Dunedin South Women's Branch has been joined by another new branch of the Labour Party in the Dunedin South electorate. The branch was officially launched last week at a very pleasant social occasion.
Pictured above is Lauren Hourigan, Chairperson of the new branch, addressing the gathered members and supporters. Lauren is accompanied by her young niece (who was taking a break from playing with the red Labour Party balloons), and she is flanked by electorate MP Clare Curran.
Two other Labour MPs attended the launch and also gave brief speeches to encourage and congratulate the new branch: Moana Mackey, spokesperson for Housing, and Chris Hipkins, member for Rimutaka and spokesperson for Sport and Recreation.
Lauren Hourigan with Moana Mackey MP, a former president of New Zealand Young Labour.
Members of Dunedin's Young Labour branches were out on the streets recently to protest the National Party's proposed attacks on the rights of unions and workers.
"We are a group of like minded young people who have a firm belief in social justice and in a strong community. We are passionate advocates not only for youth but for issues that affect South Dunedin."
The DSWB recently enjoyed a visit from a fellow Labour Party activist, whose name, by the way, is Rose!
Rose met some of our members when they attended the Labour Women's Leadership Conference in Wellington earlier this year. It sounds like it was an inspiring and an energising experience for all who attended.
After our AGM last night Dame Dorothy Fraser spoke at length to the gathered women. She'd been asked to talk about why she was in the Labour Party, and she chose to share with us her very early history of an impoverished childhood, of growing up in a poor rural settlement during the great Depression, and of how she imbibed Labour values from her parents, who held the local Labour Party meetings in their own home.
It was moving to hear of the jubilation she remembered when the first Labour Government was elected in 1935. Even as a child she had the sense of a new world era arriving, as the new social policies were rolled out by Micky Joseph Savage's government.
She told us a remarkable and enlightening story of her growth into the legendary figure she is today. We didn't want her to stop. Dorothy tells a great anecdote, and because all her life she has been right at the centre of the Labour Party, and for so many years was deeply involved in local body and hospital board politics, it is worth listening to what she has to say.
In thanking Dorothy after her talk, unionist Glenda Alexander recalled from her own childhood, that her Mum - a hospital laundry worker - had held up the example of Dorothy Fraser to her own daughters as an inspiring role model of what a woman could achieve if she had a battling spirit and high ideals.
Dunedin South Women's Branch held our AGM last night. Some new officers were elected and former officers were thanked warmly for their tremendous effort which has led to such a successful year for our branch in terms of fundraising, networking, adding new members, planning activities, encouraging activism, and supporting our MP.
2010 is upon us, a new decade of a new century, and the women of the Dunedin South Women's Branch of the Labour Party, are in fine fettle. Champing at the bit.
Last evening we had the first meeting of the year of the provisional "executive" group - it was a planning meeting designed to do the "boring" nuts and bolts stuff to leave the regular meetings free for the branch as a whole to get our teeth into some content and action. The aim is to leave the first Monday of the month (our regular meeting spot) relatively bang-the-gavel and "all those in favour say aye" free. (Not that Helen has got her gavel, yet ;-) ! )
Are we the newest branch of the Party? Maybe not - although we are pretty new, at just over a year in operation - but we're most likely one of the fastest growing branches, and we're joining up new friends all the time. Last year was busy - so busy for some of us, this blog didn't really reflect all the activity and successful fundraising that was going on. Hopefully we can soon catch you up with some news items and photos from last year and a few advance notices of some of the events in store when the year gets into gear.
The fundraising and the action and the socialising will continue. First meeting of the wider branch for the year will be on Monday February 1st at 7 pm at Dunedin South's Bill Fraser Lounge, 68 Macandrew Road, South Dunedin.