One Question Quiz
Karen Walker, Noelle McCarthy, Parris Goebel,  Rosanna Raymond are winning.
Karen Walker, Noelle McCarthy, Parris Goebel, Rosanna Raymond are winning.

PartnersJuly 21, 2018

‘People would always compare us to the boys. We came out on top.’

Karen Walker, Noelle McCarthy, Parris Goebel,  Rosanna Raymond are winning.
Karen Walker, Noelle McCarthy, Parris Goebel, Rosanna Raymond are winning.

In the second part of the new podcast series Venus Envy, Parris Goebel, Karen Walker and Rosanna Raymond discuss beating the boys, the shoulders they stand on, and haircuts.

It’s been a constant battle against the perception of what women should be, and what they can achieve in comparison to their male counterparts, for globally recognised Kiwis in dancer Parris Goebel, fashion designer Karen Walker, and artist Rosanna Raymond. Goebel told the Spinoff how her all-girl dance crew was never given the same credit as their all male competitors, and would always come second to male dominated groups, in conversation with Noelle McCarthy, as part of a the podcast series in collaboration with the Auckland Museum.

“The year we did that, for me, was just a huge moment. It was the ‘ah-ha’ moment of ‘hey we just beat the boys. We are better than the boys, we’re stronger, we worked harder. We came out on top.’

I love that that powerful feeling of being there on behalf of girls all around the world and that was my first moment of knowing we can make a difference and we can do something for girls through dance. After that competition my intentions were a lot stronger,” says Goebel.

All three women have been judged throughout their careers on their appearance. Often they’ve been referred to as men because of their haircuts.

“Sometimes when I’m travelling I get called sir when someone has to make a really quick decision. If I don’t have lipstick on they have to make a really quick decision. I’ll usually wear a blazer when I travel and people will double-take,” says Walker.

“I was bald since I was eighteen and I only just started growing my hair back two years ago. I really enjoyed my head being bald. I loved it and I would go back to it in a heartbeat. But people were assuming I was lesbian. There are a lot of stereotypes around being a bald woman,” says Goebel.

And hair can have a lot of meaning.

“Especially what sort of hair is allowed,” says Raymond.

Loads on the head and none anywhere else….

Either download (right click to save), have a listen below, subscribe through iTunes (RSS feed) or read on for a transcription of the conversation in full.

Noelle McCarthy: You’ve talked, Parris about putting women in the centre of what you do, the female body and female voice. What inspired that for you?

Parris Goebel: Well I started Request when I was 15, and I think just naturally I wanted to be around girls. Being a young teenager I wasn’t thinking too much about how that would eventually affect my career in all the great ways it did, I was just thinking ‘I want to dance with girls, I want to be with girls, I wanna dance with my friends’. That was my original feeling but the more we competed, the more passionate I became about it.

People would always compare us to the all boy crews and say ‘we’re not as good as them, we’re never going to be as good as them we’re never gonna beat them.’ We would always come second place in the qualifiers and nationals but when we got to worlds we actually ended up taking the gold medal.

The year we did that, for me, was just a huge moment. It was the ‘ah-ha’ moment of ‘hey we just beat the boys. We are better than the boys, we’re stronger, we worked harder. We came out on top.’

I love that that powerful feeling of being there on behalf of girls all around the world and that was my first moment of knowing we can make a difference and we can do something for girls through dance. After that competition my intentions were a lot stronger.

NM: What about you Karen, did you have strong female role models growing up?

Karen Walker: Yeah, I did. All the women in my family are very strong, and it was never overtly said that they were ‘strong women’, but they just were, and in quite different ways. My maternal grandmother was strong in a sort of waspish, almost calvinist ice queen way.

My maternal grandmother, who I never met, was strong in just a badass kind of way, from what I hear. I had these six great Aunts who were my maternal grandfather’s’ sisters all at various ends of the eccentric, slightly bonkers spectrum. My world growing up had a lot of anecdotes about these six very strong women, who were early twentieth century feminists.

They were very strong characters who all made strong feminist statements from making it to the front page of the paper when they wore trousers on Muriwai beach, to stealing their father’s novelty Ford in the 20’s and driving from Auckland down to Ruapehu – which must have taken days. One of them wasn’t invited to my mother’s wedding, because she couldn’t be trusted to behave but she sent a present anyway, this single rubber glove, which to me sounds like a great feminist statement.

So all of the women in my family are very very strong feminist role models.

