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New Zealand Federation of University Women, Auckland Branch further records.

Identifier: MSS Archives-2011/01

Scope and Contents

The papers in this collection cover the period 1922 to 2000 with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1950s to the mid 1990s. The collection includes minutes, correspondence, annual reports and other administrative papers, clippings, biographical notes, publications, conference papers, photographs and oral histories. While most of the papers relate to the activities of the Auckland Branch, there are also papers which reflect the Branch’s relationship with other NZFUW branches and the IFUW.

The records which make up this collection were donated to the University of Auckland in 2000 and in 2002. They are part of a larger body of archival material collected over time by the Auckland Branch including a Memorial Book, MSS & Archives E-21, which was entrusted to the University Library for safe keeping in 1959, and a smaller collection of records MSS & Archives A-279 donated to the University in 1984. The material in this collection overlaps chronologically with the records in MSS & Archives A-279 and interested researchers should consult both collections.

For many years the Auckland Branch Executive Committee included the position of Branch Archivist. The Archivist was responsible for the care of the Branch archives and producing collated copies of meeting minutes, and annual reports. The Archivist also collected booklets, publications and newspaper clippings to document the history of the Branch.

Much of the material collected by the Archivist came from individual Branch members. As such, the collection embodies the role of individual members’ in the Federation as much as it is an official record of the organisation’s activities.

At times the wealth of material collected by the Branch archivist was difficult to arrange neatly into discrete series. Furthermore, the fact that different Branch members had provided the archivist with similar material meant the unsorted collection often included duplicate material. In some cases it these duplicates were disposed of but in other cases it was more appropriate to retain the duplicate material and record the name of member who had donated the material recorded in the item title.


  • 1922 - 2000


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted.

Administrative History

The New Zealand Federation of University Women (NZFUW) was founded in the early 1920s and was affiliated with the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) at the Second IFUW Conference held in Paris in 1922. The Auckland Branch of the NZFUW held its first meeting in November 1920 (item 11/29) where it elected its first committee comprising Miss Winifred Picken, Mrs Eastman, Dr Hilda Northcroft, Miss C.F. Hull and Miss C. Eldridge.

Although the aims of the NZFUW have been stated in various ways since the 1920s the following statement from 1996 provides a useful overview of the organisations objectives:

To promote understanding and co-operation among university women resident in New Zealand.

To promote and act for university women in matters in which they as an organisation are interested.

To encourage research work by university women.

To promote through affiliation with the International Federation of University Women world understanding and friendship among the university women of the world irrespective of their race, religion or political opinions and thereby to further their interests and develop among their countries sympathy and mutual helpfulness.

To encourage the full application of the knowledge and skills of university women to the problems which arise at all levels of public life whether national, regional or world–wide, and to encourage their participation in the solving of these problems.

From its formation the New Zealand Federation adopted a scheme whereby each of the local branches in turn became the Dominion or National Office of the NZFUW for a term of three years. At the end of their term the National Executive would host the Federation’s triennial conference where their duties would be handed on to the next branch. The Auckland Branch was responsible for the Dominion or National Office in the following years: 1925-1929, 1939-1943, 1953–1956, 1964-1967, 1979-1982 and in conjunction with the North Shore Branch from 1997 - 2000.

During the first thirty years of its existence the Auckland Branch grew rapidly, with membership reaching 300 in the early 1950s. Branch activities included regular meetings, some with speakers and others of a more social nature, an annual dinner and party for new women graduates. In addition, Branch members provided hospitality to visiting IFWU members, academics and international students. For many years the Branch also organised an annual garden party and produced Christmas cards and calendars to raise funds for specific projects, such as the building of Grafton Hall or the establishment of the NZFUW fellowship fund.

From the 1950s the Branch had an active Public Affairs Committee (PAC) which was responsible for organising regular discussion or study groups, writing letters and developing submissions in response to proposed Government policies. The PAC also ensured that resolutions made at triennial conferences were acting upon, organised public seminars and contributed to relevant local FUW projects. Key areas of concern, for the PAC, included education, human rights, environmental issues and the economy while also acting as keen advocates for the welfare of women and girls.

In 1951 the Branch started an academic dress hire service. The service which began with members hiring out their own gowns and hoods proved popular and by 1990 had a stock of some 800 gowns and managed over two thousand separate bookings a year. The money raised by this service allowed the Branch to fund scholarships for women undertaking tertiary education and support local charities and community projects. In May 1990 a charitable trust was established to manage the hire service and administer the funds it created.

Unfortunately from the 1980s onwards as membership numbers declined and the average age of members increased, the Auckland Branch became less active. Such problems were not confined to the Auckland Branch and in a bid to attract new members; the Federation changed its name to The New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (NZFGW) in 2001. Despite this and other attempts to increase membership, the Auckland Branch ceased to operate in May 2009. Awards previously made by the Auckland Branch Charitable Trust are now administered by the Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust which also manages the still flourishing academic dress hire service.


12.5 metres (25 boxes)

Language of Materials



In off-site storage. Expect delay of 12-24 hours from time of order. Outsize items in Box 1 stored on-site.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The core of this collection was donated by the Auckland Branch in June 2002. This collection also incorporates an earlier donation of material received from Margaret Gapes, Branch archivist in August 2000.

Related Materials

MSS & Archives E-21 New Zealand Federation of New Zealand Women. Auckland Branch. Memorial book. MSS & Archives A-279 New Zealand Federation of University Women. Auckland Branch. Records, 1920 – 2000. MSS & Archives 2003/5 Winstone, Dorothy Gertrude, Dame. Papers, 1927 – 2002.


  • Macdonald, W. (Winifred Macdonald), Footprints of Kate Edgar: a history of the New Zealand Federation of University Women, 1921 – 1981. Auckland: New Zealand Federation of University Women, 1982.
  • New Zealand Federation of University Women, Auckland Branch history, 1920 – 1970. Written and published by the New Zealand Federation of University Women. Auckland: Auckland Branch, 1971.
  • New Zealand Federation of university Women (Inc.): Auckland Branch history, 1981 – 1991 inclusive – with a foreword by Dame Catherine Tizard; compiled and edited by Margaret A. Gapes. Auckland: 1994.
  • Crocker, O.R. (Olive Rita) Federation of University Women, from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A.H. McLintock, originally published 1966. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
Inventory of the further records of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Federation of University Women, 1922-2000.
Katherine Pawley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand