Saturday, May 25, 2024

A special day to celebrate women

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All smiles, from left, Sue Miller (Zonta member), Kinaua Ewels (guest speaker), Natasha Astill (award recipient) and Barbara Astill (Zonta member).

By Robyn Fox

To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8), the Zonta Club of East Auckland awarded Natasha Astill a floral tribute of yellow roses in recognition of her ongoing commitment to serving her community.

Members were humbled to hear how this amazing young women contributes so much to making the world of the neuro-diverse less challenging and to assist them in having a voice.

Natasha [Tash] is a young woman in our community who has Fetal Valproate Syndrome which resulted from her mum, Denise, taking Epilim for her Epilepsy during pregnancy. This was at a time when a lot less was known about the effect of anti-convulsant medication on unborn babies. As a result, Natasha suffers from a number of physical and neurological disabilities.

Tash attended Pakuranga College and works part time for Will & Able. However, her passion is as an advocate for disabled youth. She has formed a Disabled Youth Forum and is in conversations with MBIE regarding pathways to employment for young people with disabilities. She has addressed the Parliamentary Select Committee hearing on the Plain Language Bill, made submissions on the Public Accessibility Bill and is currently working on her address to the Auckland Council on the changes to the District Plan with reference to suitable Disabled Parking around public transport hubs.

Members of Zonta Club of East Auckland, Jo Pinker and Eleanor Moonie.

She has also met with Pharmac to discuss the impact of changes of brands of medication without consultation. Although not yet confined to a mobility scooter, she has her bright red “Speedy T” which she uses, and has a social media platform called Wheelie Fun Adventures showcasing her adventures in her cute means of transport.

To further celebrate this special day, members and guests enjoyed an address by Kinaua Bauriri Ewels of Maraetai who was recently awarded a QSM for her services to the Kiribati community. They learned how Kinaua has been supporting Kiribati community since she migrated New Zealand.

She published her first children’s educational book in 2007 to give an opportunity for children to be able to converse in both English and Kiribati. She has continued to contribute to the Kiribati community in a range of ways and was the primary lead and project manager for the New Zealand Kiribati National Council to organise the Kiribati Language events.

In addition, Kinaua was active in her role of community leader to advocate for higher vaccination results in the Pacific Community.

A further recognition of the significance of International Women’s Day was the random distribution of yellow roses to women in Howick Village. A yellow rose is the symbol of Zonta International.

While it was a small gesture, the roses were was much appreciated by recipients.

We thank Karen of Avenrose Florist for her on-going support of our club in advocating for women and girls.

  • Robyn Fox is the publicity officer for the Zonta Club of East Auckland


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