History of Women and NZUSA 1970-2003


Group: Women’s Rights Action Coalition (WRAC)

1973 A sex liberation officer & A Women's rights Officer Both NZUSA Officers

1976 Two Women's Commission delegates as National Officers.  All campuses sent Women’s Rights Officers  (WRO)

1978 WRAC called for National Co-ordinator 

1979 WRAC established as a standing committee of NZUSA.  Co-ordinator appointed.


Group: Women’s Action Coalition (WAC)

1981 Part-time WRAC Co-ordinator became the Women's Vice-President.

1982 WAC established and power was devolved back to a campus level.

1984 A full-time NZUSA Women's Vice-president position was established.

1986 The Working Party on NZUSA restructuring recommended that women in education be retained as a priority by the establishment of a women's research officer. A woman was hired for one year.

1987 The position of Women's Vice-president is lost.

1988 NZUSA reviews the WAC. The Women's conference prior to NZUSA conferences replaces formal structure.  There was now no staff member or elected representative working on the interests of women students.

Early 1990's

Group: University Women’s Information Network (UNWIN)

1992 UWIN was established from the women's conferences.  UWIN took the form of a newsletter complied by women on Exec's for women students.

1993 UWIN/Women's conferences successfully lobby for the establishment of a full-time Staff member to co-ordinate and facilitate activities of the women federation members.  This is agreed to. NZUSA and the Aotearoa Polytechnic Students Union (now called the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association – ATSA) decide to share premises and three joint staff; a researcher, office administrator and a campus liaison officer.

1994 The Women's Networking co-ordinator position is filled by Jan Logie.  UWIN becomes a lobby and campaigns co-ordination group.  UWIN obtains constitutional status within NZUSA and has a budget line within the NZUSA budget.

Late 1990’s

Group: Women’s Education Coalition Aotearoa (WECA) 

1995 UWIN changed its name to the Women's Education Coalition Aotearoa (WECA) to reflect change in function, composition and sphere of influence.  WECA worked towards having a relationship with Te Mana Akonga.  Principles were developed to help the organisations work together to address the concerns of Nga Wahine Maori.  The position of campus liaison officer becomes redundant.

1996 Women from Te Mana Akonga leave WECA.  Reasons include WECA not adhering to the agreed principles.  Women's co-ordinator leaves, position remains vacant for some months.  There is some debate about the continuance of the position.  The position is continued.  Te Mana Akonga begins to share premises with NZUSA and APSU.

1997 WECA worked on developing a policy document.  This included a Pro-choice policy.  This caused a great amount of controversy, with SOUL (Students to Uphold Life) organising in opposition to the policy being passed.  Late in the year a working party is set up to resolve the relationship between WECA and Te Mana Akonga.  There are a number of initiatives proposed to make WECA a bicultural forum. One of the initiatives includes kaumaatua/kuia attending WECA conferences.  This was not considered to be acceptable by all campuses.  Some campuses wish to retain a space for women only at conferences.

1998 Discussion continues into the New Year.  February conference saw the voting on the issue of how to include Maori participation in WECA.  The proposal of men attending WECA conference as support people failed.  WECA dissolves.  OUSA women give notice of immediate withdrawal from WECA because they agree with Te Mana Akonga's proposal and believed WECA should have taken it on board.  Members of the MUSA women's group also leave WECA citing differences over the position that other women in the group have taken on the issue, however the MUSA women affirm their commitment to a bi-cultural practice.  A Hui in May attended by representatives from each campus and roopu confirms that WECA should be wound up at the next women's conference and a new group to be formed based on a culturally appropriate structure and practice.

WECA is formally wound up at the July women's conference.  The new group proposed at the May Hui is named the Tertiary Women's Focus Group.  Part of the process to develop the new group it is decided that the group will have a Core Group Structure, so that representatives from Te Mana Akonga, Pacific Island Students, Aotearoa Polytechnic Student Union and NZUSA meet to plan before each Hui/Conference.  It is hoped that the Core Group will act as a guide for the NZUSA Women's Co-ordinator. MUSA and OUSA rejoin TWFG.

The Tertiary Women's Focus group meets formally for the first time before the NZUSA September conference.

1999 The outcome of the Voluntary Student Membership referendum is that NZUSA’s largest member AUSA goes voluntary.  NZUSA has a reduced budget for the 1999 year.  There a move to make the position of Women's Co-ordinator redundant.  A motion to make the position redundant fails because it was not seconded at the July NZUSA conference.  However, due to reduced financial circumstances for 2000 the position is once again under threat later in the year. The position is then made redundant in December.

2000 – 2003

Group: Tertiary Women’s Focus Group (TWFG) 

2000 TWFG Representatives were appointed to Fedex in absence of National Women’s Rights Officer.  TWFG passed a resolution that men and women were to be allowed to attend TWFG Conferences as support people.  However due to the decreased budget TWFG could no longer sustain a core group and instead passed a resolution to appoint the WROs as a core group body.  In April the first National Women's Rights Officer was elected by a teleconference of NZUSA Women. The Position is part time (20 hours a week) and was not based in Wellington. This created challenges of networking and travel.

2001 NWRO based in Wellington at Federation Office.  In July a formal TWFG Operating Structure and Policy are drafted with Te Mana Akonga and discussed at conference.  In September TWFG Operating Structure and Policy are ratified, the TWFG Representatives are also taken off Fedex and instead become part of the core body with the Women’s Rights Officers.  Membership of TWFG is formalised as any woman in a tertiary Institution Student Association in New Zealand, but priorities of decision are given to NZUSA and Te Mana Akonga affiliated Institutions.

2002 Policy to make participation in NWRO elections women only drafted.  Web-based discussion group now well established.

2003 NWRO position remains a 20-hour a week position based in NZUSA Federation Office. TWFG file a historic claim to the Human Rights Commission based on the indirect illegal discrimination faced by women through the student loan scheme.

National Women’s Co-ordinators and National Women’s Rights Officers

National Women’s Co-ordinators:

1994 Jan Logie

1995 Helena Court

1997 Christina Rizos 

National Women’s Rights Officers:

2000 Lisa Ducat

2001 Dayna Berghan

2002 Anna McMartin               

2002 Roshni Sami

2003 & 2004 Camilla Belich

2005 Karen Price

2006 Jennifer Jones

2007 Natalie Absolom

2008 Analiese Jackson

2009 Vacant

2010 Sophia Blair

2011 Catlin Dunham

2012 Catlin Dunham

2013 Arena Williams

2014 Sam Allen

2015 Izzy O'Neill

The voice of New Zealand's 400,000 students.

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations exists to advance the political, social and economic interests of tertiary students whatever they study and wherever they live. NZUSA is a membership body of local students' associatons. We believe in opportunity for all.

Volunteer Keep Informed