The Face of Auckland Women’s Health Council

Our logo is quite literally the face of the Auckland Women’s Health Council.

It was updated in 2021, and the new logo was designed by HeyYou on a pro bono basis. We held on to our beginnings, our foundation and our connection with the events of the 1980s that lead to the formation of the AWHC, but the redesign has given her a fresher, brighter 21st century look. She is, of course, the Spirit of Peace, the statue that stands outside what used to be the Claude Street entrance to National Women’s Hospital at Greenlane.

Sculpted by American-born, British sculptor, Pierce Francis Connelly, and originally situated in the grounds of a villa in Florence, Spirit of Peace was bought in 1909 by the Cornwall Park Trustees, at the request of the late Sir John Logan Campbell, and stood in Cornwall Park near the kiosk.

In 1963, the Cornwall Park Trustees donated the statue to be erected at the new National Women’s Hospital.

The Spirit of Peace famously featured on the cover of the edition of Metro Magazine that broke the story of the ‘unfortunate experiment’ written by Sandra Coney and Phillida Bunkle. She has come to represent the women affected by unethical medical research into the progression of cervical cancer undertaken at National Women’s Hospital in the 1960s and 70s. For members of the AWHC she is irrevocably linked with the Cartwright Inquiry and subsequent report, and represents all the reasons we exist as an organisation and as a voice for women’s health.

Every year on the 5th of August, the anniversary of the release of the Cartwright Report, members of the AWHC visit the statue to remember both the women who died and those harmed as a result of the “unfortunate experiment”. From the year 2000 the remembrance included the women of Gisborne, some of whom also paid with their lives after the National Cervical Screening Programme set up in the wake of the Cartwright Report failed them.

Since 1994, the visit has also included the memorial pohutukawa tree at the back of the former hospital. In September 1993, a plaque was unveiled beside the newly planted tree in memory of Drs Bill McIndoe and Malcolm McLean. Dr McIndoe was the cytologist and colposcopist at National Women’s Hospital from 1963 to 1983, and Dr McLean was the pathologist from 1961 to 1988. The tree was planted outside the clinic where the doctors used to work, and acknowledges the work and dedication of these two specialists to the health of the women who were part of the “unfortunate experiment.”

AWHC are immensely grateful to HeyYou for the development of the new logo, and the time taken to understand the importance of the Spirit of Peace to our identity.

At right: members of the AWHC visiting the Spirit of Peace on the 5th of August in remembrance of the women harmed by the “unfortunate experiement” and of the AWHC members who are no longer with us.

Logo story
5th of August