Kiwi Indian woman now leads National Council of Women

Image of Vanisa Dhiru in front of the image of the first meeting of the National Council of Women held in Christchurch in 1896.

Vanisa Dhiru is the new President of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ). Vanisa, a New Zealand-born Gujarati, will be responsible for leading the board of the 121-year-old organisation, which was founded by Kate Sheppard.  Her appointment was announced on Suffrage Day last week (19 September).

Vanisa has served on the NCWNZ board for the past five years, and as Vice-President for the past three years. Her leadership experience in non-government organisations and charitable organisations includes serving as Chief Executive Officer of both Volunteering New Zealand and 20/20 Trust. Vanisa’s work outside NCWNZ in community engagement, particularly among under-represented communities, brings a strong grassroots focus to NCWNZ’s governance.

Her community involvement has helped her become the only kiwi in the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Global Network.

“I’m passionate that all New Zealanders of any gender get equal rights in life – equal opportunity and access, without stereotypes – through our new movement, Gender Equal NZ,” says Vanisa.

“I want to see a New Zealand that allows whatever ethnicity anyone is to have the respect and understand all the genders, and where any Kiwi can have the freedom to determine their future.”

The image is of the famous first meeting of the National Council of Women held in Christchurch in 1896.

Standing, from left: Mrs A Ansell (Dunedin), Mrs Henry Smith (Christchurch), Miss A E Hookham (Christchurch), Mrs G Ross (Christchurch), Miss Jessie Mackay (Christchurch), Mrs Isherwood (Christchurch), Mrs Black (Christchurch), Mrs Widdowson (Christchurch), Miss F Garstin (Christchurch), Mrs Wallis (Christchurch), Mrs Darling (Christchurch), Mrs J M Williamson (Wanganui), and Mrs Wilson (Christchurch)

Seated: Mrs G J Smith (Christchurch), Mrs A Daldy (Auckland), Mrs Hatton (Dunedin, vice-president), Lady Stout (Wellington, vice-president), Mrs K W Sheppard (Christchurch, president), Mrs A J Schnackenberg (Auckland, vice-president), Mrs W Sievwright (Gisborne, vice-president), Mrs M A Tasker (Wellington), and Mrs D Izett (Christchurch)

Seated on floor: Mrs C M Alley (Malvern), Mrs A Wells (Christchurch, secretary), and Miss Bain (Christchurch).