We are heading to YWCA World Council!


Every four years, member associations of the worldwide YWCA movement gather for World Council, the highest decision and policy-making body of the global movement of the YWCA. This year, the 29th World Council will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 17 to 22 November 2019. Between 300 and 500 delegates and observers from countries across the world will take part.

As well as being a governance meeting, World Council provides an opportunity for collective discernment of the global situation and how the YWCA can creatively and more effectively address global challenges. It offers a space for mutual learning and the sharing of stories, and to build community, nurture friendships and develop new leaders.

We are proud to announce that our delegation of Charlotte Muggeridge and Lucy Lloyd-Barker, co-presidents of YWCA Hamilton, have both been nominated for the World Board! Congratulations to you both; we wish you the very best of success and will look forward to hearing all the insights from World Council on your return!




Charlotte has been involved with the YWCA for the past two years, serving as a Board Member and now as Co-President of YWCA Hamilton. As a young woman, her dedication and passion to see equality for every women of New Zealand is inspiring, and she has made a significant impact within New Zealand’s wider women’s sector through academia, advocacy and policy reform.

Charlotte embodies the YWCA values and her empathy and compassion for others is reflected in the strategic conversations she leads. 

Charlotte shares:

I graduated from the University of Waikato in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) and a Bachelor of Laws. In 2018, I received my Masters in Political Science with first class honours. My thesis for this degree included the topic “Income Inequality, Voter Turnout and Employment in 2005-2014 Elections in New Zealand”. For my working career, I started at Waikato District Council in 2015 where I worked on local authority property matters. In 2017, I moved to McCaw Lewis Lawyers Ltd, where I am currently employed as a Senior Solicitor with my focus being local government and environmental law.

I have been a board member of YWCA Hamilton for two years and am currently Co-President. I have also been involved with National Council of Women for three years and I am currently President of the Hamilton Branch, a role I have held for more than two years. Through my work with NCW, I have contributed to submissions to central government on issues that affect women, including: Abortion Law reform, mental health and addiction, Earthquake Commission bill, Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) bill, and the Fertility Services Standard. This has allowed me to have knowledge of issues that are affecting women.

My vision for young women is to enable them to excel in any area they desire. To feel no barriers and be supported in the decisions they may make. For their voice to be heard and not fall on ears that believe ‘she will grow out of it’. To create a pathway for future young women, to move the rocks and pebbles that currently block young women from being successful.

My vision for the World YWCA board should I be elected is to encourage, empower and support women to feel safe and communicate their ideas in their community. To create and promote opportunities that are accessible to 100 million young women, whether that be in their local communities or a virtual hub they can reach. To have the World YWCA as an education tool women can refer to and use. I also see the World YWCA creating a sustainable future for national branches. I will use my skills and voice from a New Zealand perspective to assist in creating sustainable policies, strategies and programmes for the World YWCA that will offer inclusiveness of all women, regardless of race or class, and harbour a safe space for development.



Lucy has served actively in the YWCA, as an Operations Manager and a Deputy CEO of a member association, and currently as Co-President of YWCA Hamilton. Lucy’s strong leadership skills have been influential in her work within the YWCA and the industries she has worked in, and her commitment to the YWCA has seen her contribute significantly through her management and governance roles to provide strategic direction and vision to achieve change for young women within her communities. Being aware of the challenges faced by all women, especially young women globally, inspires Lucy to join with others to address these issues.

Lucy embraces diversity in all aspects of her involvement with the YWCA and seeks opportunities to ensure all women have the opportunity to be heard and to be supported. Her qualifications are as diverse at the women she seeks to support: Diploma in Business Administration (UK), Business and Life Coach, NZ Business Mentor, Prince2 Project Management – Practitioner, Acupuncture Practitioner/Tutor (Shanghai), Health and Fitness Instructor/Tutor, National Certificate in Adult Education and Training – L4, Health and Safety Representative, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care, Counsellor. 

She is a board member of the UltraForce Group – International Recruitment and Consultancy (Health and Leisure industries), First Chair of Women in Recreation – Recreation Leaders NZ, Co-President of Hamilton YWCA NZ, and Advisor to New Lives Animal Rescue Charity (NZ) board. 

Lucy shares:

I believe the diversity of industries and roles I have experienced will help me support and drive a global strategic view to transform power structures for all women. My international exposure from living and working in UK, Europe, Russia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand has given me an understanding of challenges faced across many cultures and countries by women. The key skills I would contribute to World YWCA are strong leadership, management, strategy, HR, communications and education.

My vision for young women focuses on empowerment, freedom, equality and a core belief that we can do anything we set our hearts and minds to; helping women to take those first steps, to find information needed to make change and provide relevant support through education and advocacy. Those we support become our new ambassadors for all women.

My vision for the World YWCA movement for the next four years is creating greater visibility through higher profile advocacy for the work of World YWCA and therefore every member association. Our history of achieving change can be used to drive our strategic vision of transformative leadership, human rights and sustainability of the movement. Collaboration can be explored to gain greater reach and increased outcomes. I look forward to reviewing the strategy outcomes to date (due to end 2019) so the next four years can be clearly mapped out, ready to further our support and celebration of all women.

My objective is to learn more of the achievements and challenges to date, understand the detail, focus and drive from those already leading the global movement, and agree how best to contribute to and collaborate for the success of our strategy and the forward focus for all YWCAs; to set clear goals, map actions and make outcomes happen. Leading from the heart, using knowledge and nimble planning to shape and measure the strategic goal of success for all women.

Charlotte muggeridge & lucy lloyd-barker - 2019 world ywca board nominees for aotearoa new zealand

Charlotte muggeridge & lucy lloyd-barker - 2019 world ywca board nominees for aotearoa new zealand

Women of the Y

Meet Susanne Axelsson; Comm’s Director of YWCA Auckland, Swede with sass, and all-round dynamo!


Susanne on Susanne

I was born and raised under the northern lights and the never setting midnight sun in the northern parts of Sweden. As a child I used to stay out for days in the forest with my family; there I got the space and freedom which has made a great impact on who I am today. I love spending time outside in nature and that is one of the reasons why I fell in love with NZ and all the great outdoors it has to offer.

Professionally I have always been working in the creative field, I have a background in marketing and communication but also photography and I been working on the digital space for most parts of my career delivering digital projects such as websites, digital marketing campaigns, apps etc. I started working for the Y in May this year.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An architect but luckily I realised early that maths was not my strongest side.

If you could, what advice would you give your teenage self?

Be kind to yourself.

If you could give but one piece of advice to a young woman today, what might that be?

You don't need to know what you want to do with your life now, explore as much as possible, don't be afraid of failure or commitments and take every opportunity that will come your way - if it resonates with who you are and your values in life, it will always teach you something along the way!

What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism to me means that every person gets treated equally no matter their gender and has equal rights to make choices and decisions.

What does your role at the Y involve?

As a Communication Director, I work across all kinds of projects. I make sure that our brand is communicated consistently and that we capture all those stories and tell them well so that others can benefit from the work we do too and/or feel proud to be part of it. Currently, I am working on a big exhibition reflecting the life of 18-year-old girls, and I am also working on re-branding, content creation and all things marketing and comms!

What keeps you coming back every day?

