About Rural Women New Zealand
Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is an integral part of New Zealand’s rural landscape. From our early days as the Women’s Division of the Farmer’s Union in 1925, RWNZ has become an authoritative voice on health services, education, environment and social issues in the rural sector.
RWNZ Members are the backbone of our connection with New Zealand’s rural communities. RWNZ Branches can be found all across the country; while some groups meet for networking and friendship, others are focused on education and facilitate training days and workshops. If you cannot attend regular meetings but still want to have your say and stay connected, then Individual Membership may be an option for you.
RWNZ seeks to empower rural women and girls by nurturing their talents and encouraging Members to develop their skills through leadership roles within Branches and Provincials. We hope to see our Members turn these talents towards leadership roles in their communities. In addition, RWNZ provides both a social and business networking opportunities for Members.
RWNZ often canvasses the opinions of Members and the wider rural community on issues in order to make regular submissions on education, social, health, safety and land concerns affecting rural people.
Rural Women New Zealand, originally known as the Women’s Division of the Farmer’s Union, is rooted in a search for community and friendship.
In 1925, a number of farmers’ wives were on holiday in Wellington while their husbands attended the Farmers’ Union Conference. They shared their experiences of the often hard and lonely times on the farm with each other: the unceasing toil, the mud track roads and rivers unbridged. Stories of the backblock women’s loneliness, illness and lack of support resonated with the sixteen founders of the Women’s Division of the Farmer’s Union, who established the organisation to improve support systems for their fellow rural women.
In the 90 years since, RWNZ has been at the forefront of rural issues, working to ensure that the voices of New Zealand’s rural women and their families are heard. We celebrate our heritage, especially as the objectives of RWNZ’s founding Members are still central to our authoritative voice on policy and decision-making.
Charitable: We continue our traditional role of supporting rural communities.
Forward Thinking: We lead the development of strong rural environments for today and the future.
Flexible: We are creative, proactive and innovative.
Professional: We are reputable and use best practice.
Inclusive: We welcome diversity in all its forms.