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RWNZ is the Premier Sponsor for Number 1 stand; a film about five women in a unique workplace, the shearing shed.

The shearing sports film investigates what drives women shearers to sacrifice so much personally and professionally to follow their dream to win The Golden Shears. The filmmakers follow five characters as they chase sporting glory, and delve deeper into New Zealand's most unconventional national sport.

In New Zealand shearing competitions there is no specific women's competition. The women compete with the men, which demonstrates that the women competitors are achieving incredible accolades in a traditionally male-dominated sport.

RWNZ will host the film premiere at the Golden Shears event in Masterton in 2018.

“RWNZ is delighted to support this documentary as we believe it will showcase the hard-working women who dedicate their skills to shearing and wool handling,” says Fiona Gower, RWNZ National President.

“For over 90 years RWNZ has been part of the rural landscape and historically many of our members were based on sheep farms or involved in wool production. We hope the story-telling will provide insight into New Zealand’s successful wool industry, and inspire current and future women shearers.”

The rural landscape is changing and women are at the forefront of these changes with our documentary following some of these new pioneers, says Jack Nicol, documentary filmmaker.

“We are immensely proud to be working with Rural Women New Zealand on this wonderful film. It feels like a natural partnership as the organisation represents the type of women we are following in our film – strong, resourceful, independent country women.”

The five women featured include:

Hazel Wood: junior shearer and dairy farmer based in Ruawai.
Catherine Mullooly: senior shearer working in Piopio and Australia.
Pagan Karauria: senior shearer and open wool handler, based in Alexandra.
Emily Welch: open level shearer and a shearing contractor and current world record holder for shearing 648 sheep in a day.

Jill Angus Burney: open level shearer and barrister based in Masterton, and former world record holder. Emily broke Jill’s record.

To follow the film documentary go to: www.facebook.com/No.1Stand/


RWNZ proud sponsors of Number 1 Stand Documentary

Friday, April 21, 2017
RWNZ is the Premier Sponsor for Number 1 stand; a film about five women in a unique workplace, the shearing shed. Read More

The report of the Law and Order Select Committee into the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand has missed the target says RWNZ.

The report has largely disregarded the purpose for which it was set up (criminal use of firearms), along with the vast majority of the submissions and quality research.

Earlier this year the Prime Minister, Bill English announced the Safer Communities package which will result in additional police, an announcement welcomed by RWNZ. Also welcomed by RWNZ was yesterday’s announcement of an extra 20 police stations around the country being ramped up to a 24/7 police presence over the next four years. It is hoped that these additional resources will benefit communities.

Rachael Dean, RWNZ National Finance Chair says, “it is extremely disappointing that measures focusing on criminals have been largely ignored by the Select Committee but a law abiding shotgun or 22 owner can have their premises entered by Police without notice, and without a shred of evidence that the person has ever committed, or planned to commit a crime. However, the ability for the Police to do this is a recommendation of the Select Committee.”

RWNZ believes that by continuing the focus on non-criminals, the Select Committee recommends a range of changes that will add to the cost and paperwork of licensed firearms owners. None of the recommendations are costed but it should be noted that expensive measures targeting non-criminals reduce Police budgets for other more pressing matters - such as increased police resources in rural areas.

“Changes such as needing a permit to procure for the sale or transfer of all firearms means four trips to an already under-resourced police station to be able to borrow a neighbour’s or fellow rifle club member's .22 or shotgun,” says Rachael Dean.

“Clearly the Select Committee believe rural people have nothing better to do then spend their days, at considerable cost, traveling on hilly, windy, gravel roads to carry out simple transactions. I doubt if the criminals using the sawn-off shot-guns referred to in the report will be bothering with permits to procure.”

Other recommendations focus on having dealers keep records of all ammunition sold. "Aside from creating thousands of business records and adding to dealers costs, costs which be passed onto shooters, all this will achieve is a record of dealers selling ammunition to licence holders. There is no logical reason why this would prevent criminals having access to firearms," says Rachael Dean.

RWNZ asserts that not only does the report largely ignore criminal use of firearms but also treats law-abiding people as criminals.

"Where there is a focus on criminals is via suggestions that would legislate criminals into existence. As would be the case if for example, all the .22 calibre semi-automatic rifle, and semi auto shotgun owners suddenly found they now owned an “E” category firearm instead of an “A” category," says Rachael Dean.

RWNZ suggests the Select Committee abandons the imposition of onerous, expensive, ineffective compliance on the law-abiding. RWNZ also suggests the Select Committee turn their thinking to their stated purpose and take an evidence-based approach to focusing on criminals also on criminal activities that are known to be associated with firearms, such as drugs.

Click here to read the Select Committee Report on the Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand


RWNZ responds to the Law and Order Select Committee report on firearms

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The report of the Law and Order Select Committee into the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand has missed the target says RWNZ. Read More

The Aftersocks™ NZ campaign has been gearing up over the last few months to become a permanent sub brand of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) as our rural community continues to endure natural disasters and adverse events.