The people I work with are amazing and we are such a skilled and diverse team. I love the freedom and responsibilities that come with the job I have and it provides a great creative outlet for me which always been important in everything I do. I also love working for a good cause that makes a difference for young women in New Zealand.

Thinking about your work at the Y, what currently what makes your pulse race?

Bringing ideas to life and seeing them develop as part of the journey! I love being a part of change and progress, I know change can be frightening for many people but I also love the challenge that comes with getting people across the line. There is a lot of change happening at the Y and that makes me really excited to be part of.

What is the most exciting thing happening for young women in Aotearoa New Zealand today?

Since Jacinda became our prime minister I feel that the voices of women have risen and I hope we will be able to see that developing further because there are some really cool, strong females out there doing amazing things, and their voices need to be heard!

What is your dream for the young women in Aotearoa New Zealand 10 years from now?

This is hard because there is so much that needs to be done in this space to make sure young women in New Zealand are treated equally. But I wish that young women find the power to be who they want to be without being afraid of being judged because of their sex. I also hope that young women get better at supporting each other and see the benefits of standing together, and that in 10 years’ time those women living in a heterosexual relationship will not experience inequality of any sort in the relationship they are in.

Who inspires you?

I don't have a person that inspires me. I get inspired by learning new things and challenging myself and my beliefs. Being out in nature is also important to me and it’s amazing how many ideas I been getting from that! Not all good ones but it definitely sets my mind free.

Social media has grown exponentially in recent times. Which, in your opinion, are the platforms that provide the soundest advice and/or information for young women?

Instagram is constantly growing among younger audiences - influencer marketing is among the fastest-growing marketing in the world. It's amazing the power that comes with it when it's being used for the right cause. Just look on the strike for climate change that Greta Thunberg started. Global Climate Strike for the Future was to be the most widespread of strikes: over 100 countries were involved in the strike all over the world! Young females are given an opportunity to use their voice and connect across the whole world just through one platform.

Susanne can be contacted via email at susanne@akywca.org.nz.

YWCA Hamilton Suffrage Day event supports Waikato women


In 1893, New Zealand's women became the first in the world to win the right to vote, and from this Suffrage Day was born.

126 years later the YWCA of Hamilton is celebrating suffrage by hosting Political Speed Dating, an event where you can meet the women standing for local elections. YWCA of Hamilton Co-President Charlotte Muggeridge says the focus of the event is to give the Waikato community an opportunity to meet and ask the women candidates running for your local council questions about their campaign.

“This is not a one-on-one speed dating event, there are not enough candidates for that. But each candidate will talk to you and 5-10 others at a time. There will be no candidate speeches from the podium, just small group discussions about issues that matter to you” says Charlotte.

“Come along to a relaxed evening focusing on issues that matter to women. Men are also welcome to attend, but only women candidates will be participating in the speed dating. Elections NZ will be joining us for the evening to give a 101 on how and why to vote, as well as helping to get your enrolment details up-to-date” says Charlotte.

The candidates attending will be:

  • Chris Davis (West Ward)

  • Margaret Forsyth (East Ward)

  • Shanti Ralm (West Ward)

  • Lisa Lewis (East Ward / Mayor)

  • Kesh Naidoo-Rauf (East Ward)

  • Maxine van Oosten (East Ward)

  • Meleane Burgess (East Ward)

  • Siggi Henry (West Ward)

  • Angela O’Leary (West Ward / Mayor)

  • Melaina Huaki (West Ward)

  • Louise Hutt (West Ward / Mayor)

  • Paula Southgate (Mayor)

  • Sarah Thomson (West Ward)

  • Andrea Jane McLachlan (East Ward)

  • Jennifer Nickel (Waikato Regional)

  • Angela Strange (Waikato Regional).

Charlotte Muggeridge says that currently the Hamilton City Council fails to represent the true population of Hamilton.

“We see this very clearly with 23% of councillors being women compared to the 52% of Hamilton’s population that are women and we deserve equality! Just because it has only been 126 years since women gained the right to vote, and 100 years since we gained the right to be elected representatives, it doesn’t mean it should take another 100 years for women to be fairly and equally represented in politics – especially local politics. With 16 women candidates running, just in Hamilton East and West Wards, and women running for Hamilton Mayor, it’s time for women to be counted. Value your right to vote!” Charlotte says.

This event is open to all. Young people who want to know more about politics are encouraged to come along and ask questions, even if they are not yet at voting age. Men are also welcome to attend as audience members although only women candidates will be given speaking rights.

Disclaimer: YWCA Hamilton are hosting women candidates running for councils across the region. This event is specifically designed to uplift those candidates. YWCA will support other events that create space for every other candidate.

The Political Speed Dating Suffrage event is on Thursday 19 Sept, at Café Agora, Frankton, Hamilton. Drinks and Networking are from 5.30pm.  Speed dating starts after 6 p.m. The event will conclude by 9 p.m.  

Register to attend at events@ywca.org.nz/hamilton or telephone 8382219 ext 2.

More information about candidates is at YWCA of HamiltonNZ Facebook

Other YWCA programmes and services are on our website.

In loving memory of Juli Dugdale

We are saddened to learn of the recent passing of Juli Dugdale, long-time YWCA member, staff member and volunteer. Having worked with both the Australian and World YWCAs, Julie’s loss is being mourned across the international movement.

Nive Sharat Chandran, Vice President of the World Board and representative of Aotearoa New Zealand, shares this tribute.

Juli Dugdale will forever hold a deep place in many people's hearts in the YWCA movement, especially here in Aotearoa and across the Pacific. Juli had a special relationship with the Pacific and was an incredible supporter of the young women there. She was humble, gracious, loving, caring, dedicated, passionate and had a generous heart. She embodied the YWCA's vision of 'transformative leadership' with extraordinary vision and foresight, and helped empower generations of young women leaders around the world.

Every time I think of her, all I can think of is the legacy she has left through all of us who had the privilege of knowing her. We all hope to carry on that legacy.

You will be missed, Juli. Rest in power.

“Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane” - Whakataukī (Māori proverb)

“The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane”

Juli D.jpg

Applications are open for Outward Bound scholarships


YWCA and Outward Bound offer an amazing opportunity for young women to attend a life-changing 21-day course at a greatly reduced cost.

The YWCA's purpose is to support individual and community change by empowering women, especially young women, to develop and exercise their individual and collective leadership through enhancing their spiritual, physical, mental, and cultural wellbeing. Our partnership with Outward Bound is one great way of achieving this.

The experiences of those who attend are always inspiring and the results are invariably life-changing.

“I want to be a leader and make change in the public health system... Outward Bound has given me valuable leadership and teamwork skills to achieve this dream, and reminded me of compassion, giving and serving.”

“By the end of the 21 days, we had become a tight knit family, and my life had changed for the better. Outward Bound pushed me mentally, physically and emotionally out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. From the bottom of my heart – thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity.”

We are currently accepting applications for a scholarship to support young women who are aged between 18 and 26 years old to attend this fabulous course. Applications close Monday, 12 August 2019.

Women of the Y

The YWCA is brimming with smart and dedicated women whose passion is to make a real difference for the women and young women of Aotearoa New Zealand. We would love for you to get to know these wonderful wahine, so will be sharing about them and their work in our Women of the Y series over the coming months.

