Sisterhood to Nationhood: Nurturing Unity for Aotearoa New Zealand 

Embracing difference and focusing on common ground is vital for the future of our nation. 

The diverse and storied women who make up Global Women’s membership come from different backgrounds, sectors, and value systems. These women share a united purpose, as leaders, role-models, and advocates for gender equity across the country.  

In the lead up to our annual Members’ Hui this May at Waitangi, we have captured some of the inspiring kōrero that is emerging around this year’s theme: Aotearoa New Zealand 2040, Reimagined by Wāhine. The recurring ideas shared by members from different walks of life offer insight into how these women leaders can nurture a unified Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Arising from our members’ diverse perspectives is a shared understanding that, to grow unity, the differences of our communities need to be honoured and celebrated. Our nation is already home to many varied and expansive cultures and communities, and the diversity of our population is continuing to blossom. This can only be a good thing — rich, dynamic communities offer up a wealth of different perspectives and ideas, enabling us to learn from one another and grow as a collective.  

The key lies in not only celebrating and honouring differences, but in amplifying and elevating them.  

Engaging in open, honest conversations with people from different walks of life is essential. We need to nurture heartfelt connection between our communities, from the most privileged to the most marginalised. It is only through bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives that we can begin to understand and appreciate our differences.  

Authentic, effective steps towards unity will only work if everyone has a seat at the table. When we leave people out, communities become disconnected from one another. There is a longstanding history of disconnection between groups of different backgrounds, with ongoing systemic inequities leading to feelings of distrust and fear. Creating a space where everyone can contribute to the conversation can help break down these barriers.  

Having open dialogues and amplifying underrepresented voices can broaden our perspectives and further understanding, while promoting equity.  

A part of understanding one another comes from learning and embracing our past. There is a pressing need for the history of Aotearoa New Zealand and the meaning of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to be taught and understood, across all of our communities. Understanding our shared histories is relevant to every New Zealander, forming an essential part of our collective identity.  

If we deepen our understanding of the different communities and the shared histories of Aotearoa New Zealand, we can work together to build equity, understanding, and unity. It is through understanding and embracing diversity that we can navigate our differences, expand our horizons, and nurture a unified nationhood — one built on mutual respect and understanding.