Rural women meet

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Remaining relevant in today’s world and attracting new members were just some of the suggestions for the future of Rural Women New Zealand put forward by Canterbury members at a provincial meeting in Ashburton last week.
Rural Women New Zealand was one of the best kept secrets in New Zealand said its national vice-president.
Fiona Gower, of Port Waikato, said the organisation must lift its profile.
With a clear, concise set of rules, new bylaws, a new structure and a strategic plan which set short, medium and long-term goals. the organisation was looking to remain relevant in today’s society, she said.
The changes were also providing more leadership roles within Rural Women.
The sale of its Access HomeHealth business two years ago, was providing funding, she said.
The provision of personal development and training programmes was the next step.
‘‘This will be a benefit not just for Rural Women but also for rural communities,’’ she said
Mrs Gower stressed the importance of developing partnerships with other groups such as FarmingMums NZ, Dairy Women’s Network, Primary Industry Training Organisation, Agri-Women’s
Development Trust, and Young Farmers.
While Rural Women had a membership of about 2,500 it reached up to 10,000 people through social networking, she said.
Individual members – those not affiliated to a branch – were becoming more important, with numbers increasing.
A recent survey of members had shown the main areas or concern to be relevancy to the next generation, communication, collaboration and education for members and others.
Mrs Gower said there was a lot of fundraising and many events run by amazing women in the organisation.
Canterbury has been trialling the new structure, appointing a new area committee to organise and coordinate all that is happening in the region.
Members of the committee were given the opportunity to outline their views on the future of Rural Women.
These included such things as building membership, attracting women who were no longer involved with school activities, reaching younger women by using a mix of technology and face to face gatherings, attracting women from lifestyle blocks, asking younger women what they want, working with other groups, and telling people what Rural Women New Zealand does.
Pictured: Members of Rural Women New Zealand came from throughout Canterbury to last week’s meeting in Ashburton.