Waikato Women’s Fund tackles need and builds capacity


Meeting an urgent need while building resilience and capacity for a brighter future are the goals of the first two grants made by the Waikato’s newest philanthropic enterprise.

The launch this week of the Waikato Women’s Fund-Te Ira Waahine o Waikato featured the well-received announcement that the Waikato Women's Refuge-Te Whakaruruhau and the Toi Wāhine festival are the recipients of its inaugural contributions.

“We’re beginning as we intend to go on,” says establishment group chair Michelle Howie, “these two groups, respectively, embody our concerns and aspirations”.

Around a hundred people attended the launch of the Waikato Women’s Fund at The Meteor in Hamilton on Wednesday, 31 July. The ‘big reveal’ of the first two grants was met with enthusiastic applause in the packed theatre.

The evening also featured inspiring presentations by Dr Gill Greer, Chief Executive of the National Council of Women of New Zealand, and Dellwyn Stuart, founder of the Auckland Foundation’s Women's Fund.

Gill emphasised that 125 years after New Zealand women secured the right to vote, our society is still a long long way from gender equity – “five things done, fifty-seven to do” as she put it. People today can make good on Aotearoa’s legacy of strong women by not letting up on the push for positive change.

She also pointed to a quote from former PM Helen Clark – “meta problems don’t always need meta solutions – small actions together can have a transformative effect”.

Dellwyn focused on the distinct nature of women’s giving and the ripples that come from investing in women.

“Women want to make change, we give when we can relate to a challenge. We want to create new solutions, to be entrepreneurial with our philanthropy. We like to connect, to get some intimacy with where our money goes, to know how the story ends.

“When we invest in women, they go out and share the benefit with their families, their neighbours, their whole community. Investing in women creates a fairer society for everyone.”

Anyone can donate any amount to the Waikato Women’s Fund, and find out more, at www.waikatowomensfund.nz.

Recommended location announced for Waikato Regional Theatre

The recommended location for the new Waikato Regional Theatre has been announced as the Hamilton Hotel site on Victoria St, Hamilton, and the community’s feedback on this is being sought.

The privately-owned site currently has a range of restaurants and bars and is bordered by Embassy Park (with the Riff Raff statue) on one side and Sapper Moore-Jones Place (formerly Marlborough Pl) on the other, and runs down to the river. A new theatre development would look to restore the facade of the old Hamilton Hotel, which is recognised as a heritage building.