Book Celebrates Women on The Land

April 18, 2012 10:33 pm

A new collection of writing published by South Canterbury Rural Women New Zealand is a treasure trove of stories and poems celebrating the lives and work of rural women.

At last weekend’s launch of the anthology Ragwort and Thistles, Minister of Women’s Affairs and Rangitata MP, Jo Goodhew, said “Women were and women are the fabric of our land.”

The Minister congratulated the 48 contributors – many of whom were in Timaru for the launch – saying the book of poetry and prose moved her and will become a treasured publication to many.

President of Rural Women New Zealand’s South Canterbury Provincial, Margaret Chapman, says the publication of the book had been a big project.

“During 2011 we held a nationwide writing competition seeking original, non-published works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry that celebrated women and the role they play or have played on our land and in our rural communities.

“In all, 321 entries were received, ranging from witty poems and moving stories about remarkable pioneer women who shaped our country, to modern stories about women farmers today.”

A judging panel of five, including Pleasant Point writer Karalyn Joyce, had an incredibly hard job to select the 52 individual poems and stories that are included in the book.

They chose as winner a short story called Ragwort and Thistles, by Marion Day of Picton, saying the story invoked clear and vivid memories.

In a close second, was Milk and Honey, another very descriptive and well-written story by Annalisa Vaatstra of Wanganui.

In third place came Madge, a beautiful character poem by Dawn McMillan of Thames.

The book will have broad appeal for both rural and non-rural people.

“It’s a good read – designed to entertain, to inform and in many cases to evoke memories,” says Margaret Chapman.

“The book celebrates the vital part that women play in farming – in the past, present and into the future”.

The book is available for purchase through Rural Women New Zealand’s website – 

Photo above  from left to right
Kerry Maw, RWNZ National Councillor; Alyson Ulrich, judge; Vicky O’Connor, photographer; Yvone Cochrane,contributor; Hon Jo Goodhew, MP

For further information about the book contact:
Margaret Chapman
President South Canterbury Provincial
Rural Women New Zealand
(03) 693 9994, (027) 207 6008
[email protected]

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