THE Women's Network on St Hill Street is a lean operation.

Not just in the "lean in" sense of supporting Whanganui women ... there is one paid employee and the rest of the team volunteer their time and energy.

They provide a wide range of services, working with women of all ages and stages including those moving towards freedom from violence, those looking for counselling, links with other services or connection with inspiring women in their community.

The Women's Network promote and run events that support women' health, rights and aspirations. A number of groups are hosted at the St Hill Street building as the venue for their programmes and, of course, there is the wonderful La Fiesta programme which brings together a variety of people, talents and events across the community.


As an active supporter, I am constantly amazed at what the network does here in Whanganui and the open way they welcome involvement from all, including men.

If women are holding up half the sky, then men must do their bit and bring their energy to the task of keeping the other half up and preventing the sky from falling on us all.

One of the ways people can do that is by becoming a local "Her-O" and joining the Women's Network Wonder Team. This can make you into a Hero, a Super Hero or even an Ultimate Super Hero.

Secretly we all would like to be heroes and have super powers - and, in this instance, no cape, no disguise, no alter-ego is required.

Donate using a Kate Shepherd - that is $10 note (or more) and you become a Her-O. While this does not promise you the instant development of incredible strength and the ability to leap buildings in one bound while wearing a bright red onesie with budget proof cape, it does give additional financial strength to the Women's Network and the benefit of discounts when attending their events.

And then there are Super Heroes. Donating $100 or more allows you to stroll the town knowing you are a Super Hero even if it is not immediately obvious from the confident way you stroll into a network event with your VIP invitation tucked into your cloak of invisibility.

Then there are Ultimate Super Heroes - people with special powers who will have their names noted on the Women's Network Wall of Fame.

Their powers will not be obvious to the casual observer; they may not be able to fly or catch meteorites with their bare hands, but they can change a small part of the world by donating 10 notes with Lord Rutherford on one side and a bird - the mohua (yellowhead) - on the other. (If you can work that out then you probably already have hidden secret powers).

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, genders and ages but the world and Whanganui needs more of them to inspire and support the work of small community agencies such as the Women's Network. You could be one of them - contact for more information.

■Terry Sarten is a writer, musician and social worker - feedback: