Joan Macdonald died peacefully on Friday, 12 August. She became a member of WILPF in the mid-1970s after attending a workshop run by WILPF women at the feminist United Women Convention in Wellington, New Zealand. She said they spoke a lot of sense, so when she returned to Auckland she contacted the local branch and joined them.
Since then she has been Branch President, Treasurer, Section Treasurer, and Coordinator of WILPF Aotearoa/New Zealand. Many WILPF members will remember her from her attendance at international WILPF meetings, and from having enjoyed her warm hospitality.
Joan worked tirelessly for peace and justice in so many ways over so many years. She promoted peaceful resolutions of conflict, indigenous rights, women’s rights, social justice, demilitarisation, decolonisation, and human rights as in Aotearoa as throughout the Pacific, with a particular interest in Bougainville and West Papua. She also supported alternatives to incarcerating women in prison while she opposed racism and violence in all its forms.
Energetic, thoughtful, and caring, with a great sense of humour and keen intellect, Joan was, and remains, an inspiration to everyone whose life she touched. It was always a pleasure to spend time with Joan, to enjoy her lively conversation on a wide range of topics, her wit and her ready smile, and to witness her kindness, generosity and willingness to help anyone who needed support. We will miss her very much.
Rest in peace Joan, well deserved after a life devoted to peace and justice, and caring for others. We will not forget you.
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Photo credit: Del Abcede.