Rural Women NZ is a strong, nationwide organisation with a very active local branch.
Next Thursday they have arranged a screening of the award-winning New Zealand documentary, She Shears, at Embassy 3 as a fundraiser for the branch.

"Rural Women started as an offshoot of Federated Farmers years ago," says branch vice-president Carol Teutscher.
"It was started by Mrs Polson, here in Whanganui," says Clare Adkins, current president.
"It has a long history and was initially support for rural women in the community and has grown into an organisation that has become an adviser to the Government, just as Federated Farmers or Beef and Lamb are. Their input is asked for from time to time," says Carol.
"It's the biggest women's organisation in the country," adds Clare, "And it has an ear in Government.

"On a branch level it is still very much about rural women supporting each other."
That support extends to rural children with two annual scholarships to the value of $1000 each through the local branch.
"One is for any student doing a tertiary course that will help in the rural community, so it's broader than just a Hort or Ag course. We also do a boarding school bursary for a rural child that has to board because of distance from secondary education," says Clare.

Rural Women are also involved in fundraising activities throughout the year to assist Associated Country Women of the World through a programme called Pennies for Friendship. Some of the money goes to projects in the Pacific Islands.

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"Locally, we've also raised funds for the defibrillator at Mangamahu School and its ongoing maintenance to keep it certified," says Clare. "We've got courses in February / March for locals to learn CPR and how to operate the defibrillator. Through another fund we have put in an application to help a rural woman with a mobility scooter, which will revolutionise her life. It will be a huge help to her family to have her home and mobile. It's still very much about supporting rural women."

"We try to get a speaker along to most of our monthly meetings," says Carol. "We sometimes go to events as a group."
This month they're going to see the Roger Hall comedy Social Climbers at the Royal Wanganui Opera House. There are also regional and national get-togethers.

"This year we've funded secondary school-aged students — one to Outward Bound, one going overseas to an international sporting competition — that sort of thing: sporting, cultural or academic projects," says Clare.
It seems women in rural locations do a lot of good with very little fanfare.
Rural Women NZ helped to fund the making of She Shears, which is how branches got to use the film as a fundraiser.

"Rural Women head office offered us the opportunity to pick it up and run with it," says Carol. "We went to Gary Vinnell [Embassy 3 manager] and he was willing for us to be the instigators. He has been very helpful."
"We can set up tables and props for nibbles and drinks in the foyer beforehand and they're happy to clear it all away for us," says Clare.

The film follows five women in the New Zealand shearing industry who were either experienced shearers or who are working their way up to become top women shearers.
The shearers are Emily Welsh, Jills Angus Burney, Pagan Karauria, Hazel Wood and Catherine Mullooly, all from different parts of the country with different backgrounds, but all with a passion for shearing.

Rural Women local branch has been spreading the news about the film and its fundraising screening.
Money raised from She Shears has not been eartagged for any particular purpose yet, but Clare says they have a lot of bursary applicants this year and a limited pool from which to distribute funding.
"This is potential to perhaps offer an extra bursary," she says.

She Shears screens on Thursday, November 15 at 7pm at Embassy 3.
Admission is $20 and is limited to pre-purchase ticket holders. It includes pre-screening drinks, nibbles and spot prizes.

To order tickets contact any of the following: Leonora 027 908 5370; Clare 027 918 8001; Carol 027 331 6638; or Embassy 3 on 06 345 7958.

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