RWNZ History 

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.