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RWNZ has lodged a submission on the Ministry of Health’s update of the Health of Older people strategy, urging the Government to give priority to the unique needs of older adults in rural areas.

RWNZ Health spokesperson, Margaret Pittaway says, “The strategy sets out a worthy and aspirational set of goals for the health and wellbeing of older adults for the next ten years, yet it fails to give appropriate attention to the special and unique challenges of ageing in rural areas.”

In its submission RWNZ highlight ongoing barriers to access to older adult health services in rural areas, along with health disparities affecting this population group. ”Implementation of the actions in this strategy must be given special priority in rural areas, in particular the goal of bringing health services closer to home deserves immediate attention in rural areas” says Margaret Pittaway.

There remains a distinct lack of primary healthcare services in rural areas and geographical barriers of access. According to a survey of RWNZ members over 25% of those living in rural areas must travel over 30 minutes to access the closest GP. “There must be greater government investment in retaining and training a dedicated health workforce for rural populations, if the government is to achieve its goal of healthy ageing” says Margaret Pittaway.

RWNZ‘s submission also highlights concerns around working conditions for those in the aged care sector and lack of support for the family and carers of older adults. “Unfortunately the government’s ‘Ageing in place’ strategy has had the consequence of placing the burden of care of older adults onto family members. More support must be made available for those supporting loved ones with acute health needs”.


RWNZ Submission on the government health strategy for older adults

Friday, September 09, 2016

RWNZ has lodged a submission on the Ministry of Health’s update of the Health of Older people strategy, urging the Government to give priority to the unique needs of older adults in rural areas. Read More

A $3000 education scholarship is available for health professionals with an interest in the rural sector. 

The Rural Women New Zealand and Access Scholarship is aimed at applicants who are working in the health field with rural connections, and wish to further their studies in health or disability studies. Preference will be given to applicants who are studying at post-graduate level.

“Access is proud to support ongoing professional development for health professionals working in the rural community, and we are pleased to continue to offer the scholarship alongside Rural Women New Zealand,” says Simon Lipscombe, Chief Executive of Access.

Wendy McGowan, National President of Rural Women New Zealand says the organisation is committed to offering the scholarship to rural health professionals. “We advocate for equity in health services in rural communities on a par with urban areas. That includes upskilling our health professionals to offer quality information and advice to rural patients,” says Wendy McGowan.

Last year the scholarship was awarded to Heather Leong, a Community Registered Nurse based in Waikato. Heather intended to use the scholarship to fund her studies to complete an International Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate in the United States.

Heather planned to apply the skills gained from her studies in her nursing work in the Waikato rural community.

Applications close on 1 July 2016.

Click here for application information and form.


Applications closing soon for health education scholarship

Friday, April 22, 2016

A $3000 education scholarship is available for health professionals with an interest in the rural sector.  Read More

Do you know of any young children who have been very ill with E.coli O157:H7?

How did they catch it? How soon after it was caught was it diagnosed? How bad was it for the child and their family? 

As a rural mother, National Councillor Fiona Gower recognises the need to keep children safe. She knows the dangers of quad bikes, tractors, water and animals as well as other hazards seen daily. But what of those that can’t be seen? Such as minute organisms hiding in mud and water and in animal urine and faeces. These are the bugs that if not dealt with can cause major illness and in some cases irreparable damage and even death. How do we protect our families from them?

Rural Women NZ members are aware of Leptospirosis thanks to fundraising and awareness campaigns. But what about Salmonella and Rotovirus? The latest of the organisms to be targeted by awareness campaigns and research is E. coli O157:H7.

What is E.coli O157?

E.coli O157:H7 (STEC or VTEC) is an intestinal pathogen that causes severe outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to severe bleeding from the bowel, to renal failure leading to transplants or dialysis. It has the most severe effect on children aged under 5 with 10% of cases hospitalised. There was one death in 2014.

The most common risk factors reported for VTEC/STEC infection cases in 2014 were contact with pets, farm animals and animal manure.

