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National Council of Women appoints first Māori President

The National Council of Women NZ Board is pleased to announce a new President of the council, Lisa Lawrence. Lisa is the first Māori woman appointed in this role, and has served in the Vice President role since 2017.

Lisa Lawrence (Ngāti Kahungunu) is based in Nelson and is currently Kaiwhakahaere of the Motueka Family Service Centre. She has numerous leadership roles across the region and nationally with NZ Psychology Board and Pharmac. Previously she has worked for an iwi based health and social service, NZ College of Midwives, St John, NZ Family Planning and was a governor of Nelson Bays Primary Health.

2020 will be the council’s 124th year in existence, their first founding President was suffragist leader, Kate Sheppard.

Lisa believes that Māori leadership in mainstream spaces like NCWNZ is becoming more apparent. “The challenge is in indigenising the space and supporting the membership to grow and recognise themselves in a Tiriti o Waitangi based society.”

The World Economic Forum Global Gender Pay Gap report released this week saw Aotearoa move up one place internationally in it’s rankings.

Lisa says. “Pay equality and value for the work we do is not our reality. Looking at the latest Global Gender Pay Gap Report, we need to keep progressing the pay parity conversation. While its a positive shift from 7th to 6th and we need to keep moving forward.”

Vanisa Dhiru was the most recent president of the council, was appointed 2017. She served on the board for over 6 years, and led the public launch of the Gender Equal NZ campaign and represented NCWNZ at a variety of events and meetings, including during Suffrage 125 and at the United Nations CSW and CEDAW meetings in 2018. Vanisa remains on the board to support handover tasks until the end of February 2020, and recruitment for new board members will commence in the new year.

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