Christchurch

The Christchurch suffrage celebration was held on 12 September at Kate Sheppard House in Ilam. The event was hosted by the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hon Jo Goodhew and was attended by Members of Parliament, and a wide range of public, private and community representatives.

The focus of the celebration was to promote career opportunities for women in the rebuild work in Canterbury and to show case studies of what is happening on the ground already. A new research report was launched at the event:  Building Back Better: Utilising women’s labour in the Canterbury recovery.

 

 

 

12 September, 2013  Kate Sheppard House, Christchurch

Programme

4.40 pm Mihi Whakatau
Arihia Bennett, Chief Executive, Ngāi Tahu

4.45 pm Welcome
Roger Sutton, Chief Executive, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority

4.50 pm Opening address
Hon Jo Goodhew, Minister of Women’s Affairs

4.55 pm Speakers
Kay Giles, Chief Executive, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
Helina Stil, National Manager, Nikau Contractors Ltd
Arihia Bennett, Chief Executive, Ngāi Tahu

5.15 pm Summary
Roger Sutton, Chief Executive, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority

5.20 pm Closing address
Cath Robinson, Director, Women in Leadership, Ministry of Women’s Affairs

Highlights

Arihia Bennett, Chief Executive, Ngāi Tahu, opened the event with a mihi whakatau.

Hon Jo Goodhew, Minister of Women’s Affairs, provided the opening address: “Kate Sheppard and her contemporaries challenged New Zealand to take a bold step 120 years ago. They challenged New Zealand to build a future that saw the full use of women’s skills… We need to ask ourselves this question: How much more can we do to ensure that New Zealand is a nation renowned for utilising the talents of women fully and, in doing so, continues to lead the world?”

Mrs Goodhew launched a new research report: Building Back Better: Utilising women’s labour in the Canterbury recovery. The purpose of the research is to understand women’s labour market experiences in Canterbury and ways in which women’s skills can be used in the rebuild. The report shows that women in Canterbury are work-ready and want to participate in the rebuild.  However, it also shows that many women perceive very few or even no roles for them in the rebuild or related occupations.

Roger Sutton, Chief Executive, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and the Master of Ceremonies, put forward a challenge, not just for Canterbury, but for all of New Zealand: “We need to give women ‘kourage’ to get into male dominated areas of work, and ‘konfidence’ to keep them in those positions”. Both spelt with a ‘K’ in recognition of Kate Sheppard.

 

Kay Giles, Chief Executive, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology shared a childhood memory of how her grandmother reinforced the importance of voting to her at a young age because as a young woman her Grandmother hadn’t been able to. Kay Giles concluded her speech with her grandmother’s words: “It’s about rights and responsibilities. And we still need to fight for the right to workplace equality and to take responsibility for being part of the change that is required.”

 

Helina Stil, National Manager, Nikau Contractors said: “The rebuild of Christchurch poses the greatest opportunity in 120 years for women to be actively involved in traditionally "male" dominated industries. It is up to all of us; as community leaders and as business leaders to lead the way to demolish society's preconceived ideas about what roles each sex can contribute - we are women, we are strong and we ARE committed to Christchurch”.

 

 

Arihia Bennett, Chief Executive of Ngāi Tahu, shared a story about a friend that she recently met who had made a career progression from cleaning houses to building houses.

 

 

Cath Robinson, Director, Women in Leadership, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, closed the event by challenging guests to: “Think about the challenges of the past, think about how men and women of those times brought about change. Then think about you how can address today’s challenges – for the women of tomorrow”.

 

Guests at Kate Sheppard House, Christchurch