  • Kids on farms can be infected with E. coli O157:H7
  • Children under 5 years old most susceptible to serious illness.

This infection has been increasing since 1997 with 187 cases notified last year.

STEC infects cattle and sheep, however animals will appear healthy.

How to keep your children safe:

  • As a veterinarian, RWNZ National Councillor Liz Hancock stresses that hygiene awareness is really important with any of these bugs. Thorough hand washing when coming inside from farm and basic hygiene (leave dirty gumboots and overalls outside) will reduce the opportunity for infection.
  • Parents need to be aware of how to try to prevent their children picking up these bugs. At this time of the year it is important to encourage hand washing, with children spending time in calf sheds and pet day animals and plenty of mud and water around. There are lots of opportunity to pick up bugs by ingestion or through the eyes and nose or cuts and grazes.
  • If a child has diarrhoea and has been in contact with animals, ask a doctor to test for E. coli O157:H7. If your child is very unwell, ask them to check for all the diseases. It is better to push for the test and be negative, than miss it and your child end up in hospital with complications from the disease.
  • Doctors who look after rural patients need to be aware of these organisms and be prepared to test.

Rural Women NZ are interested in your E.coli O157:H7 stories (names and places will be changed to ensure confidentiality) please email [email protected]. 

Contact for enquiries:

Fiona Gower
National Vice President

Rural Women NZ
Ph: 027 428 3884
Email: [email protected]  

Children and E.coli

Friday, February 05, 2016
 Read More

We warmly welcome the appointment of Dame Margaret Millard DCNZM, JP to the board of Green Cross Health.


This will bring a rural perspective to the company’s operations, reflecting the original focus and unique strengths of Access Homehealth Limited, which Rural Women New Zealand sold to Green Cross Health on 1 December 2014.


“We are delighted that Dame Margaret has accepted this position on the Green Cross Health board,” says our national president Wendy McGowan.


“Dame Margaret is a visionary leader and thinker who will ensure that the rural voice is heard during the many changes taking place, particularly in the homecare sector.”


Dame Margaret is a past president of Rural Women New Zealand, and served for nine years on the board of Access Homehealth Limited.


She brings not only a rural focus, but also a strong health and community background to the directorship with Green Cross Health. Amongst other governance roles, she has been a member of the NZ Red Cross Board and has also served on the Nursing Council of New Zealand.


Dame Margaret Millard was awarded the Dame Companion New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 for services to the rural community. She has a farming background through her involvement with family beef and dairying operations in the Manawatu, and represents the Rural Support Trust in Manawatu-Rangitikei.


Green Cross Health chairman, Peter Merton says, “We are honoured that Dame Margaret Millard has accepted our invitation to join the board of Green Cross Health.  Dame Margaret’s experience and knowledge will be a tremendous asset to us as we focus on developing and delivering seamless primary health services to benefit everyone in New Zealand. Dame Margaret brings a wealth of experience in the care sector, nursing and awareness of the issues affecting rural communities.”


Dame Margaret Millard appointed to Green Cross Health board 17-Dec-2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We warmly welcome the appointment of Dame Margaret Millard DCNZM, JP to the board of Green Cross Health.  Read More

A three year collaboration with Massey University under the FLAG (Farmers Leptopsirosis Action Group) banner, has led to the production of a series of excellent short videos covering all aspects of the disease.

The Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust recently got a funding boost of nearly $600 thanks to Awana Rural Women. 

The money was raised at Awana branch's two health awareness events in September and October – the Man up to Prostate Cancer educational seminar and the Beauty and the Breast art exhibition.

The two events were so successful that Awana Rural Women will be running further events next year.

“We are very lucky to have such a good medical centre on the Island and it is important that it is supported,” said Gendie Somerville-Ryan, President Awana Rural Women. “Rural communities, in particular, can miss out on the public education that happens in bigger centres. We were both delighted and surprised at the level of community interest and support of our health awareness events. Working with the Health Centre to provide expert information and hearing first-hand from those affected by prostate cancer and breast cancer ensured people got a big picture of the warning signs and treatment for both conditions.”

