Four Women, Four Living Books

5/09/2018 12:00 a.m.

The 125th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage in New Zealand will be celebrated at a special lunchtime event at Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri on Saturday 15 September from 12 noon to 2pm.

Members of the public are invited to attend a shared lunch and Living Books session where four well-known women will answer questions from the audience. This event is being co-hosted by the Rotorua Multicultural Council and Rotorua Library with funding from the Geyser Community Foundation.

The four Living Book speakers have diverse backgrounds and will be responding to open forum questions from the audience on topics such as suffrage and changes in their home country or town, their inspiration and the future of women's rights. The four speakers are Tania Te Whenua, Alexis LewGor, Dr. Sandra Velarde and Faustinah Ndlovu.

Library Director Jane Gilbert is looking forward to the occasion. "As well as coming from different countries, the speakers all have very different areas of specialty which will make for a very interesting discussion."


Living Book Speakers:

  • Tania Te Whenua (Tuhoe, Whakatohea) is the principal of Te Whenua Law and Consulting.  She acts as legal counsel to the NZ Council of Trade Unions and the Public Service Association on inequities facing Māori women in employment in a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry. Tania was raised in Ōpotiki where she says women suffer amongst the highest rates of criminal victimisation resulting in serious harm or death in New Zealand.

  • Alexis LewGor was born in Fiji with German, Chinese and Samoan ancestors. She played a major part in establishing the Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust and the Rotorua Multicultural Council and in these capacities she has empowered many migrant women to take leadership roles in their own communities, enabling them to invest in their own development.

  • Dr. Sandra Velarde came from Peru to Rotorua in 2014.  She is an Associate Research Leader at Scion, managing the environmental economics and governance research portfolios, including rural and urban green spaces, indigenous forestry, and biofuels. As a Homeward Bound alumna she recently returned from an expedition to Antarctica to help improve the role of women in science.

  • Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Faustinah Ndlovu has worked in the New Zealand Health and Disability sector for 13 years. Faustinah is a Volunteer Coordinator and guide for Achilles International New Zealand, a Zimbabwean Rural School Library Trust Ambassador, Tariro Project Zimbabwe founder and a member of the Rotorua Multicultural Council Executive Committee.


Rotorua Multicultural Council President Dr. Margriet Theron will be facilitating the Living Books event. She says this event will be a great opportunity to reflect on women's rights in New Zealand, to build understanding of Māori values among migrants, and to learn about and from inspiring women from Fiji, Peru and Zimbabwe.

All are welcome to come along to this free event. Bring a small plate of lunch to share and your questions if you have any. Booking is not required just come along and enjoy!

Page reviewed: 05 Sep 2018 4:26pm