For immediate release
7 December 2016
Introducing the new Board for Rural Women New Zealand
The new Board for Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) has been elected. The Board supersedes the Rural Women New Zealand
National Council under new Rules and Bylaws ratified by the RWNZ membership at National Conference in 2015.
The new National President is Fiona Gower from Port Waikato. Fiona has served several terms on the RWNZ National
Council, including Vice President for the past year. Fiona is also a trustee for the Landcare Trust. “My aspiration is
that RWNZ will become the rural organisation of choice within the wider sector for all women, communities, organisations
and decision makers. RWNZ will actively promote its strong charitable role and authoritative rural voice, while
retaining its strong social support network,” says Fiona.
Rachael Dean, BCom. Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor, continues on as the National Finance Chair on the Board.
Rachael is from Cambridge and is currently also on the Board of Sport Waikato and on the Council for Licensed Firearms
Owners and represents RWNZ on the Firearms Community Advisory Forum. Rachael has served on numerous public bodies,
including Southland Area Health Board, Waikato Chamber of Commerce, Invercargill City Council, Diving New Zealand,
Northamptonshire County Health Partnership, and Wellingborough Borough Council, England.
“I believe agriculture is the backbone of New Zealand. RWNZ has a long and proud history of making a difference, of
advocating loudly for the rural sector and of “service simply given”. Robust and transparent finances, prudent use of
funds, tight cost control, and well managed investments should sit behind and support RWNZ’s actions and goals,” says
Margaret Pittaway from Cromwell, has also been welcomed onto the Board after serving on the RWNZ National Council for
several years. She is a former Practice Nurse and New Zealand Blood Transfusion Service nurse, and has used her
extensive experience as a Convenor of the health portfolio for RWNZ. Margaret says that “more than ever RWNZ needs to
ensure equity of all services, and consideration by central government of the rural population when new policy and
legislation is being developed.”
Several new faces have joined the RWNZ Board. Sue Higgins from Nelson has experience on several committees and boards,
including as a Director on the Access Homehealth Board, and a student member of the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
Sue has also been the Minute Secretary for Brightwater School Board of Trustees and Deputy Chair of the Waimea Nelson
Tasman Chamber of Commerce Waimea Business Focus Group. She has also volunteered as an administrator for the Nelson
Region Hospice. Sue says her vision for RWNZ is to stay relevant and continue to be a respected voice for the rural
community. “Our reputation continues to allow us entry to corridors of power and organisations where our voice can be
Penny Mudford from Wellington and has over 15 years’ experience in governance roles and is currently chair of the Racing
Safety Development Fund and Board Member of the New Zealand Walking Access Commission. Penny has previously sat on the
Veterinary Council, MAF Appeals Committee for the Agricultural Recovery Programme, and Ministerial Committee on Land
“As RWNZ journeys toward 100 years of activity and service, we need individual achievement to be supported and
recognised, and leadership at all levels of rural communities to be fostered and encouraged,” says Penny.
Janet Williams from Waikato, has recently received a Zonta Woman of Achievement Award. She is currently a Waikato
Federated Farmers Regional Executive Board representative for RWNZ. She was also a member of the RWNZ Constitutional
Review Taskforce 2014-2015 and is also a Hamilton Life Education Trustee. Janet Williams believes that the RWNZ
organisation needs to be adaptable to embrace the future. “This requires dynamic leadership, professional governance and
effective and appropriate resilient business partnerships.”
Congratulations to all those who were elected and thank you to those who put their names forward as candidates.