The next Awana Rural Women health-related event will be a talk by Tony Hughes, Scientific Director of the AIDS Foundation, on April 7th 2015. He will speak on broad issues around HIV and Ebola, as well as other infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance. Keep an eye on the Bulletin for more details.

If you would like to join Awana Rural Women, contact Gendie on 270 or Catherine on 944.

Art for health's sake on Great Barrier Island 01-Dec-2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

The Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust recently got a funding boost of nearly $600 thanks to Awana Rural Women. 
 Read More

It was an historic moment when our National Council made an announcement to members on Monday 17 November that it has accepted an offer from Green Cross Health for the purchase of Rural Women New Zealand’s shares in Access Homehealth Limited. There are a number of Conditions Precedent to meet which we are confident will be satisfied. The change of ownership is expected to come into effect in December.

This was a significant decision for our National Council given the origins of Access Homehealth, which evolved from the bush nurse and housekeeping schemes, set up in the mid-1920s by members of the Women's Division of the Farmers Union. The pioneering work of our members, and the tireless work of Access CEO Graeme Titcombe growing the business to what it is today is acknowledged. He is pictured above with outgoing chair, John Ayling, board member Pamela Storey and Green Cross chairman, Peter Merton.

Access is now one of the largest providers of homecare services in the country, contracted to DHBs, the Ministry of Health and ACC. Today the business is a sophisticated one, requiring significant ongoing investment in technology, a commitment to training and a move towards an integrated service model of delivery.

In considering the $18 million offer from Green Cross Health, National Council looked at whether Access remained a core service for Rural Women New Zealand. Could we make better use of the capital for the benefit of our members and the wider rural community?  We believe so.

The offer from Green Cross Health was an attractive one, as the company saw the value in acquiring a national homecare provider that serviced both urban and rural.  Green Cross Health is committed to continuing Access’ proud tradition of providing specialised home-based care and support. It has also undertaken to fund our present rural scholarships and awards.

Green Cross Health has invited Rural Women New Zealand to propose a member for consideration for appointment to the Green Cross board. 

Green Cross Health will retain the name and brand of Access Homehealth and will provide continued employment to all its staff. Green Cross Health is listed on the NZ Stock Exchange and is a leading primary healthcare provider through its pharmacy, medical and community healthcare divisions. For its part, the purchase of Access Homehealth will enhance its ability to offer integrated healthcare solutions nationwide. 

While the sale of Access is a significant step, Rural Women New Zealand's National Council believes it is the right one and offers exciting opportunities and a strong financial future for our organisation.

Media links:

Green Cross NZX Announcement

NBR announcement

NZ Doctor

Access Homehealth website

Get to know the 2014 Enterprising Rural Women Awards entrants in the Making it in Rural category, sponsored by Spark.

If you haven't already, you can view a bit on all of the contestants by watching our video.

Elizabeth (Biddy) Fraser

Cwmglyn Farm is a 4.4 ha property with four jersey cows which are milked once a day all year round, with staggered calving so that there are cows always in milk. The milk is processed in Biddy’s licensed cheese room to make traditional renneted hard farmhouse cheese, using the same techniques used centuries ago, but with modern standards of hygiene. It has a wholly natural rind sealed with clarified butter, made from the cream. It is matured over several months.

Biddy milks the cows herself using a single cluster milking plant and the cows are strip milked by hand. Each cheese is made from the milk of a single named cow, so visitors can see and pat the actual cow it came from. Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese won Silver at the World Cheese Awards in 2013 in the UK, one of the largest cheese competitions in the world, with 30 countries competing with 2777 entries. It was the only NZ winner.

Biddy is a strong advocate for food regulations to be tailored in compliance costs to cottage industry sized operations, such as in the UK, when their own milk is used, rather than buying in.

