The Maori Women's Welfare League changed the lives of many
The League, set up in 1951, was originally a government initiative. Whina Cooper was elected first president of the League which had 187 branches nationwide. Initially the League was focussed on sharing ideas around health and wellbeing in Maori families with a special focus on women and children. Over the course of it's history the League has opposed the '81 Springbok, advocated for fairer allocation of state housing, promoted the retention of Te Reo Maori, issues affecting Maori, the development of kohanga reo and business opportunities for Maori women.
Women's groups provide a power base where women can act on the world.
Women of Aotearoa New Zealand have, throughout history, been very good at forming groups to effect change. Women's organising is often about power - if you present as a united front then you are more likely to be listened to. Women have formed groups around their profession - Teaching, Nursing, Tailoresses Union; their ethnicity, their shared interests etc. Groups and organisations have allowed women to spread ideas amongst their membership. Film makers and artists have spread ideas and messages through their artworks.