Girls’ Self Defence Project
Women’s self defence in Aotearoa New Zealand began in the 1980s — during which decade four women’s self defence networks emerged.
These were the Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa, Positive Action Self Defence, Sue Lytollis Self Defence and Whakamaru Tinana.
The Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa began in the south where three women started working towards developing and running a training programme for new instructors of self defence for women and girls. This led to our first training programme, held at Riverton in 1988, where 18 instructors of women’s self defence were trained. These women formed the foundations of the Network, which was formally constituted in 1990. Since then we have held further training programmes on a regular basis.
During the 1990s Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa worked with the other networks to develop national standards and nation-wide availability of self defence courses.
Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa is now the single national self defence network, encompassing women from all of the early networks.
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