Meet Zoe Brownlie - Workplace Programme Lead at YWCA Auckland, avid feminist, and mum to two great kids.

Zoe Brownlie 2019 Headshot 2.jpg

To get the ball rolling, tell us a little about yourself.

My name’s Zoe and I joined the Auckland ‘Y’ three months ago as the Workplace Programme Lead. My career so far has focussed around wellbeing; both for young people (healthy relationships, sexual health, and bullying), and for women in the workplace. I’m into equity, especially for young people and women, shared parenting and unpaid work, travel education, co-design, Te Ao Māori, and voting rights. Oh, and world peace.

When I’m not at the Y I’m parenting my two young kids, sitting on the Auckland District Health Board, and sitting on the RockEnrol Steering Group. And desperately trying to fit in live music and travel!

What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism definitely doesn’t mean hating men and wanting special treatment. It’s about righting wrongs to reach true equality for all. A lot of it is about everyone taking responsibility to learn and share what true equality really means, and how we can contribute. Small acts make big differences, and boys and men can play a huge part in this.

Thinking about your work at the Y, what currently gets you excited?

I’m organising the Equal Pay Awards at the moment, so I’m excited by the idea of a great night celebrating the hard work that individuals and organisations are doing to support women. I’m also going to be focussing on the role that men play in unpaid work; parenting and domestic and emotional labour. This work has the potential to have a huge impact, so I’m SUPER EXCITED about it.

What keeps you coming back every day?

There are three main things that I love about working at the Y.

  1. The amazing feeling I get from being able to work on what I’m passionate about and that I’m making a difference.

  2. I get to work with extremely interesting, loving, and intelligent women who are all different but all want to influence positive social change.

  3. It is truly a flexible place to work, where everyone is trusted to do the work well, but that there’s more to life than working here.

If you could give one piece of advice to a young women today, what might that be?

That it doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t in a relationship, there are pros and cons to both. But if you do want to be in a relationship, then figure out the qualities you actually like in a person. Don’t be with someone because they’re hot or because they want to. You’ll have much more fun and feel more content if you figure out what you actually like in a person, and don’t settle for less.

And sign up to vote, so you can as soon as you turn 18!

What is your dream for the young women in Aotearoa New Zealand 10 years from now?

That gender norms are gone, all schools teach healthy relationship and civics education in-depth, there’s equal pay (and not just for women, but for all groups of women too), that hetero couples really do an equal amount of parenting, caring, and domestic and emotional work, that someone has found an easy and harmless cure for anxiety, depression, and negative body image, and that it’s cooler to make positive social change than it is to make money.

July/August 2019 Newsletter

We are recruiting!

YWCA of Aotearoa New Zealand is seeking new non-executive board members. We are open to applications from skilled women, from anywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand, who can make a positive contribution to our strategic development.

If you are an advocate for women's rights, want to positively impact the future for the women and young women of New Zealand, and have skills and networks that will support our cause, we would love to to hear from you. Details are on our website.

Click to view our Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

Please feel free to share this opportunity.

Women of the Y

The YWCA is brimming with smart and dedicated women whose passion is to make a real difference for women and young women. We would love for you to get to know these wonderful wahine, so will be sharing about them and their work in our Women of the Y series over the coming months.

Zoe Brownlie 2019 Headshot 2.jpg

Meet Zoe Brownlie

Zoe joined YWCA Auckland earlier this year as Workplace Programme Support and her first project is a big one - the 6th annual Equal Pay Awards (more on the Awards below).

We chatted to Zoe about feminism, our young women, and what she loves about the Y.

To get the ball rolling, tell us a little about yourself.

My name’s Zoe and I joined the Auckland ‘Y’ three months ago as the Workplace Programme Lead. My career so far has focussed around wellbeing; both for young people (healthy relationships, sexual health, and bullying), and for women in the workplace. I’m into equity, especially for young people and women, shared parenting and unpaid work, travel education, co-design, Te Ao Māori, and voting rights. Oh, and world peace.... read on

YWCA Equal Pay Awards

Entries are now open for the 2019 awards!

The YWCA Equal Pay Awards, now in their 6th year, are an opportunity for businesses to prove their commitment to gender equity in their workplace and be measured against other progressive companies. It also presents an opportunity to stand alongside other thought leaders and inspire organisations throughout New Zealand to address gender pay disparity.

The Awards recognise organisations in the following categories:

  1. Innovation: stand out initiatives making high, impactful change

  2. Leadership: leading the way and exemplifying excellence

  3. Progressive: long-term sustainable commitment to equal pay

  4. On the journey: taking the first steps

  5. Community: specifically for not for profits and 'profit for purpose'

  6. Champion: for an individual who is making a difference and taking a stand on equal pay.

Head on over to the Awards home page to learn more, and if you have any questions, you can contact Zoe Brownlie at YWCA Auckland on 021 946 993 or zoe@akywca.org.nz.

EPA pay gap poster.png

Have your say!

On 12 October 2019, everyone who is aged 18 years or older, is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and has lived in New Zealand continuously for 12 months or more at some time in their life, is entitled to vote in the local elections.

The result of the elections will decide who is on your local council, regional council, district health board, and other important organisations in your area. We only get this one opportunity to have our say and those elected will get to make decisions that affect our daily life and the future of our towns or cities for the next three years.


You must be enrolled to exercise your right to vote.

If you are not yet enrolled, or want to learn more, check out the government's local councils website for easy-read info and a timeline. There is also a wealth of information on the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) website.

We encourage women and young women of all ages to take advantage of this opportunity to have a say in the future of their communities, and you can do this too - talk to the women in your life, get a conversation going, discuss the issues, form an opinion, then read up on which of your local representatives stand for what you believe in... then Vote!

Women fought long and hard for our rights, now let us exercise them!

#Vote2019NZ #VoteLocalNZ #Stand2019

Women of the Waikato

Grab this fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand from the women standing for your local Council.

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Women Deliver

In June, YWCA Auckland CEO, Dellwyn Stuart, attended Women Deliver, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. The theme of the conference was Power. Progress. Change. and the insights gained were compelling and thought provoking.

While there, Dellwyn had the opportunity to meet with a dozen women from YWCAs all around the world over dinner, including Casey Harden, General Secretary of the World YWCA.

You can read about Dellwyn's experience here.


Maisy on CSW63

In March this year, our very own YWCA ambassador, Maisy Bentley, attended CSW63 in New York, and what an action-packed trip it was! Here Maisy shares her journey...

maisy bentley,                                      ywca ambassador

maisy bentley, ywca ambassador

I arrived in New York at the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the second largest gathering at the UN and the main policy making body on women's rights, with plenty of jet lag and lots of excitement. 

My day started early with the Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) orientation, collecting my UN ID and swipe card and trying to make my way to the opening session. I was unsure, at times lost, and very tired. But as soon as I settled into my seat at the UN and began listening to the comments of the opening session, I knew i was in the right place - UN Women’s Executive Director, the Chair of the Commission, and Secretary General of the UN calling themselves strong feminist; calling out key barriers for women and calling for member states to boldly ‘push back against the push back’.

The commission involves the formal programme of the opening session where key leaders and regional representatives speak. It also includes general discussion where countries make their statements; high level dialogues where civil society can ask questions and raise concern, and dialogue on the review themes where country diplomats present on their progress on the review theme. This year was about women and sustainable development. 