Rachael Chester

Rachael has a passion for rural living, conservation, animal rights, promoting NZ business and products and creating a self-sustainable business from home, having turned her back on a career in graphic communications and computing in the urban corporate world.

Seven months into a course on Medical Herbalism, she came up with the idea of creating an e-commerce retail store selling only NZ made healthy, organic, sustainable and eco-friendly products, called www.ecochi.co.nz.

She then started creating her own line of natural products, beginning with Bee Kind Beeswax Polishes sold through www.beekind.co.nz, using formulas for furniture and leather using old traditional recipes and ingredients such as Carnauba wax, plant oils, essential certified plant oils, eucalyptus and manuka oil. These waxes are now sold throughout NZ and exported to Japan, Australia, UK, America, Sweden and Taiwan.

By mid 2013 Rachael had researched and developed a range of honey-based skin care products and balms with manuka oil and active UMF manuka honey. This chemical free range is sold through www.honeybeekind.co.nz and is exported to Taiwan, USA and Sweden.

She developed a soap called Kaimanawash Soap, to fundraise for the Kaimanawa horses, the SPCA, SAFE and the Kiwi Care team. This has progressed to the development of a commercial non-chemical horse and dog soap named Naturally White, which will be marketed through Bee Kind and Ecochi NZ.

Anne Frost

Anne and Harry Frost began their blueberry venture, Mamaku Blue, in the 1980s when they planted a hectare of land in 2000 blueberry plants, propagating from these and planting another hectare in 1985. By 1997 the couple were producing blueberry wine, winning their first medal at the NZ Fruit Winemakers International Competition in 1998; something they’ve repeated many times since. In 2000 they built a new winery building including a shop, cafe, conference room, reception centre and museum, opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark, the first time an NZ PM had been to Mamaku.

The couple have since developed a range of blueberry products including jams, chutneys, jelly, sauces and others to complement the wine liqueur and juice.

They have continued to expand the orchard and built a purpose built factory including a 35 ton freezer, a blast freezer, cool rooms and fruit grading equipment.

With the economic downturn in 2009 they decided to attend Farmers Markets, each weekend going to Auckland, Mt Maunganui, Tauranga and Rotorua with fresh produce.

In 2010 they began a research project with Massey on the health properties of their blueberries and juice.

Mamaku Blue have changed their business from export to local sales, from mainly wine making to juice making, reacting to market trends.

Nicola Wright

Nicola Wright is a viticulturist, winemaker, chef, marketing manager and sales representative of Wrights Vineyard and Winery - The Natural Wine Company. In 2004, she and husband Geoff began with 25,000 grape vine cuttings. They now have three vineyards on 18 hectares of land, a straw bale home, a commercial winery and a cafe/cellar door.

Nicola works at every level of this end-to-end business, which is based on organic principles, creating the organic and bio-dynamic preparations. They then developed a winery in three shipping containers, processing 30-35 tonnes a vintage.

In 2013 the couple purchased the former Whitecliffs Vineyard, where Nicola was able to use the commercial kitchen to develop the food to match the wine.

Wrights Vineyard is the first winery in NZ to be approved by the vegetarian society, using natural clay as a fining agent rather than fish, milk or eggs.

In 2011 they introduced a label - The Natural Wine Company, promoting natural or wild ferments, offering everyday, affordable organic wine.

Nicola says she and Geoff are pioneering spirits, willing to give it a go and to create a market for products from the edge (Gisborne).

They have also gone on to develop a tourism experience including live music and a cellar door experience with local steam train passengers. When the local cycle tours company shut down they created their own touring company and they also market to cruise ship visitors.

Georgia Richards and Dot Kettle

In 2008, Georgia and Dot moved from city jobs in Wellington to a 42ha property in Dove Valley in the Tasman region. The hot summers and frosty winters were perfect for growing Peonies. They purchased thousands of tubers and by 2011 were selling cut flowers for the domestic and export market. As complete novices, with no horticultural experience, they'd learned a lot from members of the NZ Peony Society, learning from 'old hands'. From this, the business began to unfold into Dove River Peonies.

