June 13, 2021
Economic base Kirby legacy
Māori Women’s Welfare League past president Dame Georgina Kirby, whose funeral is being held in Tāmaki Makaurau today, is being remembered for putting thousands of wahine Māori on the path to economic independence.
Dame Georgina Kirby, from Ngāti Kahungunu, died on Friday aged 85.
Another past president, Dame Areta Koopu, says Dame Georgina’s contribution did not stop with her term heading the league but continued through the Māori Women’s Development Fund, which she set up in 1987 with $200,000 in seed funding from government and ran for more than 20 years.
The fund continues today with assets of more than $4 million.
She says Dame Georgina’s own experience running retail and hospitality businesses gave her insights into the power of business to help Māori women contribute economically to their whānau and communities.
"Dame Georgie really put a lot of her energy into making sure women could sustain their whānau by having an economic base and I think she thought the cultural base for the whānau was safe because they knew how to be Māori and they knew tikanga, but it was how to economically look after your family," Dame Areta says.
The funeral service for Dame Georgina Kirby is at 10 am at Te Mahurehure Marae in Point Chevalier.
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