Robin Morrison

Auckland Women's Centre, Ponsonby Road

Auckland Women's Centre, Ponsonby Road by Robin Morrison

Artwork Detail

Seated out the front of the Auckland Women’s Centre at 125 Ponsonby Road, a woman raises her fist in political solidarity against gender oppression, echoing the symbol on the centre’s front door. This renowned image shows some of the centre’s founders (from left to right): Joan Simmonds, Maureen Jaggard, Alice (surname unknown), June Percy, Glenda Northey, Lynda Holmes, Alice’s daughter, and Joan’s child.

Evolving from the University of Auckland’s Women’s Liberation Group, which began meeting in 1972, the Auckland Women’s Centre aimed to bring together women interested in feminism, offer a meeting place for feminist groups and to provide a voice for feminism in Auckland. In her book 'A Proud Herstory: A Celebration of the Women’s Centre 1975–2010' (Auckland: Auckland Women’s Centre, 2010, Margie Thomson writes how the founders wanted a ‘feminist forum away from the rarefied territory of the university’ (p 12).

The first Auckland Women’s Centre was part of an eclectic community of shops photographed by Robin Morrison for his Ponsonby Business Calendar, published in 1977. The calendar included images of the local scrap metal yard, a funeral director’s, a barber’s and the Bhana Brothers fruit and vegetable shop.

Morrison was a seasoned documentarian with an astute eye for the unpretentious and everyday – as his partner Dinah recalls, ‘he liked to look at communities and how they might change’. Today, 'Auckland Women’s Centre, Ponsonby Road', 1976 provides a fascinating window into Ponsonby pre-gentrification, before chain stores, cafes and crippling rents. The photograph also records a significant period in New Zealand’s second wave of feminism. Today, Te Wāhi Wāhine o Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland Women’s Centre is based in Grey Lynn, where it continues its mission to facilitate empowerment and well-being for women.

– Julia Waite, Curator, New Zealand Art, 2023

Auckland Women's Centre, Ponsonby Road
Robin Morrison
Production date
black and white photograph
164 x 230 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1976
Accession no
Other ID
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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