They then became keen to diversify by adding natural healthcare products based on the anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial property of the peony root, approaching a local handmade soap manufacturer to produce a selection of peony-based handmade luxury soaps for sensitive skin. These are sold at the Nelson market and online.

They then began working with a Nelson complementary medicines manufacturer to develop a 100% natural, hypo-allergenic, peony based cremes range for the relief of eczema, psoriasis and to repair damaged skin. These will be launched in October.

They are the only producer of NZ peony root in natural products, and this year they began planting NZ’s first BioGro organic peony root plantation.

For the health products, they follow British Pharmacopeia harvesting protocols.

Ann-Maree Robinson

Spurred on by the big spring storm of 2010, the worst in a generation, Robinson Raincoats was born out of desperation when Ann-Maree needed to track down plastic lamb covers and found they were like hens teeth. She found an old cellphone number on a box, and tracked down the original supplier, who had gone out of manufacturing. She asked to buy his machinery which he agreed to deliver in a couple of days time. Then followed half an hour of training and Ann-Maree was in business.

By the next day they were being delivered to desperate sheep farmers. Now, son (high school student) Jeffrey does the manufacturing and Ann-Maree does the rest of the business including orders and supplies, marketing, distribution, packaging, invoicing, wages, record keeping etc. They do it as a means of guaranteeing supply for their own farm, and providing a service to fellow sheep farmers. It’s also a way of helping the NZ economy, as the plastic covers protect and promote the growth rates of new born lambs. If each roll of covers saves five lambs from perishing, that’s an extra $2.5 million injected into the NZ economy over the last four seasons.

Enterprising Rural Women Awards Making it in Rural 22-Oct-2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Get to know the 2014 Enterprising Rural Women Awards entrants in the Making it in Rural category, sponsored by SparkRead More

Rural Women New Zealand welcomes news that a proposed settlement has been agreed that will lead to home support workers being paid mileage and wages for the time they spend traveling between clients.

"We have been fighting for this for 86 years, when a delegation of our rural women members first went to Parliament, calling for travel costs to be funded for this type of work," says Rural Women national president, Wendy McGowan. "We followed this up with an 18,000 signature petition to Parliament in 2005, but until today there’s been very little progress on the issue."

From mid-2015 support workers will be paid for their time traveling between clients and a further step early in 2016 will see support workers receiving a minimum level of travel cost reimbursement.

"The other welcome news is that there is to be a review of the whole structure of the homecare sector," says Mrs McGowan.

"Currently the industry is too casualised. It is very difficult to recruit and retain staff because of the uncertainty of hours and the very low pay levels.

"Given our aging population, it is vital that these issues are dealt with so that we can attract and retain the higher skilled people who want to work within the industry as a career."

The lack of reimbursement for travel expenses and time has particularly disadvantaged rural homecare workers, who often travel long distances between clients.

Today’s announcement will see around 24,000 support workers more fairly rewarded for the very important work they do in supporting people to live independently in their homes.



Pictured top: The poster used to support Rural Women's case in 2005, with the original women and men behind the fight for fair deals for homecare workers. Pictured bottom: Our members on the steps of Parliament in 2005.

Rural Women welcomes travel cost settlement 12-Sep-2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rural Women New Zealand welcomes news that a proposed settlement has been agreed that will lead to home support workers being paid mileage and wages for the time they spend traveling between clients. Read More

ParliamentAs the election draws near and the debates have taken place, Rural Women encourages all to think on what are the big concerns affecting your community? What are your local candidates' or political party's stance on the issues? Can candidates ensure your concerns will be addressed through positive legislative changes?

To find out the answers, we need to ask hard questions on big issues.

To start the ball rolling we have produced a Manifesto that tackles the big issues that are impacting on our communities.

