Issue date
20 December 2022

Tēnā koutou katoa 

As 2022 comes to an end, there have been some wonderful achievements in the past year. A number of which have involved many of you, as we work together to improve the lives of wāhine women and kōtiro girls in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

In June we launched Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine Women’s Employment Action Plan. An action plan by women, for women, focused on creating a more inclusive labour market and improving employment pathways for women who are marginalised at work, particularly wāhine Māori, Pacific women, young and older women, disabled women, women who are former refugees and recent migrants, and women in the LGBTQIA+ community. It was a privilege to launch this in South Auckland with wāhine who had contributed to the consultation and formation of the Action Plan in the room – a true collaboration.  

A significant milestone was achieved for the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry as the tūāpapa hearings concluded in September. These hearings involved hearing evidence from wāhine across the motu to establish a historical picture of the life, experiences, and status of wāhine Māori, and the contemporary issues wāhine face today.   

We made great progress in the leadership space, with the latest Gender and Ethnic Stocktake of Public Sector Boards and Committees finding that women now hold 52.5% of appointed board positions – the highest figure to date! 

In March, we participated in the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66), which focused on responding to climate change and its impact on women and girls globally. Our international engagements continued with virtual and in-person events and bilateral meetings, including visiting Thailand for an APEC Women in the Economy Forum in September.  

We’ve also commemorated significant milestones, including 129 years of women’s suffrage and 50 years of the Equal Pay Act, and celebrated many successful wāhine at awards and events.   

In October, I was permanently appointed Secretary for Women and Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women, having acted in the role for 16 months. I feel honoured to lead an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls and am excited to progress this important mahi in 2023.  

So, what’s next for Manatū Wāhine in 2023?  

In March, we have the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) and we will also be preparing New Zealand’s next report to the United Nations for the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), due in July.  

Throughout the year, we will be implementing actions in Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine, including work around pay transparency, closing gender and ethnic pay gaps, and conducting research into wāhine Māori employment and business. We will also focus on women’s participation in sports in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and many more fantastic projects that we can’t wait to share.

Thanks to all the individuals and organisations working to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand is a more equitable, fair, and inclusive society. I am proud to partner with so many of you to make a real difference for women and girls. I look forward to working together next year and wish you all a well-deserved holiday break.  

Meri Kirihimete! 

Noho ora mai,

Kellie Coombes
Te Tumu Whakarae mō te wahine | Secretary for Women and Chief Executive