NM: There’ve been politicians recently who’ve demerged when it comes to using the word feminist, who didn’t want to be identified as feminist. How do you guys feel about the word, about the term, about what it entails to you? Do you identify as feminists?

Rosanna Raymond: I was brought up by 19th century feminists but I saw an extremity in there that I never really identified with. I think it’s through the role of the Wahine Koa and Mana Wahine where I truly found a sense of the strength of womanhood. It had been so erased throughout the Pacific Islands.

I was the only girl out of all of my cousins. We were all brought up by solo parents in the 70’s, and the roles were less defined in our houses. We all lived together so there was no sort of ‘the man does this and the women does that’, there were just things you had to do, so actually a lot of the young men in my family don’t carry a lot of those really binary gendered roles. I hope I’ve passed that down to my son.

NM: Is that a Pacific influence specifically, do you think?

RR: This is on my Pākehā side. I feel grateful that I have both, the strength and the power of highly politicized women and then I also had the aroha, the love and the mana of my Pacific Island grandmother. I think that, by the powers combined it enabled me to find a foothold to express myself as a young woman.

NM: What about you Parris?

PG: I’ve always felt a bit weird with labels in general, even the label of ‘role model’. I feel I am a feminist and I think most women feel that but I do feel, personally, the way that some women go about it, sometimes it does feel a little pressuring or puts men in a negative light, which I don’t like.

I prefer to represent and to be powerful myself to inspire other women, I feel better setting an example than trying to preach about it. That’s how I prefer to live my life.

NM: How do you feel about the #MeToo movement? There’s a heightened sense of potential conflict on the one hand, but also momentum being generated.

Women are marching in the streets, women are coming together, women are signing petitions, women are embracing a collective energy. Where’s it gonna go?

KW: Bring it on, first of all. It’s been astonishing to have watched that movement over the last several years. It’s been powerful and it’s been successful and it’s been completely game changing.

The tricky thing with movements is always how to make them live beyond some graphic on a t-shirt. That’s the challenge in front of all of us; how to keep it real and not have it turn into some marketing slogan and then fizzle out.

NM: A lot of it is white middle-class women as well, isn’t it? There’s a noise being generated and there are op-eds being written in magazines…

KW: All big revolutions have to start at an intellectual level. There has to be somebody who formulates an idea, an organised message and gets it going. And traditionally, that is at an intellectual level before it actually gets down and dirty and gets going.

RR: There’s the first wave of feminism and then the second wave of feminist movements that were very much centred in a white middle-class experience. It still enabled the voice of the marginalized or maybe the more indigenous communities to be written out of the very histories that they’re meant to be fighting for.

Now we get words like intersectional feminism which part of me revolts against. I’ve just been doing a workshop with the Auckland museum staff looking at what intersectional feminism is inside the workplace. What was interesting for us, is when we really broke it down to the essence of what it was to be or practice intersectionalism, we came down to manaakitanga.

To how you bring people together, how you look after them inside a space, how you ensure that their mana, all peoples mana, is taken care of and looked after. Manaaki – to give mana to all sections. By the end of that a lot of people were a lot more comfortable with the term ‘Manaakitanga’, rather than intersectionalising their practice inside the workspace.

NM: Which does sound a little bit scary when you put it like that.

RR: It does, it does sound a little bit scary but I think what Karen said before, the revolution has to start somewhere. We’re standing on some strong shoulders but some of these voices and who they’re excluding within the feminist movement have been really problematic. You look at some of the first wave feminists and they excluded and are still excluding transgender women. They’re still making it a very binary pathway. It’s still ‘them’ and ‘us’.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of how we make sure that we don’t exclude our men, because the men have to be part of this movement otherwise it still ends up being them and us.

NM: That’s a really interesting point. Have you all found that this moment lends itself to difficult conversations with the men in your lives? Have you had the sorts of conversations you might not have had previously?

KW: All the men in my life agree with me.

RR: I was just going to say I’ve had no trouble with the men in my life, what are you talking about!

NM: I tell them exactly what to think and they listen.

Can we talk about women in power? Strong, successful women who make a lot of decisions. Do you think there’s a different standard applied to women and men in those powerful positions?

PG: I’ve always felt a leadership role within me at a young age. I feel really blessed to be able to live within that purpose at twenty-six. But I don’t think I’ve really come across a situation where I feel like I’ve had to stand my ground as a woman. I think within dance I’ve made my mark and I’ve earned my respect so when I’m doing my job I feel respected.