There is a full schedule of official side events, organised by governments, UN agencies and large NGOs to share education content and facilitate dialogue around countries’ key policies and issues in relation to certain parts of the theme and women. There was a programme of parallel events, similar to side events but organised by NGOs, often at conference centres just across the road from the UN or at permanent missions. Plus there were special youth events as part of the official programme, including the pre-consultation and creation of agreed conclusions, and high-level intergenerational dialogues with leaders of the Commission, UN and member states, to ask how they were going to ensure our perspectives were included in any decision making at the Commission.

The first day ended with a dinner with YWCA delegates from across the globe and young leaders from YWCA Brooklyn. It was great to put faces to emails and hear about the amazing work each did in their respective countries. 

Some highlights of my time at CSW included:

  • Speaking at a side event of the official programme organised by BPW (Business and Professional Women Global) at the New Zealand permanent mission to the UN. I brought the voices and experiences of young women, especially those with invisible disabilities, to our discussion about safe cities. Just as the many advocates in the room have been telling the world they can no longer add women and stir, I reminded them that when discussing women's issues they can no longer just add youth and stir. I talked specifically about the accessibility and safety of public transport, and climate resilience, especially of our rural cities. 

  • I was able to contribute to and promote the youth greed minimum standards, bring these to the attention of our minister and ensure the NGO rep bought them to the table with our official delegation to negotiate on, and to provide the perspectives of young women on other key potential amendments of clauses. 

  • Meetings at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Executive Office about the Human Development Index and women (where I called for the need for policy makers to have clear global information on the emerging ‘wellbeing budgets’, to learn from each other to create effective policy for women)

  • Starting a day with the NGO delegation breakfast at New Zealand’s permanent mission to the UN alongside the Minister for Women and our ambassador to the UN, followed by visiting the Finnish Permanent Mission for a conversation about access to contraception and women’s empowerment, using Helsinki as a case study, and concluding with a youth CSW hot seat panel with the chair of the Commission (Ireland’s Permanent Representative), S-G’s Youth Envoy, the Vice President of Columbia, the UN Women Executive Director and more, to gain tangible commitments on how they will ensure a youth voice in the agreed conclusions.

    Another day started with the NGO briefing with officials, including the Head of the UN Human Rights Commission and deputy UN Women Executive Director, about civil society engagement in Beijing 25, where I was able to initiate a constructive conversation about the fact that the Beijing declaration was written give years before I was even born... so the need to use online and accessible platforms more suited to the needs and financial and time resources of young women (especially those of us isolated down here in the Pacific Ocean). Hopefully UN women follow through on these commitments!

Possibly my favourite event of all was when the International Development Law Organization heard from leading females about women in the justice system, including New Zealand’s own Justice Susan Glazebrook of the Supreme Court.

There were both long and exciting days bringing the perspectives of young and diverse Kiwi women to international meetings, events and policy-making and learning a WHOLE lot along the way.

I know that the negations that followed were just as long, with many countries having to form new alliances to simply hold the line, while many countries, including the USA and Russia, tried to weaken women's rights, attempting to remove the word gender from the document and strong push back on women's reproductive rights. 

It was great to see countries band together and push harder to come to agreed conclusions. Even the process of getting to CSW was a community effort! I was able to bring a community together to support me to go and had the help and experiences of many amazing YWCA sisters behind me. 

I have returned to New Zealand with an even bigger international community of YWCA sisters and new connections to organisations that create opportunities for young women and can share their knowledge to help us improve work here. I grabbed every opportunity and opened new doors, and learnt a ridiculous amount about women's rights and effective strategies for progressing them both nationally and internationally. 

#WomenYouShouldKnow : Kiwi Birth Tales Founder Jordyn Gregory

Passionate young kiwi Jordyn Gregory is smashing her goals while forming a community of support for new mum and dads. At just 25 she has created Kiwi Birth Tales, a podcast created for kiwis to share their pregnancy and birth journeys. I chatted with Jordyn about her life, passion, journey creating Kiwi Birth Tales and the latest episode of her podcast.

Words by Zeta, YWCA Hamilton.


First could you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Tauranga and studied a Bachelor of Management Studies through Waikato Uni. When I was 22 I moved to Brisbane for a Graduate HR role. After that year they promoted me to a role in Sydney so I made the move there. I then progressed into a Human Resources Business Partnering role supporting 500 team members across a support functions team Australia wide. I love my job and have always been so career driven, but mid last year my Partner Joe was offered a contract in Italy playing water polo, so we decided to leave Sydney and move here for the season. I had never been to Europe before. We are living in Recco, Italy, a small town of 10,000 people by the beautiful sea. I am freelancing on different HR projects as well as contracting for my previous role. My work have been so supportive of me doing this which is incredible! I plan to go back there after the season and we see ourselves back in Tauranga in the future. 

What is Kiwi Birth Tales?

Kiwi Birth Tales is a platform for kiwi mums and dads to share their pregnancy and birth journeys, to support and empower one another. I have a website and Instagram to support the podcast which is coming up 20,000 listens in just a few short months. 

How did you come up for the idea?

I have always been curious about pregnancy and birth, I had considered studying to be a midwife when I left school but decided I wanted some more life experience first. I loved listening to other birth story podcasts and YouTube videos and when my friends started having babies I realised there was nothing similar in New Zealand and a real lack of resources online. 

What is your Y (purpose) behind Kiwi Birth Tales? (Why is it important for others?)

I want kiwi mums and dads to feel empowered in making decisions about their pregnancies and births. I want to create a community where families can share and learn with one another and never feel isolated or alone. It is important to me that we normalise birth and talking about the reality of birth in New Zealand. 

Where do you want to see Kiwi Birth Tales in 5 years?

I want to see Kiwi Birth Tales continue to grow and gain awareness through sharing unique experiences of NZ pregnancy and birth. It is my goal to create a platform that becomes an extremely valuable resources to families when they are preparing for pregnancy and birth. In five years I hope the platform is a go-to recommendation from friends and family to all pregnant women and families. 

What is your most favourite and least favourite part of your role?

My favourite part about being the host of KBT is hearing each story, enjoying the differences and feeling so privileged that these families are willing to share their experiences with me. My least favourite part is having too many emails in my inbox and not enough time to interview everyone all at once. I am currently booked until the end of April and have so many women waiting to share their stories - I wish I had the means to put my time into it on a full-time basis. 

Jordan Gregory Kiwi Birth Tales

What is the best piece of advice you could give to women out there?

Your experience is never isolated and if you are feeling lost, reach out to a community, search for an online platform or resource you can use to connect. 

What do you think we need to do as women to support each other more?

I could go on for days with the answer! To put it simply I think we need to care about each other like we would our own loved ones. A kind message or comment can change how someone feels about their day or their week, just like a negative one can. I think we should be building one another up and sharing our experiences as much as possible, strong women support other women. 

Please tell us a little about your latest podcast: Caitlin, Kyrie & Kemba.

Caitlin’s episode is so beautiful, she is an incredible woman and I am so grateful she took the time to talk with me. Caitlin discusses the birth of her first daughter Kyrie, and then falling pregnant and losing her baby boy at 38 weeks. Caitlin talks about finding support in her partner and family and wanted to share her experience to help others who may have been through or are going through something similar. I am in awe of Caitlin and think she is such a brave and compassionate kiwi mum. 

