Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tirohia mai - Look at us now

It was a privilege to attend the opening of ‘Tirohia Mai – Look at us now’ exhibition at the National Library in Wellington. This exhibition is part of a wider programme (there is another in Auckland) that is looking at women in Aoteraroa New Zealand in the past, present and the future.
Both Rosslyn Noonan and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku addressed the gathering, both were associate curators of the exhibition,  sharing with us all part of the process that had lead to the exhibition. Clearly it is just a start and they have a vision of women participating over a few months as we all contemplate, remember and revisit our experiences of the past and consider the future. 
Rosslyn Noonan
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
The exhibition celebrates the rich diversity of women and all the contributions they have made, both commemorating and celebrating 120 years of women’s suffrage. I was surprised to learn that 13 Maori women had signed the Treat of Waitangi and the exhibition shares a very graphic representation of the changes both in land ownership and population devastation of Maori during the early settlement of Pakeha. This was a very poignant beginning to the exhibition. For me the 70’s were important in my growth as a young woman and activist, I felt a sense of excitement as I was again exposed to the memorabilia and representations of that period. This was a period of my life that I shared with Rosslyn Noonan, at this time I was the National President of the Kindergarten Teachers Union and she was the most fabulous General Secretary. Prior to this period Rosslyn was the National Organiser for International Women's Year. She was also a planning member of the Education and the Equality of the Sexes Conference. This 1975 Conference was the first time that women from early childhood, primary, secondary, vocational and continuing education got together and focussed on issues affecting women and girls. Many of your will have stories to tell. Please enter the site and make a contribution!
Wendy and Rosslyn at the Exhibition
Almost 40 years earlier, here I am at the United Women's Convention!
Access the site and learn how you can contribute to the ongoing exhibition via this link  Tirohia Mai – Look at us now
Tirohia Mai invites anyone to contribute this programme by sharing your stories  online, all contributions will be valued. Give it a go! Share a little of your history…