I think that’s something quite special that I’ve experienced. I’ve never really had to get myself out of a sticky situation – especially with other men in entertainment. I think that’s all comes down to how I’ve handled myself and the reputation that I’ve created for myself within the industry.

It’s pure proof that any woman can do it as long as you stand your ground and you enter with confidence. From my first job till now I’ve had the exact same standards and expectations of myself and how I think I should respect others and how others should respect me back. I was taught that by my dad and having that from the get-go helped me soar and get the respect I deserve.

NM: It’s interesting to isn’t it that when you’re working with people who are at the top of their game, respect tends to float.

PG: Absolutely. I’ve had this conversation a lot of times but there’s something that us Kiwis have that’s really special from what I’ve experienced. We have this genuineness and a way with people that is just from our heart. When I work with celebrities and these world-renown artists, they recognise that. They recognise the honesty. We’re just… real.

RR: We’re straight to the point. Pragmatic.

PG: We’re real and we say what we think and what we feel. We don’t care who you are, and I think that’s recognised and people resonate with that.

KW: I worked with Parris and first time we met Parris had agreed to do a video with us for our eyewear. It was just a little two-minute-long clip with Parris going for it with our glasses on and it was all Barnaby Roper style so lots of like crazy, choppy stuff. That was the first time we’d met. I came into the gig with an expectation around Parris’s ability and skill and with a great respect for you.

After eight hours on set I came out of it thinking, ‘who is this woman?’ She is the real deal, and just brings her A game. The standards are extraordinary and I’ve worked with a lot of great people.

PG: Thank you Karen.

KW: And that’s why you get that respect because you recognise, ‘uhh, no that’s not good enough let’s do it again’ and you make it better.

NM: Age is no barrier here, I mean Parris, you mentioned you’re twenty-six. Historically young women have been told ‘you’re too young’ or ‘you’re too inexperienced’. We’ve had our Prime Minister be criticized for being a ‘young girl’ and a ‘young woman’. Why is that an insult in our culture, to talk like a young girl or to act like a young girl?

KW: I think the creative fields are less driven by that than many other fields. It’s probably not a coincidence that all of us came into our fields young. We were all 16/17 when we started getting into our businesses.

NM: What was it like for you?

KW: Probably a lot more open than other fields.

NM: Fashion, I suppose, is historically more open to the image of strong women and that ideal of strong women but starting off in NZ in the late 80s, what was it like?

KW: NZ in the late eighties was coming out of the end of protectionism, for a start, so you couldn’t even buy a Levi’s trucker jacket, I mean it’s astonishing…

NM: Or a latté.

KW: Or a latté, exactly. I remember when the first espresso machine opened in Vulcan Lane. It was very restricted. It had just come out of a state of 30 to 40 years of protectionism so there were few people who could import things into the country.

We came into it at a time where the dollar had floated and import licenses were put aside thanks to Rogernomics. The old guard was in freefall and the new guard, Rosanna and me – our generation, we came along going, ‘what do we make out of this brand-new landscape?’

We came in on the back of an economic revolution, you came in on the back of a digital revolution. When that happens, when there is a revolution, there’s blood. There’s blood all over the place and the new ones coming in are the ones who benefit from that.

It was a very interesting time to be a name in fashion and I was very fortunate to come into it at that time.

NM: Would you have been seeing a lot of women? A lot of women in business, a lot of women on boards?

KW: Back in those days I don’t know. I wouldn’t have a clue; wouldn’t have a clue now. I certainly didn’t come into the business to be in the business. I had no interest in the fashion business, I just wanted to make great ideas. I couldn’t get a levis trucker jacket so I thought ‘I need to make it myself.’

I was 18, I couldn’t get the stuff I wanted to wear and every generation wants to make their own mark. I didn’t wanna wear the crap that was in the stores.

NM: Is that true for you as well Rosanna, in terms of what you were seeing and what you wanted to make?

RR: Yeah, being on the other side of the camera I had a really different experience through the fashion industry. When, at 19, I was told I was too old, size was always an issue. Back then in the eighties though, you could still be a size twelve model, internationally and not. Now, that would be plus size. That was off the back of the 80s when ‘beauty’ was still big strong powerful bodies.

KW: It was Amazonian.

RR: It was part of the Amazonian range, so when I fell out of fashion, when it started to go towards the more Kate Moss types, body shapes got relegated to a very hard fought for space.

I have a lot more fraught relationship with the fashion industry, and being cast in the ‘dark,’ ‘exotic’ roles, that’s when I really realized the implicit racism and sexism that plays out in mainstream media in Aotearoa.

I travelled in Europe, lived in Europe and came back. There was a big wave of people like me who’d come back from the 80s and being in Europe and were getting a lot more connected with a sense of our space in the global universe.

But for somebody like myself who is also looking to where I stood in my own identity politics, in terms of my cultural values, I saw something was missing when there were three brown models and I was one of them. I’m not that brown eh girl?

NM: Do you mean in the whole industry?

RR: Pretty much. As far as I was concerned, that wasn’t enough. That was a cool time for magazines, Planet Magazine was bubbling up, Stamp Magazine. So, there was a lot more ‘underground’ culture back in Aotearoa then. There were a lot of young people like myself, and this is where I actually met the Pacific sisters, in the night clubs, on the dance floors. We didn’t meet in churches.

But we were still the marginalized kids, we were the other. We were NZ born. We didn’t feel comfortable within our specifically Pacific Island or Maori space. We were urban, we’d maybe lost our language.So we were reforming and creating spaces where we felt comfortable.

I bumped into some incredible women – Ani O’Neill, Niwhai Tupaea, Suzanne Tamaki, Lisa Reihana. We were young women and two of us became quite young mothers. We really were sisters – they’ve all wiped my kid’s arses. We’ve all looked after each other’s children, we fought like sisters, we made up like sisters and that relationship has been a 30-year-old relationship that is still going strong.

But we needed that collective power and the fashion industry was something that I was privy to. I didn’t quite get along with it that much but it was through the fashion industry that we made our stand in terms of our own activism. Who says you can’t be a good activist if you like frocks.

Rosanna Raymond, wearing a Tuvalu floral headdress, welcomes the Duchess of Cornwall to New Zealand (Photo: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

NM: Frocks can be activism.

RR: Frocks can be activism and that was the Pacific Sisters. It was something that we were dissed for by a lot of our maybe more ‘hardline’ activists, usually males. It was like we weren’t as hardcore as them because we dealt with fashion. But for us fashion was and is a fantastic way, an everyday way that you can make a statement.

We merged the fashion with our culture and we created something that meant something to us. People like Karen, people like Workshop and World were all part of being generous and giving us clothing to go do our crazy things with and it was really exciting.

Then I disappeared off for a while and I’ve come back and there’s a whole new wave of these young bucks that are going completely global. As you said, Parris, in Aotearoa we make a special breed.

NM: You are global, Parris. As a digital native you’ve come into the movement, as Karen mentioned. Does that mean you’re limitless in a different way? Having the access to YouTube, to clips, to a global audience, has that always been a part of your outlook as a performer and a producer?

PG: YouTube wasn’t really happening until I was, 16-17. Before then I was looking at MTV, trying to learn dance moves off the video clips. Recording on tape, playing it back.

So I still have that upbringing of not really knowing what’s out there. I still think about that and how it affected me in a really good way.

Being unaware of what Hollywood is like and now with social media, everyone knows what every country is like. You see people from all over the world, you see different jobs through social media I didn’t have that all the way up to maybe 16 which I think was really good. I just did what I thought was cool. I wore what I thought was cool.

NM: Who were your style and image role models as a young girl?

PG: As artists I really loved Missy Elliot growing up. I think she inspired me a lot as a dancer. I watch her interviews all the time, and she was this overweight rapper among all the female rappers who were in shape, hot and wearing bikinis with baggy jeans. She came in and just did her thing. One of her video clips she was in a massive garbage bag right?

RR: Yeah, the blow up one.

PG: Yeah, the blow up one! She just came in way left, super out of the box and she did it on purpose. She knew no one was gonna do what she was doing. Even the way she wrote her music was different. She inspired me a lot. She doesn’t look like the rest of them, she doesn’t sound like the rest of them and yet she’s blowing up all over the world.

Everyone wants to be friends with Missy, and I thought ‘I can take that exact same approach but through dance.’

NM: You work with much younger teenagers and young girls now. What are they loving? What do they want to emulate, besides Parris?

PG: I think the teenage girls of our generation are looking at the Kylie Jenners and the Kardashians and I personally have nothing against them. They’ve made millions out of nothing. They don’t have any talent to go off but they’ve made these huge empires, but I am noticing young girls looking at them thinking, ‘that’s what I wanna be’.

I’m not dogging them, but I think that’s what our teenage girls are idolizing. Which is a lot different to what I was idolizing but it’s just a reflection of the way the world is with technology now. Image is everything and your following is everything and that’s what they wanna be.

NM: How much do you guys see that as changing women’s relationship with our own image, our own self-image?

Whether it’s our hair or our makeup or our bodies or our clothes, the rise of Instagram and the rise of influencers and that potential to make a lot of money from it and to have a big audience from it. How do you think that’s changing how we look and how we want to look?

KW: The other night I was thinking, ‘I’m not gonna comment on other people’s take on sexiness because everybody can do their own version of it,’ and my comments in the privacy of my own car when I’m sitting at the traffic lights on Ponsonby road talking about it are for my daughters benefit. I’m trying to block the brainwashing that is coming towards my ten-year-old.

But I’ve been thinking for a long time about the conversation around unrealistic body images, etc. generated by the fashion media and fashion. A lot of it points to fashion as the bad guy. Fashion probably is the bad guy here – but only to a certain extent. Fashion media has so little power to what it did ten years ago, 20 years ago, but you still see those images. Those unrealistic, unattainable ideas of what sexy, or fashion, or whatever is desirable looks like are coming at us now through social media.

I look at those and think ‘God, that’s just as bad as anything that used to be in the fashion magazines, 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago’ but that’s coming from an individual, not from an evil empire called ‘fashion’. In some ways it is even more dangerous because it’s showing an edited version of some twisted version of what perfection is; that really gets under the skin of people.

NM: As someone who uses your body as a sight of artistic practice Rosanna, what do you think?

RR: The whole digital age has enabled a lot of people. There is an Instagram page for everyone. I think on that level you have a lot more autonomy and agency over any image that you particularly want to offer to the world.

Personally in terms of using the body, I think that came from my own way of unpacking my time with the fashion industry – especially as an ageing woman. I remember my incredibly vivacious fifty-year-old aunty telling me about being invisible. I was really looking at her, a very loud, incredibly beautiful woman, and I remember going, ‘oh that’s impossible, how on earth could you be invisible’. About the same age I suddenly started to experience the same thing. This sense of being invisible.

It’s quite interesting because in terms of my performative side, when I use the body as a sight, I’m putting it up so that’s it’s not invisible and it becomes quite challenging. People’s attitudes to the body and what constitutes nudity has always intrigued me. Within the Pacific culture in terms of Tatau, a fully Tatau body is considered fully clothed so as far as I’m concerned, it’s impossible for me to be naked. For a long time I always heard, ‘oh yeah, she always does that stuff naked,’ but I’ve always got something on.

I always get that ‘oh you’re so brave Rosanna’ and that makes me laugh. Why? Because I’m not a size ten and these breasts have obviously been suckled and there’s lots of soft bits that you can see moving around, is that why I’m brave?

It intrigues me that bravery is still based on ‘what is an ideal body that you should show in public’ versus what really exists in the public.

Akashi Fisi’inaua and Rosanna Raymond (Photo: Supplied)

KW: I even got that when I cut my hair short. People going ‘oh, you’re so brave.’ Are you out of your mind?

NM: What did people say to you when you shaved your head Parris?

PG: I was bald since I was eighteen and I only just started growing my hair back two years ago. I really enjoyed my head being bald. I loved it and I would go back to it in a heartbeat. But people were assuming I was lesbian. There are a lot of stereotypes around being a bald woman.

NM: Hair’s a funny one though in terms of a signifier of femininity, in terms of female stereotypes.

RR: Especially what sort of hair is allowed.

NM: Loads on the head and none anywhere else basically.

Are you treated differently when you have short hair as opposed to long hair, Karen?

KW: Sometimes when I’m travelling I get called sir when someone has to make a really quick decision.

PG: I’ve definitely experienced that.

KW: If I don’t have lipstick on they have to make a really quick decision. I’ll usually wear a blazer when I travel and people will double-take.

RR: Oh, I get that and I have long hair.

NM: What about sexiness in your work Parris because it’s the body, it’s physical but there’s so much strength. How do you think about sexiness, female sexiness?

PG: The tough thing for me being a very expressive young woman, I grew up in a very religious family so I felt like it took a long time for me to have the courage to express myself and not worry about what the world thinks, what my family thinks.

That was a whole journey in itself. When I really found my voice, listening to myself as a woman, I found my work got stronger and I’ve always believed in that. I’ve just believed in doing what I feel is right.