To listen to the Kiwi Birth Tales latest podcast on local mum Caitlin, head over to @kiwibirthtales on Instagram (link in bio), or the website.

TW: Caitlin, Kyrie & Kemba covers birth, loss, grief and support mechanisms. If these are triggers for you please take precautions when listening in or avoid.

If you are interested in getting involved with Kiwi Birth Stories please message Jordyn on her Instagram or email kiwibirthtales@gmail.com top submit your story.

YWCA Auckland's New CEO, Dellwyn Stuart

Last month Dellwyn Stuart became the new CEO of YWCA Auckland, bringing with her an impressive background and a genuine passion for equality and women’s issues.

Dellwyn has over three decades of experience in influencing, community engagement and leadership in both the public and private sector. Prior to joining the YWCA she was CEO for the Auckland foundation. It was during this time she launched New Zealand’s first Women’s Fund, which channels the generosity of a community of women to create opportunities for women and girls.

We had a chat with Dellwyn about feminism, and what her YWCA journey has in store.

What made you want to join the YWCA movement?

I joined the YWCA because it has always been flexible, staying relevant and powerful for young women. No organisation survives if it doesn’t constantly evolve to meet the changing environment and behaviours of the people it serves. I love change and am excited about stewarding this [130] yr old organisation through its next stage of growth. I’m concerned that girls voices and views are still not heard and I want to help change this.

Dellwyn Stewart YWCA Auckland

What difference do you see the YWCA making for the women of Aotearoa?

I recently read the history of the YWCA - which is a really a history of women in Auckland. It has always been focused on meeting the needs of young women and pioneered in safe environments, childcare and many other issues girls have faced. And there are not many organisations that are focused on our girls and young women. Youth work takes a one size fits all approach on the whole, and there are needs that are particular to the different genders. We are fortunate to have this enduring institution that focuses on what our girls need.

What does the word ‘feminism’ mean to you?

When I was younger, feminism meant I could do anything. It was a personal challenge to not let gender get in the way of what I wanted to do in life. And I haven’t. Which is not to say that I didn’t encounter bias and barriers. I just pushed through them. But more recently my feminism has evolved to be more about how ALL women are doing. None of us are equal until all of us are. There is still a lot to be done!

What piece of advice would you give your younger self starting your career?

I’d remind my younger self that life is long and there is no need to rush, to place more value on the learnings and wins outside of work and not let your career define who you are. In the words of my teenagers – “ Chill Mum.”

You can hear more from Dellwyn on episode 5 of Girl Power Pod and read her Spinoff article The women who hold our communities together: a tribute to our strong wāhine.

Want to support us and be a part our movement? Donate today!

#WomenYouShouldKnow: Irene Wakefield

Since her well received TEDxWellington talk in 2017, Irene Wakefield has been sharing her story and bringing light to the often invisible issue of emotional abuse.

At age 15, having experienced an abusive relationship first-hand, Irene decided to launch Prepair NZ, an online resource teaching young women that emotional abuse IS abuse, how to identity the early stages of abuse in a relationship, learn self-love, and know what to do when experiencing or witnessing an abusive relationship.

Irene believes that putting language around the less obvious, insidious types of abuse in relationships (for example Everything You Need To Know About Gaslighting), helps victims to identify it, understand it and feel more empowered to speak out against it.

Prepair NZ has taken to stages nationwide, as well as running workshops and talks in schools, universities and workplaces, and even partnered with Glassons on a t-shirt range. The Prepair website discusses a range of topics like the common warning signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, real life experiences, and resources for those seeking help.

We were lucky enough to speak to Irene about her journey. Irene calls Prepair NZ an ‘older sister’ but her wisdom is more like that of a wise grandmother - well beyond her years.


You talk about the importance of having “uncomfortable conversations”. Why do you think is this is so important in creating social change?

I think the power of social change lies within the realms of allowing my truth to be heard while also being open to listening to and respecting yours. When you do this well, you create space for someone to listen, learn and feel valued. 

An uncomfortable conversation exposes our self-perceived downfalls. We speak at the risk of not being understood. We may even find ourselves not being able to see eye to eye or agree. The purpose of an uncomfortable conversation should be, to be seen, heard and most importantly to listen. If your goal is to be correct or make another person wrong, you have the perfect recipe for disconnection, or worse, war. 

We've all heard Brene talk about how vulnerability is the birthplace of courage and creativity. I also believe vulnerability or an uncomfortable conversation is the birthplace of enlightenment and learning. If we all opened ourselves up to learning we would progress far more effectively, with a lot less noise. 

What has been (or is) the biggest challenge you have encountered on your journey?

I live in a world that encourages me to boil myself, my work and my beliefs down in to checkboxes and 1080px squares. I'm currently working through a process of unsubscribing from this mentality. For example I recently deleted my personal Instagram because it actually does nothing to serve me. Or, when someone asks me what I do, I tell them that I don't fit into a traditional job title - I am Irene. 

At heart I am a non-conformist and I really value originality. I don't enjoy buying into trends and popularity and I am actively choosing not to. This feels really good for me however it can make cutting through a noisy digital world challenging. I've subscribed to the long game with Prepair and with that comes the need for patience and perseverance which is tough some days. 

And the most rewarding part?

There is so much more depth to Prepair NZ than the internet allows you to see. Behind the scenes you can find me working one-to-one or in workshops with groups of young women who are given labels like 'high-risk' or 'disadvantaged.' These labels really annoy me because they do not do justice to the incredibly talented women I sit face to face with. I am 'on-purpose' when I work in this space. 

When I provide language for a behaviour a young woman intuitively knew was wrong but could not describe, I see the shift in her spirit. When I sit down with a young māmā to help her create an exit plan from an abusive relationship I feel the shift in her self-belief. When I am honest enough to tell a room that leaving an abusive relationship is not easy and there is not quick fix, I facilitate another step in the self-love journey. These are the most rewarding moments of Prepair. 

Irene Wakefield Prepair NZ

As you discuss in your talks, self-love is a crucial part of healthy relationships, yet it’s often something people simply don’t know how to do. What would you suggest as a good starting place for learning self-love?

Self-love has become trendy. It's a buzz word that is used to sell everything from workshops to fitness wear. To me, real self-love requires you to truly get to know your most authentic self. It is a journey that happens internally more than externally. Yes, it feels good to have a bubble bath or get your nails done, but this is not a practice that will sustain you when there are tough decisions to be made.

The first thing to do is learn about yourself beyond a surface level. What do you value most in life? When are you most aligned with your values? Are there people in your life that sway you away from living in alignment with your values? Who are the people that encourage you to live in alignment with your values. I would encourage anyone wanting to follow this process to check out the values worksheet on the Prepair NZ website.

When you understand yourself at a deeper level it's much easier to make decisions that go against the grain. The decision could be about leaving an abusive relationship or quitting your job to start a business. Having your values in tact mean that you can make the best choice for you without being swayed by the noise of the world. Your values serve as an adamant and unshakeable foundation upon which you can build you life.

If you could give one piece of advice to readers, what would it be?

