ across the country. 

 

NEW ZEALAND’S FARMING WOMEN CELEBRATING 125 YEARS ON

Rural women across the country have been celebrating the 125th year of universal suffrage in a variety of events says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“The 125th celebration of the day women finally won the right to vote is such a big milestone in New Zealand’s history that commemoration events will to be held over several days,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

“RWNZ Suffrage Day celebrations ranged from sharing family stories about collecting signatures on the petition, marches through rural towns, to our involvement in the ‘What Women Want’ project.

“Other events include capsule openings, celebrations alongside other community groups, and screenings of women-centric movies including ‘She Shears’.

“Our social media campaign in conjunction with the Ministry of Primary Industries showcasing New Zealand’s primary sector women is my personal highlight of the Suffrage 125 commemorations.

“Many of our Members will be celebrating right up until 28 November, which is the date of the first election in which women could vote in 1893,” says Ms Gower.

Ends

For further information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Rural Women New Zealand
National Office
04 473 5524
[email protected]


 

New Zealand's farming women celebrating 125 years on

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Please read below our media release about Suffrage125 celebrations with RWNZ across the country. 

 

NEW ZEALAND’S FARMING WOMEN CELEBRATING 125 YEARS ON

Rural women across the country have been celebrating the 125th year of universal suffrage in a variety of events says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“The 125th celebration of the day women finally won the right to vote is such a big milestone in New Zealand’s history that commemoration events will to be held over several days,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

“RWNZ Suffrage Day celebrations ranged from sharing family stories about collecting signatures on the petition, marches through rural towns, to our involvement in the ‘What Women Want’ project.

“Other events include capsule openings, celebrations alongside other community groups, and screenings of women-centric movies including ‘She Shears’.

“Our social media campaign in conjunction with the Ministry of Primary Industries showcasing New Zealand’s primary sector women is my personal highlight of the Suffrage 125 commemorations.

“Many of our Members will be celebrating right up until 28 November, which is the date of the first election in which women could vote in 1893,” says Ms Gower.

Ends

For further information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Rural Women New Zealand
National Office
04 473 5524
[email protected]


 

 Read More

Rural Women New Zealand has today released a media release following the announcement that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will move to shut down if it does not receive funding.

Read the announcement here.  

 

 

ANOTHER SET BACK FOR THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF RURAL COMMUNITIES

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) are saddened to see that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will cease operating if it does not receive government funding next week.

 

“RWNZ supports the work already done by RHAANZ in bringing together various rural groups and rural health providers to develop initiatives for rural communities,” says RWNZ Board Member and Health Portfolio Convenor, Margaret Pittaway.

“Remarkable work has been done to deliver the Rural Health Road Map which sets out a plan and priorities for achieving healthily rural communities.

“Being geographically isolated, often with significant distance to the nearest town or health centre means that rural communities have an immediate need of affordable and reliable access to all health services.

“The Government has committed to rural proofing government policy, and RHAANZ has a vital part to play in this development – without the continuation of RHAANZ, and the work it does, rural communities will go backwards.

“There is no other place where issues impacting the health and wellbeing of rural communities are considered concurrently, and the loss of achievements met and efforts made by RHAANZ will be detrimental for our rural people.

RWNZ urges the Government to recognise the good work that has been done by RHAANZ and to support its continuation," says Mrs Pittaway.

Ends

 

 

Another setback for health and wellbeing of rural communities.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand has today released a media release following the announcement that the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) will move to shut down if it does not receive funding. Read More

 

 

NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards

 

The NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards will be held on the evening of Tuesday, 20 November 2018 in Wellington in the Banquet Hall at Parliament.

A review of the Enterprising Rural Women Awards has been completed by the RWNZ Board with feedback from members and participants, external advice, and the awards partners.

The awards have been renamed the NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards and NZI is the Premier Partner. The categories have been broadened, the application process has been updated and the judging criteria strengthened.

 

The NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards give an outstanding opportunity to showcase your business. The event attracts extensive media coverage and promotional opportunities. All winners will receive a membership of Rural Women New Zealand for one year. All category winners will each receive $1000 in prize money and a trophy, and the Supreme Winner will receive a further $1000 in prize money.

 

“Winning the Supreme Award was such an amazing result. I am proud of my achievements and honoured to be surrounded by such inspiring, talented and strong women,”

- Debra Cruickshank of Tannacrieff Wines, Supreme winner 2017.

 

 

You can download the entry forms below, which contain information regarding entry criteria and conditions of entry. The PDF version can be downloaded, printed, filled out and scanned or posted to National Office. The Word.doc available can be electronically filled out using Microsoft Word and sent as an attachment to National Office. Please send entry forms to [email protected].

First stage entry forms (13, June – 1, August) PDF

First stage entry forms (13, June – 1, August) Word.doc


The categories for the NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards 2018 are:

  • Emerging business: Awarded to a business starting out in its journey and achieving exceptional results. Open to businesses that have been running from 2 – 5 years.
  • Love of the Land: Harnessing the potential of New Zealand’s land, environment or products of the land, to create a successful business enterprise.
  • Creative Arts: A business specialising in the creative arts working in a rural environment or using rural materials.
  • Innovation: An enterprise that challenges the status quo to bring something new and innovative to the market or utilising rural resources in an innovative way.
  • Rural Champion: A person or business who champions the rural sector or a rural enterprise – an outstanding contributor who goes above and beyond the normal in their support rural enterprise. Open to anybody.
 

A Supreme winner will be chosen from all category finalists, who has shown excellence and outstanding achievement across all entry criteria.

 

Please find following the relevant dates for entries:

  • Wednesday, 13 June - Launch of awards at National Fieldays, entries open
  • Wednesday, 1 August - Entries close, first round judging starts
  • Friday, 31 August - First round judging complete
  • Saturday, 1 September - First stage finalists contacted and second round entries open
  • Sunday, 30 September - Second stage entries close
  • Monday, 1 October - Second stage judging begins.
  • Tuesday, 20 November - NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards (winners announced).

Please read the media release launching the NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards here:

If you are interested in supporting the awards as a category partner, please contact [email protected].

NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

  Read More