This award-winning philanthropic initiative assists affected individuals, community groups and organisations in rural areas, with a grant, following disruptive environmental events.

Over 21,000 pairs of New Zealand made merino socks have been sold, with proceeds contributing over $130,000 into communities since 2010. The recent Kaikōura earthquakes heightened the need to continue this support and include adverse events that have since followed; fire, floods and drought.

To support this campaign, RWNZ have launched a website www.aftersocks.nz, where you can Buy, Wear and Share your support with others. You can also apply to the Adverse Events Relief Fund for financial support, through this website. Grants to $1,000, can be approved for a wide range of needs, to those affected in the rural sector.

RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower, is encouraging members to join the campaign on social media, “wear and share your support by uploading a photo and tagging the @aftersocksnz Facebook page. We want to see you wearing your pair of Aftersocks™ in support of affected rural communities”. The campaign aims to attract support for the fund, to then distribute back into those rural communities most in need.

The Aftersocks™ NZ campaign promotes New Zealand supporting New Zealand made, supporting New Zealanders. The rural sector is a valuable industry, and what better way to continue to support this, than producing a product from merino wool. RWNZ has teamed up with The New Zealand Sock Company in Ashburton to produce Aftersocks™. This relationship now spans 6 years, with Sales Manager Jared Moore seeing it as “a privilege to work alongside Rural Women New Zealand, they are proactive, think outside the square, and they are doing great things in the wider community”.

Due to the rise of production costs, there has been an increase in the price of Aftersocks™ from $20.00 - $23.00 including GST.

RWNZ would like to encourage anyone who requires assistance following disruptive environmental events, to visit www.aftersocks.nz and apply for the Adverse Events Relief Fund. If you, your Group, Provincial, or Branch would like to make a donation to the fund, please make your deposits into the RWNZ account, details listed below. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to us directly please call the RWNZ National Office on 0800 256 467 during normal office hours.

Donation Details:
Rural Women New Zealand
ANZ: 06-0501-0778590-00
Reference: Adverse Fund
To request a donation receipt please email [email protected]


Aftersocks™ boosts support for rural communities

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Aftersocks™ NZ campaign has been gearing up over the last few months to become a permanent sub brand of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) as our rural community continues to endure natural disasters and adverse events.  Read More

Rural Support Trust representatives are working closely with farmers to monitor well-being and directing them to relief assistance for flooding and other adverse events.

The Rural Support Trust advise farmers to ensure stock and domestic animals have food, water, and shelter where necessary, and are secure. Ensure that all stock injuries are promptly attended too, after human needs are met.

If your farm or rural property or stock has been affected by an adverse event and you need assistance, contact your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP) with information on the impacts on your farm, or requests for help.

The Rural Women New Zealand Adverse Events and Relief Fund is available to individuals, communities and groups, with a particular emphasis on rural women and children. The fund provides financial assistance to persons or groups, where there is an identified urgent need due to recent adverse events such as drought, fires, floods or earthquakes.

Click here to read more about applying for the fund.

Contact details for support agencies:

The Rural Support Trust (RST organise community events and one-on-one mentoring, as well as targeted support services in emergency situations)  
http://www.rural-support.org.nz Ph: 0800 787 254.

DairyNZ: Sharemilkers support http://www.dairynz.co.nz/farm/tactics/support-for-sharemilkers/

Federated Farmers http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/ Ph: 0800 327 646 or drought feedline 0800 376 844.

Doug Avery’s Resilient Farmer http://www.resilientfarmer.co.nz/

Farmstrong http://www.farmstrong.co.nz

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.

Women's Refuge: 0800 REFUGE (733 843) a 24/7 crisis and support line provide advice and information.

Shakti New Zealand 0800SHAKTI (0800 742 584) If you are in a situation of domestic violence call our 24-hour crisis line, and multi-lingual staff will provide information.

Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.

What'sup: 0800 942 8787 (0800 What’s Up) is a counselling helpline for children and young people, aged 5-18. Phone Mon-Fri 1-10pm, Sat-Sun 3-10pm.

Kidsline: 0800 543 754, it is a 24/7 helpline for children and teens, run by specially trained youth volunteers.

Thelowdown.co.nz - Free Text 5626, watch videos or contact for support. 

depression.org.nz National Depression Initiative (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service 

Ministry for Children Oranga Tamariki If you're worried about a child or family that you know, there are ways you can help, contact Child, Youth and Family.

For information about suicide prevention, see http://www.spinz.org.nz .

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

Rural community support services

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Rural Support Trust representatives are working closely with farmers to monitor well-being and directing them to relief assistance for flooding and other adverse events. Read More

Read All NewsRecent news

(Pictured above: Minister Damien O'Çonnor meeting with RWNZ Chief Executive Officer Penelope England, National President Fiona Gower, National Chair Penny Mudford and Manager of Government, Public Sector and Academic Relationships Angela McLeod.)


Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release supporting the recent announcement to reintegrate rural proofing into policy development. Please read the media release below. 



Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is pleased to see rural proofing is back on the table and being included in the Government’s policy work.