Learn to do things by yourself, for yourself. When you can be comfortable in your own company, you can find comfort and confidence in going against the grain amongst a crowd. You will not always have someone there to back you or affirm you in life. You have to learn to do that for yourself. The first step is being comfortable with and trusting yourself and only you can lead that lesson. 

Whats making you excited about the future?

My team and I worked really hard last year to better understand our audience through multiple research projects. It's taught me so much about the value of my work and also the areas I choose not to play in. I'm excited to enter into 2019 with so much more clarity about the direction of Prepair. 

You can hear Irene’s story and more about her work at PrepairNZ.com, check out her videos on Prepair’s IGTV profile and watch her talks below.

Do you want to support us and be a part our movement? Donate today!

Launch of the YWCA Auckland’s Gender Tick Accreditation Programme

The YWCA of Auckland are well established pioneers for equal pay. in 2014 they launched the New Zealand Equal Pay Awards, the same year campaigning for equal pay by creating a $9 note to highlight pay inequality in New Zealand. In an open letter to the Governor of the Reserve Bank, YWCA asked Graeme Wheeler to remove Sheppard from the $10 and replace her with a 'more fitting' man.

Recently, they went a step further, collaborating with Mosaik Ltd to launch The Gender Tick, an accreditation programme for businesses to show their commitment to providing a fair workplace for all employees regardless of gender. 

The programme is a first for New Zealand and enables businesses to show their commitment to providing a fair workplace for all employees regardless of gender. The programme assesses organisations across five key indicators including gender inclusive culture, flexibility and leave, women in leadership, gender pay equality and ensuring a safe workplace.

Lion's Robin Davies and Fonterra's Susan Doughty (image from Diversity Works)

Lion's Robin Davies and Fonterra's Susan Doughty (image from Diversity Works)

Helen potiki, ministry for women and kat doughty, ywca auckland

Helen potiki, ministry for women and kat doughty, ywca auckland

YWCA Auckland Business Development Manager, Debbie Burrows says that the idea for the Gender Tick came from the insights and shared experiences of Equal Pay Award entrants. “Companies kept asking us if what they were doing was ‘right’ and so many wanted to know how they could improve in issues like parental leave, sabbaticals and flexible working. This proved that there was a real need for a programme that independently validates people policies and processes with regard to gender. The outcome that these businesses wanted was a healthy workplace culture; and addressing gender-equality has significant benefits for their workforce.”

The Gender Tick already has six of New Zealand's largest employers on board as foundation members and are working through the accreditation process. Air New Zealand, Auckland Council, Coca-Cola Amatil, Fonterra, Lion and SkyCity collectively represent more than 45,000 employees.

Susan Doughty, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, Fonterra says “The Gender Tick is a fantastic initiative because it promotes the importance of gender equality for business and society, and helps keep organisations accountable. By working together, we can help drive New Zealand forward to become a more inclusive and diverse place to live and work”. 

To find out more, visit www.gendertick.com.

Want to support the movement? Donate today!

Jahvaya Wheki: Life since Outward Bound

Jahvaya Wheki was one of our Outward Bound Scholarship Recipients in 2017, turned Programmes Assistant at YWCA Hamilton. She talks about how her Outward Bound experienced kicked off a journey she never expected…

Since Outward Bound I have been embarking on the journey that you call life. Although it’s been difficult nothing to me has even been as hard and challenging as Outward Bound. Applying for the scholarship to attend Outward Bound was a leap of faith and I knew I wasn’t loosing anything by applying.

Since that time the YWCA has played a key part in my development and to where I am today. I am currently in Colombia, Medellin a part of an internship here in a company called COMFAMA, a non profit organisation that caters to the needs of the people here. I am here for 3 months and am working in the travel department as part of my degree studying tourism and Spanish and I get to travel to amazing parks here and create a purposeful beneficial journey for people around the city. I love my job here and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without ywca. Last year I was having a gap year and learning more about the real world. The YWCA has supported me in many ways, supplying me with work and allowing me to be involved with holiday and after school care programs.


One day I was working at the University campaigning for the YWCA where being involved with many conversations I was encouraged to enroll in university. The YWCA was super supportive of me and even encouraged me while I was working there to go and enroll! Although it was last minute 3 days later I was attending university. Through this time there were many opportunities and applying for a scholarship to attend this internship seemed like a dream. But I took a leap of faith and applied. I thought well it’s ok if I don’t get it, I’m not losing anything. Finding out i got accepted was a very emotional heart felt moment where I knew I would face a new challenge and be fully immersed in a different culture facing many trials but growing in independence and confident to learn more about the world and learn more about myself. 

Grabbing opportunities as they come is very important and contributes to a person’s success! From my experience and personal development I am extremely grateful for the role the YWCA has played in who I am today and it’s because of them and making the most of opportunities as they come that I am where I am today.

Sometimes opportunities don’t present themselves easily that’s when it takes time and effort to search for them and make your own!  

You can read Jahvaya’s original Outward Bound blog post
here. To find out more about our Outward Bound scholarships head to www.ywca.org.nz/outwardbound.

#WomenYouShouldKnow: YWCA Legends Anne and Carole

This year two members of our whānau reached their twenty year tenure with the YWCA Aotearoa. I had a chat with Carole, manager of YWCA Whangarei and Anne, manager of YWCA Hamilton, both whom have become well respected and integral members of their local communities, to find out about the highs and lows of their two decades with us.

Carole, manager - YWCA Whangarei and Anne, manager - YWCA hamilton

Carole, manager - YWCA Whangarei and Anne, manager - YWCA hamilton


What has been the best thing about working with the Y?

Carole: The People- From those I work with, alongside side, meet, network with, support and assist. I spend a great deal of my time/life at the ‘Y’ so that’s important to me. Love the YWCA Purpose.

Anne: The ever-changing variety of work and personal contact which comes from being a small part of a national and international YWCA movement making a difference for women and families.

What has been (or is) the biggest challenge you have encountered in your journey?

Carole: Accessing funding especially for the hostel. We wanted to add more rooms back in 2006 which would have been a huge asset then but even more so now, but funding the project was not possible without funding assistance. There is such a need for accommodation such as the YWCA hostel and emergency housing yet little funding for such an important and necessary aspect of people’s lives. It is an essential basic need. People need a place to sleep, rest and have personal space where they feel safe.

Anne: The upkeep of rundown old buildings has been one of my biggest ongoing challenges.

What are you the most proud of in your time working with the Y?

Carole: The workshops we have run and continue to run for young women to build self-esteem/positive body image. The YWCA Northland ‘Women of Distinction’ awards we held in 2010 to recognise and acknowledge women who had made a commitment and a significant difference in her community and/or the larger world, and whose achievements demonstrated vision, creativity and initiative, our stand against Violence-the White Ribbon and Say No to Violence events we have held and been part of.

Anne: Helping to organise the Pacific/Australasia YWCA RTI (Regional Training Institute) held at the now-defunct YWCA of Rotorua. Carole also attended this. Seven countries and the World YWCA President attended this RTI, held at Waiariki campus. Contributing to several young Hamilton/Waikato YWCA women's attendance at quadrennial World YWCA conferences held in locations ranging from Brisbane, Nairobi and Zurich; Pacific RTIs (Fiji); the World AIDS conference (Vienna) and UNCSW, New York.

