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Women Speak Out! A Report of the Pacific Women's Conference. October 27 – November 2

New Zealand

New Zealand

In early times, the woman's place was always in the home. She was the mother and the homemaker. Traditionally, our women did not speak out on anything; it was always the woman's place to be the cook for the family. The woman had to be sure that the cupboard was full, that hospitality was extended to anyone and everyone who may knock on her door. Also it was very much an extended family group so that it was not only her little family that she was concerned with, but the community as a whole. We used to live mainly in communal groups in the country areas.

However, this has changed a great deal. Nowadays, the majority of our people, because of employment, are moving into the cities to live and to work. We tend to lose the community spirit that we had in the country areas.

In some areas, traditionally, women are not permitted to speak on our maraes. In other areas, they are allowed to speak. But usually, it is the man who does the speaking and women do not speak on the marae. But in the city areas, women are now speaking up more than they used to.