Wellington Women22 January 2015 – Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia H. Benavidez met with Mid-Canterbury Rural Women New Zealand Provincial President Sandra Curd, former Provincial President Bev Bagrie, and Ms. Maureen Maginness of the on 12 December 2014 in Ashburton, South Island. Rural Women is a charitable organisation with diverse membership in rural communities throughout New Zealand at the forefront of programmes, advocacies, connections and activities to promote and provide information, support, learning and training and leadership opportunities on a broad range of areas such as rural health, education, land and social issues, among others. Ms. Maiden Saba, Chairperson of the Filipino Dairy Workers in New Zealand (FDWNZ) was also present.

It was an enlightening and interactive meeting as Ms. Curd, Ms. Bagrie and Ms. Maginness shared with Ambassador Benavidez and Ms. Saba their various activities and programmes to promote friendship and support among local communities and provide opportunities for practical learning and upskilling, welfare and well-being of women in the rural sectors.

Discussions also focused on different ways to encourage the wives and families of Filipino dairy farmers and in other work categories to attend the Rural Women activities and courses to recognise their unique skills and strengths, develop further their talents, avail of education and training programmes, help build confidence and reach their potential. These would enhance greatly the Filipino women’s capability to help the family and contribute to a more positive and resilient environment in their homes and communities.

The extensive networking and sustained commitment of Rural Women New Zealand make it a valuable partner for FDWNZ and other Filipino organizations in mobilizing and harnessing the talents and skills of Filipino women, especially in the rural areas to integrate themselves and be part of programmes and projects for their own advancement and for the benefit of their families and larger communities as they live, work and stay in a multi-cultural and ethnically diverse country like New Zealand. END