Three Western Bay of Plenty women who featured in a book celebrating 125 years of women's suffrage last year will speak at a Women of Action presentation on October 23.

Paralympian Amanda Lowry, former Creative Tauranga chief executive Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell and family violence response co-ordinator Lisa MacKinnon will all speak at the Soroptimist International Tauranga-organised event.

The fourth speaker is UNO magazine editor and co-owner Jenny Rudd.

Event organiser Sandra Johnston says the speakers have each been asked to talk about three subjects currently at the forefront of Soroptimists' work - fresh water, mental health and suffrage.


''We made a decision last year to get involved in a project around water, especially with so much plastic going into the environment and climate change,'' she says.

The aims of the project are twofold - to make sure people have access to fresh water and to reduce the amount of plastic being disposed of by lowering the amount of bottled water being sold.

As well as gathering information, the group wanted to provide a public forum, which it has done with the Women of Action event.

''We are also concerned about mental health and mental well-being and a number of us are involved in that in our professional lives,'' says Sandra.

Members of the Tauranga branch were part of the celebrations of the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage last year, so that is the third theme of Women of Action.

''The tag line for [the celebrations] was 'are we there yet', and, a year later on, we are asking, 'are we better off, have we made any progress in this area?'.

''So those are the questions that we have given to the speakers and asked that they talk to those subjects. Then we'll open it up to anybody who's got any further questions.''

It was the link to the celebrations that also led to the four invitations.


''After brainstorming about how we wanted to go about this, we chose these four women because they had made a difference, and we want to be able to make a difference through the work that we do. Each of these women, in their own right, have overcome all sorts of things to get where they are.''

Soroptimist International New Zealand president Joanne Fannin from Invercargill and president-elect Christine Johnston from Wellington will fly in for the event.

Soroptimist International is a worldwide organisation that supports and advocates for women and girls. It has a seat on the UN.

Jenny Rudd: Co-owner and editor of UNO magazine, she has first hand experience of being a woman in a male-dominated profession from her time as a sports spread betting trader in London. Now settled with her family in Tauranga, she interviews many local women from all walks of life.

Lisa MacKinnon: Family violence response co-ordinator for Tauranga Moana, supporting advising and providing resources and training for agencies working with people experiencing difficulties relating to family violence. From a high-powered job in the UK, serious illness changed her outlook on life and her empathy for others experiencing difficulty.

Amanda Lowry: With a Master's degree in Women's and Gender studies from Waikato University Amanda works with several not for profit organisations in the disability sector. Becoming a tetraplegic after diving off her surfboard at the Mount profoundly affected her life, but she has continued to excel in sport, becoming a member of the Paralympic Development Squad and she hopes to represent New Zealand in Tokyo 2020.

Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell: former chief executive of Creative Tauranga, now banking manager at Heartland Bank, trustee of Tarnished Frocks and Divas, Mauao Performing Arts Centre and TEDx, Tracey led the project that led to the installation of the Hairy Maclarey characters statues on Tauranga's waterfront during her time at Creative Tauranga.

At a glance
WHAT: Women of Action
WHEN: October 23, 7.30pm
WHERE: Pāpāmoa Library and Community Centre
COST: Free