Home News In the suffragist spirit: Women working for change

In the suffragist spirit: Women working for change


Three local women have been awarded Women’s Fund grants in an initiative that celebrates the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

They are Liz Ferris, manager of Te Papapa Preschool; Lily Henry, manager of Tō Wāhi – Your Place in Oranga, and Arna Metcalfe, a longstanding member of the National Council of Women’s Auckland branch.

The inaugural awards ceremony on 16th September followed a retreat day for nominees, that included networking and mentoring sessions.

CEO of the Auckland Foundation, which manages the Women’s Fund, Dellwyn Stuart, said the event was about supporting women who were working for positive change in their community.

“What we set out to do was find women who really embodied the modern suffragist,” she said.

Liz Ferris said her own experience of being encouraged by someone who believed in her, created a desire to empower the staff and families at Te Papapa Preschool. Through employment opportunities, scholarships and mentoring, Liz has supported a number of women to achieve full registration as ECE teachers.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’re able to journey alongside our teachers as they realise their dreams through education, and that we're in a position to help support them financially,” she said.

Lily Henry became manager of Tō Wāhi last year, after volunteering for two years at the op-shop. Since then, the shop has developed into a community hub, where local women can learn skills such as sewing reuseable bags, cooking, nutrition, computing, and retailing.

“I’m always looking for opportunities, and I’m so stoked to see the eyes of women light up when they finish a product and learn something new,” Lily said.

Arna Metcalfe leads the Gifted and Talented programme at Marcellin College. She has a history in community activism and not-for-profit groups. As a board member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) and vice president of the Auckland branch, Arna is involved in the Gender Equal NZ movement and the Auckland Young Feminists Network, which supports high school students interested in feminism.




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