“Understanding the impact that Government policies, service delivery and business behaviour have on our rural communities is not only vital to the success of the rural economy, it builds and maintains our rural social fabric,” says RWNZ National President, Fiona Gower.

“RWNZ has been calling for rural impact analyses to be carried out in both the public and private sector because decisions have, and are being made that have a detrimental effect on rural communities.

“As a member of the advisory group that supported the development of the Government’s new Rural Proofing Guide for Policy Development and Service Delivery Planning, RWNZ is encouraged by the final document.

“RWNZ will continue to work alongside the Government, its agencies and entities to ensure successful implementation of the Rural Proofing Guide.

“The Government’s new rural proofing policy guidelines will go a long way to alleviating poor policy development and service delivery, and RWNZ is looking forward to seeing better outcomes for rural communities,” says Ms Gower.



For further information, please contact National Office:

[email protected]





Rural Proofing Back On the Table

Thursday, June 14, 2018

 Read More


Rural Women New Zealand would like to congratulate Alison Van Wyk for her appointment as CEO of Access Community Health. 



Alison has a background in nursing and possesses sales, marketing and management experience within the pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare supply chain markets both within New Zealand and internationally. Instrumental in establishing professional programmes of clinical care and advice in pharmacy and the reclassification of medicines for Green Cross Health, Alison has taken a leadership role in advocacy for pharmacy and government relations within the health industry.

Alison commenced her new role effective 18 June 2018.


Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release following the announcement this morning that the Government are giving a funding boost to help improve child and family wellbeing. 


Read the relevant media here.



The announcement this morning that the Government will be giving family violence services a boost of $76.2 million is a step in the right direction for our women and families, says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“New Zealand’s rate of violence against women and children is unacceptable – it is great to see the Government increasing support services for women, families, and communities in need," says RWNZ National Chair, Penny Mudford.

The Government also announced that additional funding in 2019/2020 would enable services to expand into areas where there is currently no support.

“Women and children living in rural New Zealand have particular challenges and can be vulnerable to physical and psychological abuse due to their geographic and social isolation.

“For some, living rurally means they are some distance from their families and whānau and do not have the support that the wider family can provide.

“Family violence victims in rural New Zealand do not have the same level of access to psychological and legal support as urban women and children do, due to living rurally.

“RWNZ hope that this boost announced by the Government will be used to empower our rural communities by giving women and children who are victims of violence the help and support they so badly need,” says Ms Mudford.


Rural Women New Zealand have released a media release raising our concerns for how data is being collected in this year's census.

Please read the media release below.


This year’s census is in danger of not providing the data needed to make good decisions, says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ).

“Whilst we understand and support the excitement of capturing our census data online, our concern is that many people still do not have access to internet while others might not have the capability or capacity to do so,” says National President, Fiona Gower.

“The timing of the delivery of access code letters, which indicate that New Zealanders can opt for paper forms presents challenges for our rural communities, given that delivery of mail is taking longer and might only be delivered three days a week.

“The chances of a rural household without internet or with unreliable internet, receiving census paper forms in time for Tuesday, 6 March is slim, and that is concerning.

“RWNZ is doing everything possible to ensure our networks are aware of the new way of doing the Census although surely more thought should have gone in to how the valuable information about the lives and status of New Zealanders would be collected.

“Maybe this year, there could have been a concerted effort to use both electronic collection and paper collection to ensure integrity of the data,” says Ms Gower.



Please contact the National Office for more information.



National Office

Rural Women New Zealand


[email protected]

04 473 5524



(image source: www.census.govt.nz)

Census Data Collection Integrity Questioned

Monday, February 26, 2018

Rural Women New Zealand have released a media release raising our concerns for how data is being collected in this year's census.  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.  




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.




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

Rural Women New Zealand has released a media release regarding our involvement to help support communities affected by the M.bovis outbreak. With 38 farms currently infected, and others under movement control, we encourage farmers to contact their local Rural Support Trust and visit MPI’s website for advice and support.


Read more about this here.

Read the media release below.




  Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has offered their full support to the Government for communities that are affected by the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) outbreak. This announcement was made in a meeting earlier this week with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor, and Waikato dairy farmers, then reiterated with industry leaders.


“Our rural communities are really hurting in this unprecedented biosecurity outbreak – it is vital they are supported throughout this response, no matter what future plan is decided next week,” says RWNZ National President Fiona Gower.

“From what I saw on Monday and what we are hearing from our members and others in the industry, it is clear that the response to M. bovis is upsetting and we are pleased to have been able to offer our support.

“Since 1925, RWNZ members have been the glue that holds rural communities together and nearly 100 years later we continue by working with Rural Support Trusts, visiting farming families, and offering funding for adverse events.

“The decision to offer our full support comes from recent meetings with industry leaders and the Minister, and from our many years’ experience supporting rural communities.

“We are pleased that RWNZ can continue our tradition of charitable giving and we look forward to working with the Government and industry to ensure rural communities are fully supported through the M. bovis outbreak,” says Ms Gower.