The Women's Centre Waitakere was developed in 1983, in the back room of a comfortable old house at 111 McLeod Rd and is still based at this site. Verle Cahill, Colleen Ivory and Karen Svendsen formed close links with each other through their research involvement in the Maternity Needs Research. With the support of Auckland Methodist Mission, they were engaged in developing community health initiatives in West Auckland.
The Centre was granted was granted Legal Status as a Charitable Trust in 1989 and continue to provide a variety of services to women and children in West Auckland.
The Centre historically has played a huge role in advocating for Women's Health and rights with several submissions to the Women's Health standing Committee, Consumer Affairs, Cervical Cancer Inquiry, Royal Commission on Social Policy, The Gibbs Task Force often done in partnership with other agencies.
Since the centre opened, courses have been organised each term. Focusing towards, assertion, parenting, alternative health. The centre is constantly evolving to needs of women in the community.
Our first partnership in West Auckland started with the YWCA mobile preschool unit which helped support and establish play groups for women with pre-school children. This evolved into "live in" groups or camps for up to 30 women and 50 children running workshops on parenting, women's health and self esteem over a 4 or 5 day period. The Centre was linked to the Global Women's Network since 1984 participating in an international meeting for all its network organisations every four or five years. in 1984, the Centre had a representative at the Reproductive Rights conference in Europe. in 1987, we had 5 representatives- 3 Maori women, 2 Pacific Island Representatives, 2 women with disabilities and a caregiver attend the International Women and Health Conference in Costa Rica. We worked with the Te Umere branch of Maori Women's Welfare League and supported each other through submissions and lobbying for establishing a Whanau Room at the National Women's Hospital.