Please contact your local Rural Women New Zealand National Councillor if you would like any advice/support on issues of concern to you. This is your opportunity to ensure candidates know the issues and have some answers.

Sample 'hard questions'

  1. Victims of family violence will stay in a relationship for up to 22 years (though the average is two years) because of a well-founded fear that their animals will be maimed or killed. Most states in America include protection of animals in protection orders. The Animal Welfare Act does not cover this unique and urgent circumstance. One of the conditions in NZ Domestic Protection Orders is that the person committing the violence "… must not damage or threaten to damage the applicant's property…"

    Question: If you are the Government will you amend the Domestic Violence Act that allows for the applicants property to include pets and stock to be immediately protected on the issuing of an order by the court?

  2. Many rural areas face uncertainty about the continuance of power supply after 2015. Presently there are roads where lines are being downgraded causing random failures to the power supply. We are told that consumers ‘reasonable’ electricity needs will be met. We note affordability is missing.

    Question: If you are the Government how will you give greater certainty after 2015 than is presently being offered? How do you define "reasonable" in terms of policy? Can you guarantee that affordability is an integral part to your government’s policy? How will that be defined?

  3. According to Professor Jacqueline Rowarth in 2012, of 20,000 annual degree graduates just 80 were in agriculture. This is at odds when New Zealand’s wealth is significantly from our primary industries.

    Question: How will your Government address this anomaly?

  4. Caring Counts 2012 produced by the Human Rights Commission offered 10 recommendations to improve the wellbeing of the aged care workforce. The current Government rejected all of them. They included basic recommendations such as fair pay, and pay for travel for home care workers. (See what the 10 recommendations are here)

    Question: Will you enact the 10 recommendations in Caring Counts?

  5. Women over the age of 70 have an increased chance of breast cancer and yet the free mammogram service and access to the mobile service ceases at 69. This has a greater impact on rural women, while cost being an issue it is further exacerbated for rural women by the need to travel long distances to get their regular mammogram. Due to this it is documented that rural women are less likely than urban women to have regular breast health checks.

    Question: Will your Government consider a private/public mobile breast screening service where women over 70 years can use the mobile service and pay on visit? And would you consider making breast screening services free to women over the age of 70?

  6. The Freshwater Accord gives a level of water safety to a walk through level. Most submissions wanted safe swimming as the bottom line. For rural families lake or river may be the only place where they can swim and dive as they have done since families settled in rural areas.

    Question: Will you amend the Accord to have a percentage of rivers and lakes safe for swimming as the bottom line? What percentage do you think that should be?

  7. A Nurse Practitioners role is unique and takes several years of training. They would be a valued asset to our rural communities, if we could get enough of them. One of the barriers is that the Voluntary Bonding Scheme excludes Nurse Practitioners because they are not seen as new graduates. While a career in nursing is a prior requisite, the NP role is a whole other discipline.

    Question: As the Government, will you review the 2012 recommendation that Nurse Practitioners are rightly noted as new graduates and qualify for participation in the voluntary bonding scheme in hard to staff rural areas?

  8. Hard to staff areas are defined by District Health Board catchments which have strong urban areas that are not difficult to staff. This has resulted in the scheme failing in rural areas where there is the greatest need. There are also DHBs with hard to staff rural areas that are not part of the voluntary bonding scheme.

    Question: Would you, as the Government, direct the DHBs to meet the needs of genuine hard to staff areas within their catchment? Would you n consider using a more targeted method of defining hard to staff areas across all DHBs?

Download the 10 Caring Counts recommendations

To learn more on Rural Women New Zealand and what we're working for change on in rural communities, read our Manifesto.

2014 Election: Hard Questions 03-Sep-2014

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

ParliamentAs the election draws near and the debates have taken place, Rural Women encourages all to think on what are the big concerns affecting your community? What are your local candidates' or political party's stance on the issues? Can candidates ensure your concerns will be addressed through positive legislative changes? 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.