Anne became a life member of hamilton ywca in November

Anne became a life member of hamilton ywca in November

We’ve all fought and won battles at all stages of our life so far and can learn from and listen to each other’s challenges and how to overcome them.

So much has changed in time you’ve been working at the Y and in the women’s movement, especially in the last couple of years with the groundswell of #metoo and the changing political landscape for gender equality. What are you hoping to see in the next few years for the women’s movement?

Carole: Personally I would like to see a decrease in family violence and substance abuse.

Anne: I'd like to see intergenerational women progressing forward together, expressing a variety of views and opinions. We've all fought and won battles at all stages of our life so far and can learn from and listen to each other's challenges and how to overcome them.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you started at the Y, what would it be?

Carole: Three things: never assume, your voice matters, you can learn something from everyone.

Anne: Quickly learn how to prepare successful funding applications (and how to move on from the declined applications!). Build long-term, authentic relationships.

Carole and Anne, we thank you for your wisdom and the amazing work you have contributed in your two decades of service. We’re excited to see what comes next for you both.

You can learn more about the work they are doing on over at the Whangarei and Hamilton pages.

Want to support the movement? Donate today!

Hamilton YWCA & Women's Refuge Christmas Drive

Words by Zeta, YWCA Hamilton

DECEMBER IS HERE! And we want you to get in the holiday spirit!

Inspired by the Waikato Women's Fund's Suffrage Event in November we are extending our annual food drive to include sanitary items.

It’s estimated that hundreds of women are affected by period poverty every year because they simply can’t afford the increasingly high price of sanitary products.

We will be open from 8.30am-3pm every weekday leading up to Thursday Dec 20th, collecting food and sanitary items for Waikato Women's Refuge - please get involved and help out our local women!

125 Years of Women’s Suffrage 

On the 19th September, YWCA of Hamilton, National Council of Women Hamilton and Zonta threw an event to celebrate a magnificent milestone of 125 years of women’s suffrage.

Words by Jaime Macfie, YWCA Hamilton

Imagine yourself, 125 years ago, with no voice for anything political. Imagine you are one of more than 30,000 women banding together, writing appeals, signing petitions, doing everything they can to advocate for the women of New Zealand to have a say.  

On the 19th September 1893, New Zealand was the first country in the world where women could vote in parliamentary elections. This was a ground-breaking moment, not only for women in NZ, but it inspired suffrage movements for women all over the world.   

New Zealand suffragists

New Zealand suffragists

In the lead up to this, there were 32,000 women who signed the largest petition ever to be presented to parliament (270 metres long). The Legislative council, followed a few days later by the Governor, passed and consented the bill and The Electoral Act 1893 was created. This act gave women in New Zealand the right to vote and they would get their first chance at this on 28th November 1893.   

So you may be asking, “What is suffrage day? And why should we, and do we, celebrate it every year?

Suffrage day is an opportunity to not only commemorate, but also further develop the chance to gain equality. We should celebrate suffrage day to not only remember how far we have come as a country, but to continue to find ways to make further progress that benefits our women.  

Suffrage day reminds us that not only is it important to vote, it is important that women continue voting today and in the future. In the 2011 general election, more than 80% of women voted, compared to approximately 77% of men. Although this statistic is from a couple of elections ago, we can see the shift and affect that women’s suffrage has had over the years.

women’s suffrage petition

women’s suffrage petition

We can even see the impact that women’s suffrage has had on the members of parliament, and the working-women. In 1893, the percentage of women in parliament was 0%, and the percentage of working women was 26%. In 2013, the percentage of women in parliament was 34%, and the percentage of working women was 58%. Fast forward to the 2017/18 and there are 120 members of parliament, 38% of which are women. This is the highest percentage New Zealand has had since women have been allowed to stand for parliament in 1919. 75% of the Green Party are women, and 46% of the Labour Party are women. (Women leaders? Jacinda, Helen and Judy)

Slowly, but surely, women are making a place for themselves within parliament. Not only are they doing this by being involved in different parties, but also there are more and more women holding some significant positions within the New Zealand parliament. This currently includes Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley, Assistant Speaker, Poto Williams, and our third female Prime Minister - Jacinda Ardern.

One of the most well-known and influential individuals who was involved with the suffrage movement is Kate Sheppard. She argued, “We are tired of having a “sphere” doled out to us, and of being told that anything outside that sphere is “unwomanly””.  Throughout her time fighting for this right for women, she had some brutal opposition. Male writers were recommending women to go home, be with their families, cook meals, and to attend to the domestic affairs for which “nature designed for them”. 

She co-founded the National Council of Women (NCW) and was the organisation’s first president. 

Kate Sheppard’s legacy and influence remain greater than ever, and she is still thought of today as being the driving force behind the women’s suffrage movement.  In 1991, Kate Sheppard was put onto the NZ $10 note. On the left hand side in the background, we can see a white camellia flower. These flowers were given out to the members of parliament who supported the suffrage bill when it first passed, and now these flowers have become the symbol of the fight for women’s suffrage.

Kate sheppard portrayed on the New Zealand ten dollar note

Kate sheppard portrayed on the New Zealand ten dollar note


On the 19th September 2018, The YWCA of Hamilton, NCW Hamilton Branch and Zonta put on an event to celebrate a magnificent milestone of 125 years of women’s suffrage. This event showed us the continuing support that has been going on for women in our community over the many years. 

There were three speakers on the day who all talked about how we can support women in our community, and how we need to get more women involved in politics, and why it is important for women to vote. It was great to see so many people attend the event, both men and women, and I hope everyone went home with new information to share. I know I did!

YWCA Hamilton Board

The women before us have all worked so hard to get us to where we are today. Let’s continue the fight, and keep showing our communities that our say is important, and does matter. We have come so far in 125 years, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for women.

- Jaime Macfie

You can see more images from the event over at Hamilton YWCA’s Facebook page, or find out more about YWCA Hamilton and the incredible work they do here.


Want to support the movement? Donate today!

#WomenYouShouldKnow: YWCA Ambassador Maisy Bentley

YWCA aotearoa AMbassador Maisy bentley

YWCA aotearoa AMbassador Maisy bentley

Maisy Bentley is a woman to watch. Her list of achievements is impressive for anyone, let alone someone at the young age of 19.

You might recognise Maisy from her 2016 feminist TEDx talk, “Don’t Ask for Permission”. Or for being named Most Inspirational Young Person of the year at the New Zealand Parliamentary Pride awards 2016. Or as the NZ Youth Awards 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Youth Champion award. Or as a Miss FQ Influencer awards 'Up and Comer’ 2018 finalist. Seriously, the list goes on.

Somehow she manages to pack all this in with work, study, freelance writing, speaking at events, and being a dedicated advocate for youth, gender equality and fighting mental health stigma. Maisy is the definition of a life lived with purpose.

Maisy is currently in her second year at Vic, studying international development and a bachelor of laws. She is working at Inspiring Stories, a nation-wide not for profit empowering young people to unleash their potential, from entrepreneurial incubator programs to working with hundreds of young people in rural New Zealand to address issues in their community.

She is a volunteer for UN Youth, supporting young people to gain skills and knowledge to become informed, engaged, and critical New Zealanders who can become global citizens.

She’s also a freelance writer for Awa Wahine and the Commonwealth Secretariat, writing both creatively and about current affairs in Wellington, and contributor to YWCA sister site, The She Hive.