When the music plays I feel it and I can’t control what my body does, it’s a reaction, it’s the way I feel and it’s me expressing myself. I’m not thinking, ‘what’s gonna be hot, what’s going to get views?,’ that’s like the last thing on my mind. So it’s actually quite beautiful to see that what I’ve just felt through my career has ended up being a global sensation.

NM: Being the thing that people want.

RR: It’s pretty sexy.

Parris: But that’s just it. I’m really not thinking ‘what’s sexy?’ I just feel and I just move and if it’s hot to other people then that’s great but to me it’s just the way I feel. That’s always been quite hard to explain to people.

If you see it as sexual then that’s okay. I love that about being a woman, that I can be strong, I can be sexy, I can be masculine if I want; there’s so many different things within my personality as a dancer that I can reveal and that’s what’s fun for me. But what’s always hard is to explain that it’s always just from an honest place and an expressive place.

NM: One of the things that sparked this exhibition at the museum is the 125th anniversary of Kate Shepherd securing votes for women. You think back to 125 years ago, NZ was a world leader, nobody else in the whole world was doing it.

The three of you are so interesting because you’re in conversation with NZ culture but you’re also personally invested in taking it out to the rest of the world. You’re engaged in that global sense. Where do you think NZ is at in terms of being a world leader in that way? Are we still trail blazers here in this part of the world or is there more that needs to change in order to keep being at the forefront of conversation?

RR: There’s still lots of work to be done in terms of pay equity. There’s still a lot of work to be done to acknowledge the unpaid hours that many women put into the community and into their families. There’s still a lot of work to be done on the violence that’s perpetuated to women and young people in Aotearoa, so we can’t take our foot off the pedal. There’s still much that needs to be unpacked.

But there’s still so much goodness and for myself personally, I found it deep within the heart of the moana, with the mana of the wahine and the mana of our culture. Even though it’s still placed in a real minority based environment it has enabled me to navigate a global path with my head held high because I have been able to draw upon the great wealth of my cultural heritage.

Unfortunately we’re not the norm, the three of us sitting around the table. We are the ones that have possibly stuck our heads up a little bit higher, pushed it a little bit further, worked a little bit harder. ‘Are we there yet?’ I think the question mark is still needed.

NM: What do you think Parris?

PG: I can only really speak on more the performing arts side, opportunity wise for our young girls. There’s a few things that come to mind when I think about the future of our young women in NZ. I’ve just started an organisation with my sisters called ‘Sisters United’ and we focus on building self-esteem in young Maori and Pacific Island girls throughout schools. We do programmes through creative arts to help them build their voices because a lot of them are shy, a lot of our Maori and Pacific Island girls are very shy.

They can barely have a conversation with a stranger and speak about where they’re from. I think that alone is a struggle and with our organisation we’re just finding that support. A lot of people congratulate us on what we’re doing but there are not many people just reaching out when it comes to funding and all those types of things.

That’s the main thing I feel like is lacking from what I’m seeing. I see such potential in our young girls, a huge potential, and that grows through giving them the support and the voice to make our country better. To make our future a lot better.

NM: Confidence is a game changer isn’t it, having that confidence to be able to look someone in the eye, even. It’s that simple.

PG: Having the confidence to say your dreams. To stand up and say hey, I’m Parris Goebel and one day I want to be a professional dancer. There’s a lot of kids I come across in our studio and in our organisation who find it hard; and that’s also a part of our Kiwi way. We like to stay humble and that is something we’re working on with our youth.

KW: The thing I’m proudest of as a New Zealander is our record with women’s suffrage and our honesty. Women’s suffrage is something I’m deeply proud of. Are we there yet? Well, clearly not. There are plenty of statistics beyond the border and the wage packet that will back that up.

I think that it’s a completely valid question and one we have an obligation to ask ourselves and act on every single day. Looking at my daughter, who’s ten, there are so many more female role models for her now than I could list from when I was ten. I probably couldn’t give you more than five from when I was ten.

NM: Who did you have? Do you remember?

KW: Rachel Hunter won Miss Universe…. There wasn’t that much. Now there’s just millions of great role models so that’s good!

RR: The prime minister…

KW: Rachel Hunter didn’t win miss universe, that was Lorraine Downes!

Someone should’ve corrected me, Rachel Hunter ate a trumpet and Lorraine Downes won Miss Universe so, well, that was the 80s.

This content is brought to you by the Auckland Museum. On now, Are We There Yet? Women and Equality in Aotearoa celebrates the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa – but asks how far has New Zealand really come since women gained the vote? On display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum until Wednesday 31 October.

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