Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

PM Address To Country Women's Institutes

ADDRESS BY HELEN CLARK TO NEW ZEALAND FEDERATION OF COUNTRY WOMEN'S INSTITUTES

WELLINGTON TOWN HALL

MONDAY, 24 JULY 2000


Thank you for the invitation to officially open your biennial conference this evening.

It is a particular pleasure to open the conference because of the very long association my family has had with the Country Women’s Institutes.

My great grandmother used to walk around three miles to the Institute meetings, so much did the movement mean to her.

My grandmother also was a foundation member of her local branch in Te Pahu in the Waikato. She used to go to the meetings on horseback with her youngest child. The meetings involved a day out and members took their lunches.

In those days of bad roads and poor communications, women on isolated farms had little contact with other women. It is fair to say that they lived for those Women’s Institute meetings and the contact and friendship the meetings made possible with other women.

My mother, who is here tonight, has been a member of Country Women’s Institute for half a century. Mum has been a regular office holder in the Institute and a full participant in its activities, including being a delegate to the national conference on at least five occasions. She often starred in its dramatic productions in Te Pahu.

For my mother, like my grandmother, the monthly Country Women’s Institute meeting was not to be missed.

The Institute continued to be a place to meet other women, hear a speaker, and catch up with what was going on in the district. It was a means for introducing new settlers in the district to others. And it was also an organisation which encouraged good works for others.

The Institute’s motto: “For Home and Country” has been enduring. It has supported women in their role as homemakers; it has fostered cultural and craft activities; and it has encouraged women to participate in community affairs and to take an interest in all aspects of our national life.

All these aims and activities are of course still relevant in the 21st century. More than ever women are involved in community affairs, public life, and the workplace, but that does not mean that other aspects of our lives need be neglected.

Women take their roles as parents very seriously, and home making is an important part of that.

Then, as Minister of Arts and Culture I also want to give my strong endorsement to the Country Women’s Institute’s support for arts, cultural, and craft activities. Through them we each can express our creativity and our talent, and/or our appreciation for the things of beauty others create.

It is interesting that research into how we New Zealanders spend our time outside work finds that more of us spend our time, actively or passively, engaged with arts, culture, or crafts than we do with sport – yet these are aspects of our national life which have traditionally been undervalued and not well recognised.

This conference in Millennium Year is the ideal opportunity for the Institute to be looking ahead to the kind of role it can play in the 21st century.

Your theme: Today, Tomorrow, Together is a forward looking one.

Undoubtedly the Country Women’s Institute and its branches have been affected by trends in rural society. Many fewer people live on farms these days, and many more women work full time away from the farm and so are identified less with community activities within their district.

On the other hand, regional New Zealand’s economy is diversifying and bringing new, non-farm families into rural and small town areas, particularly people engaged in tourism or the visitor industry in some way.

Country Women’s Institute has also for a long time been established in towns and suburbs.

So what of the future?

The community organisations which thrive in the 21st century will be those which adapt to meet the new needs and interests of their communities. That doesn’t mean changing one’s values, but rather adapting the way things are done to meet new needs. Only women themselves can define what it is they need from and can contribute to organisations like the Country Women’s Institute.

I suspect that some of the needs which drove my grandmother to ride her horse to Institute seventy years ago are still there today.

Women at home with small children can feel very isolated. Country Women’s Institute in the 21st century is still there as a place for friendship and fellowship.

And having established that friendship and fellowship, networks are established which can last a lifetime within communities, or as women shift to other communities knowing the structure of Country Women’s Institute and what it has to offer.

I want to thank Country Women’s Institute tonight particularly for its voluntary work. You have raised money for so many worthwhile causes – for medical research, for children, for a wide range of charities.

Like so many other charitable and community organisations, your voluntary work helps keep our society ticking.

We all know that governments can do so much – but we can’t do everything. Non-governmental organisations like yours, provide that extra which really helps – and we thank you for that. You form a vital part of what we call “civil society” – and it and you are going to have a big role to play in the 21st century.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to say a few words.

I have pleasure in declaring your millennium conference officially open.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

 

NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>

Earlier:

Donations:

Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>

ALSO:

Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>

ALSO:

Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels