The New Zealand Federation of Business & Professional Women
BPW NZ was formed in 1939, initially as an offshoot of the YWCA organisation. The initial focus of the NZ Federation was with regard to the war, and food parcels were sent to Britain. But at the same time a plan of study was outlined on the “Status of Women”. Projects were also undertaken, and in the first decade these included:
A survey of the status of domestic work and workers
and in 1941, a series of lectures was arranged on “the Social Aspects of Sex”.
Soon after the war, in 1946, when the Federation was composed of 10 Clubs and was becoming recognised as a nationally organised society, it separated from the YWCA. Some ten years later membership had increased to 940 in 19 Clubs. This steady growth continued so that, when the Federation celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1989, membership totalled nearly 2000 in 45 Clubs located throughout New Zealand. In 1991 the Federation adopted a new Constitution and became registered as an Incorporated Society.
The Federation maintains a close affiliation with the International Federation. Delegates and observers have regularly attended Congress and Board Meetings, members have served on Standing Committees and four have been elected to international office. In 1985 the XVIIth Congress was held in Auckland – the first Congress in Australasia.