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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




In the late 1940s it became evident to those interested in the future of the Maori people that there was need for them to prepare themselves for the rapidly changing economic and social conditions of modern life, and it was felt that the women could assist in this. Up to that time Maori women, with a few exceptions, had not taken part in public or in tribal affairs. A meeting was called in Wellington, in 1951, at which the Maori Women's Welfare League was formed. Its prime objective may be summed up as follows: “To promote fellowship and understanding between Maori and European women and to cooperate with other women's organisations, Departments of State, and local bodies for the furtherance of these objects”. The league is also pledged to preserve, revive, and maintain the teaching of Maori arts and crafts and to perpetuate Maori culture. Its welfare work extends to giving aid to members and others in need. From the outset the growth of the league was rapid, and within 14 years the membership had risen to some 3,000 members in branches in all parts of the country. A conference is held annually at which Maori women are gaining confidence in expressing their views on all topics which affect their people, especially with regard to health and education. The league has already justified its formation.

by Olive Rita Croker, M.A., Botanist, Wellington.