I had a chat with Maisy about what drives her, and what makes her excited for the future.

What have been some highlights of working in the advocacy space?

My work in the not for profit and advocacy space has allowed me some pretty cool opportunities including working with one of NZ largest retailers Glassons to get Prepair NZ’s charity t-shirts into nearly every store in the country and travelling on the UN Youth Global Development Tour which included meeting with Helen Clarke at the United Nations Development Programme and bringing the voice of kiwi rangitahi to the UN and the youth action planner on sustainable development goals.

%22To me, feminism means making the world a better place by allowing all people to participate. That means everyone can do whatever they set their mind to.%22.png

What does feminism mean to you?

To me, feminism means making the world a better place by allowing all people to participate. That means everyone can do whatever they set their mind to. To do this, it is not enough to create equal opportunities but we need equity. We need to fix the gender pay gap, need to recognize the way gender shapes the opportunities that women might set their mind to or even consider open to them when it comes time to make those decisions.

I believe feminism a catalyst when done right to address a range of inequalities such as race and class, as it’s a universal issue that draws attention to these intersections.

To me feminism also means playing a role in addressing men’s rights issue to achieve equality. Issues such as mens suicide rates and social norms expected of men are often toxic masculinity. For example, that they can’t cry, talk about their feelings or exhibit feminine characteristics such as crying, or work in ‘traditional womens roles’ such as being a nurse, or home maker.

These are intrinsically linked to women's issues because feminity is seen as bad and when men are told /force not to be in these spaces it means women are forced to be in these spaces and only these spaces or because men are forced to be dominant and hard women must be submissive and soft.

In day to day life it means being aware of how the ideas of gender influence your actions and the way you think about yourself and others and their actions. It also means reflecting on how your comments and actions perpetuate these gender narratives.

What makes you excited for the future?

I’m excited for my generation to be in power. And I’m excited for the future generations who will continue to have positive partnerships with those in power. I’m excited to see a generation who have grown up in a world that is rapidly, dramatically and confusingly changing around them and not only embrace but harness that change for good, rather than try to stop or control it because the way things are currently might be benefiting them individually.

I’m excited to see the impact of the current critical numbers of women in senior positions. The number of women we have in parliament now and for example Jacinda being a working mother will have huge impacts on the perspectives bought to our policy and law making and shape what that looks like.

When women are in power the decision made tend to be ones that work for women and create many more doors. I can feel the glass ceiling being weakened now from both above it by the few very special talented women who have already got there and by those who are up and coming. It is a privilege to be in a generation that has people fighting form both sides.

I am excited to see a future where I hope the next wave of feminism is the ‘ally wave’ where men who recognize and understand these issues actively stand up and demand equality in the way women have no choice to do. We have already seen this in the ad in the New York Times for both Anita hill and Christine Blasey Ford, but I hope to see this trend continue. We can’t change the whole world when only 50% of people are working towards that.


You can find out more about Maisy and her work by following her on Instagram and Twitter.

Want to support the movement? Donate today!

Focus Session & Lunch

Be a part of the movement and help us to create the voice of the YWCA Aotearoa.

We are looking for young women aged 16-25 to join us for a focus session and lunch on October 6.

The session will be located at the Maia Room at the Auckland YWCA hostel in the CBD.

Lunch will be provided thanks to our friends at Hell Pizza and Gingerella.

If you want to be a part of the women’s movement and help the YWCA Aotearoa to develop our voice and brand direction, then sign up below.

No experience necessary.

See you there!

Thanks to our sponsors:

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Suffrage 125 Celebrations in Christchurch

A special sold out event was held at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch on Saturday night, with the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, as the keynote speaker.


Proceeds from the event's ticket sales were donated to Christchurch YWCA, to support the important work they do for local women and children.

The Christchurch YWCA’s connection to the Suffrage movement goes back to the 1880s, when Kate Sheppard served on their governance board.

Sushi Making Lessons at the Y Christchurch

Sushi Making Lessons at the Y Christchurch

The Y Christchurch was originally established to provide emergency housing and support to vulnerable settler women. They are continuing their important work today, providing emergency and transitional housing, health and social services to local women and women with children.

This year alone, over 350 residents have stayed in their care. 2,500 meals have been provided to children staying at the Y and they have held over 200 breakfast and lunch making sessions.

They also offer an in-house counselling service as well as a number of skill building programmes and activities for both women and children staying.

If you would like to support the work the Y Christchurch are doing, you can find out more here.

You can view the full event below.

#WomenYouShouldKnow: Meri Te Tai Mangakahia

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920) Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920)
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia was one of the first Maori suffragists, and now recognised as an unsung hero of Aotearoa's suffrage movement.

She was a prominent and influential Māori woman activist in the 1890s and was fiercely dedicated to the advancement of women’s rights.

Meri Te Tai wanted more than just the right to vote. She wanted women represented in Parliament to be part of the decision making process. 

She was involved in the establishment of Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine, iwi based women’s committees associated with Te Paremata, the Māori parliament. While Pākehā suffragists were focused largely on moral reform and temperance (restriction of alcohol) Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine were more concerned about the wellbeing of Māori culture and the negative effects of colonisation. Included in this was the loss of land and the lack of recognition of Māori women’s rights as the owners of land and resources.

Address to Kotahitanga Parliament

In 1893 Meri Te Tai became the first woman to personally address Kotahitanga Parliament. She presented a motion in favour of women being allowed to vote for, and stand as, members of the Parliament. 

Meri Te Tai's address to the Kotahitanga in 1983

English translation of Meri Te Tai's address to the Kotahitanga: 

"I exult the honourable members of this gathering. Greetings.

I move this motion before the principle member and all honourable members so that a law may emerge from this parliament allowing women to vote and women to be accepted as members of the parliament.

Following are my reasons for presenting this motion that women may receive the vote and that there be women members:

1. There are many women who have been widowed and own much land.

2. There are many women whose fathers have died and do not have brothers.

3. There are many women who are knowledgeable of the management of land where their husbands are not.

4. There are many women whose fathers are elderly, who are also knowledgeable of the management of land and own land.

5. There have been many male leaders who have petitioned the Queen concerning the many issues that affect us all, however, we have not yet been adequately compensated according to those petitions. Therefore I pray to this gathering that women members be appointed. Perhaps by this course of action we may be satisfied concerning the many issues affecting us and our land.

Perhaps the Queen may listen to the petitions if they are presented by her Māori sisters, since she is a woman as well." (source)

Post Suffrage Life

In 1893 all New Zealand women, Māori and Pākehā, won the right to vote. However, it wasn't until 1897 that Māori women won the right to vote in the Kotahitanga Parliamentary elections.   

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920) Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868–1920)
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Teinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae.

Meri Te Tai continued to be active in Māori politics.  In partnership with Niniwa i te Rangi of Wairarapa, she started a column called Te Reiri Karamu (‘The Ladies’ Column’) which was published in Te Tiupiri (The Jubilee). The column shows the engagement of Māori women in lively and intellectual discussion of women's issues. 

Meri Te Tai is remembered as a suffragist who pushed boundaries and inspired future generations of Māori women.

She died of influenza in 1920 and is buried at the Pureirei cemetery in Lower Waihou.