AGGS farewells Toesulu Brown MNZM

Toesulu Brown has worked at AGGS for thirty years.  Charmaine created a position for her in 1985 as a community liaison officer and a teacher of Samoan language, especially to NZ-born girls who were not fluent.  Over the years Toesulu has fulfilled many roles in the school and the community, becoming a key member of the national […]


We’ve just seen an outstanding, gut-wrenching film, Suffragette.  If it comes your way, don’t miss it. It was shown as a fundraiser for the Auckland Women’s Centre on Sunday 15th November.  It’s a profoundly important film, reminding us in the most visceral way of the hatred still shown in much of the world towards women […]

Towards “A Ukulele Revolution”

(from left) Joe, Bernard, Tanya and Charmaine with some of Bernard’s beautiful instruments We have an exciting new project – helping to raise funds for a ukulele-making workshop and training centre in Poutasi, on the south-east coast of Upolu, Samoa.  This village was destroyed by the 2009 tsunami, partially rebuilt, and then severely damaged again by […]

Celebrating Women’s Suffrage – September 19th each year

New Zealand was the first self-governing nation to grant all women the vote, when a bill was passed in Parliament on 19 September 1893.  Each year Women’s Suffrage Day is celebrated throughout Aotearoa (although largely ignored by mainstream media, of course…).  There’s an excellent web page about women winning the vote at We went to […]

W.H.O. with Wheels

Driving lessons are underway for the local refugee women from W.H.O. (Women of Hope: Wakeup and Help Ourselves). Already Odetta Ntezicimpa (left) , formerly from Burundi, who runs her own mobile driving school, has taken 8 lessons; two of the women are now ready to take their  Restricted Licence tests. Our warm thanks to Odetta for her skilled teaching, affirmation […]

All Black in deed…

We’ve had enough.  We’re absolutely sick of having people assume we want to hear endlessly about rugby, and the ABs, and the World Cup. Like  hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, probably, we are not fans of rugby – indeed we find it a war-like, ugly disgusting game glorifying brutishness and thuggery.  It’s often played […]

Shakti – Celebrating 20 Years

We’ve mentioned before our friendship with Farida and Shila, from the group which founded Shakti in Aotearoa. We have a huge admiration for Shakti’s work, which began in Auckland as a service for women from minority ethnic backgrounds experiencing domestic violence. This year it celebrates 20 years here in Aotearoa, and its expansion to […]

Who are W.H.O?

Our Congolese friend Lema Shamamba, with the support of Hinemoa Key from Ranui Action Project, has brought together a group of refugee women living around Ranui for companionship and support. The two names they discussed for their group:  Women of Hope, and Women Wake up, Helping Ourselves have become one: W.H.O – Women of Hope, Helping Ourselves […]