A desire to prevent the isolation of women living in rural
areas is just one of the driving forces for Rural Women New
Zealand's new vice-president.
Kerry Maw, of Dorie, near Rakaia, took over the role at the
recent annual meeting of the organisation.
Primarily, she sees her role as supporting the new national
president, Wendy McGowan, from Bay of Plenty, but she will be
maintaining a keen interest in the role of Rural Women
''It's all about the core services and supporting sustainable
growth in the community, helping to fill in gaps in isolation
and having fun,'' Mrs Maw said.
As a city girl who married a farmer she is aware of how
isolated women can become in the rural sector.
''I joined to meet people of interest, to keep the brain
active, to help with the isolation. It's good to feel you are
giving something back, too.
''There is still isolation although it may be felt in
Mrs Maw, a member of the Seafield branch, farms a 445ha sheep
and mixed cropping farm with her husband, Geoff.
She has been involved at a national level for around six
years, serving as the councillor for the Canterbury region
and its 20 branches.
Like any organisation, Rural Women has been going through
''We have to be aware of how it impacts on rural
communities,'' Mrs Maw said.
She is keen to keep fees as low as possible to ensure
membership is accessible to all who want to join, and wants
to ensure the organisation is relevant to young women.
''We are attracting younger women. Of course, a lot of women
are actively working on farms and are increasingly hands on.
That's why we started the Women in Farming groups,'' Mrs Maw
The groups provide opportunities for women who wanted to
share their farming knowledge and develop new farm-based
skills in a friendly, supportive environment.
With five children aged from 9 to 15 years, life is always
busy for Mrs Maw.
The new role might bring even more travel. Combine that with
her recent election to the Associated Countrywomen of the
World United Nations committee, and her organisational skills
will be called on even more to enable her to fill all her