13 Mar 2023
Nearly 130 women gathered in stunning Lower Shotover to celebrate International Women's Day
Hash brownies, delicious Valli wine, drop dead views of the Remarkables and the Shotover River...if you wondered what all the noise was about in the Wakatipu Basin was on Wednesday evening, it was just a huge gathering of happy, chatty women getting together to celebrate International Women's Day. The Wakatipu IMPACT100 team had organised the event and real estate superwhizz Jo Eddington at Sothebys had persuaded the generous owners to lend their ultramodern house full of contemporary art as a venue.
We women are pretty good at talking to each other but for a change, we did some very interested listening Julia Streou is a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero award medalist, a poet and podcast host as well as running the Addicted to Media agency. Her life has not at all been easy - she was bought up in a hovel in Nimbin, near Byron Bay - most famous for being Australia's alternative lifestyle capital. One day, while her father was out demonstrating waving placards at some demonstration or other, hungry 7 year old Julia was delighted to find a tin of chocolate brownies which she shared with her little friends.
It seems very wrong to laugh about children totally stoned on hash, but Julia has a VERY good way with words. Although her upbringing was so impoverished, she did have a mother who believed in education and reading was a brilliant escape from the weirdness of her life. I couldn't believe she would still be laughing after she talked about the metal in her jaw, courtesy of her violent ex. She's gone on to set up a fundraiser for women's refuge and won awards for her work, Shes a seriously talented speaker and a passionate believer in women empowering each other which is what IMPACT100 is all about.
Kaye Parker knows a thing or two about empowerment as well. Jennifer Belmont is nuts about philanthropy and is the person who set up the Wakatipu Community Foundation soon after she arrived in Queenstown. At the first big event, Kaye told Jennifer shed be speaking at it. "I'm a back of house person' , said Jennifer "No, you're not - you're the face of the whole thing', said Kaye. And now she is! She still does like to hide her light under a bushel, though.
One of the biggest surprises of the night was the huge number of young women signing up. I asked lots of them what had brought them along to IMPACT100. Many of them were new to the Wakatpu and thought it would be a great way to meet other like-minded people. Younger people seem way more aware of the various issues in the community and understand how hard life is for so many people here. They're also more troubled by climate change, and conservation issues. Some of them also said that while Impact100's raison'd'etre is to help community groups, it is extraordinarily helpful at making great business contacts.
If you're a women looking to meet some other enthusiastic, generous and fun women, do contact IMPACT100. Men aren't able to join (how very sexist of us!) but we do let them sponsor women, personally or through business sponsorship.
In case you haven't heard how it works, at least 100 women donate $1000, then invite community groups to apply for their funds. The applications are all vetted by the grants committee then he whole group votes on which application is the most compelling. In the three years its been going in the Wakatipu, it's given out nearly half a mission dollars, and taught us all a lot about what the needs of our community are. As well as being extremely worthy, its very, very good fun. www.impact100wakatipu,org is the website.