About Us

Aims of the group

The aim of NZEM is to provide support to women throughout NZ who have experienced or are experiencing an early menopause as a result of genetic, natural or medically induced causes. NZEM aims to provide a broad range of relevant information and resources to assist women in their personal journeys through early menopause. This support includes sharing our own stories. From these stories, one thing is clear: while we may have the common experience of early menopause, each of those experiences is unique. We have tried to include a broad range of women’s stories on our site in the hope that as you read through them, you will come across others who have faced something similar to yourself. In this way, we hope to create a supportive community of women who have shared similar experiences.

History of the group

This support group was established by Dr Andrew Shelling of Auckland University as a response to women’s needs while conducting research investigating the genetic basis of premature ovarian failure (POF). During this research, Andrew found that women were very keen to talk about their experiences of entering menopause so much earlier than expected. The group began as a small, email based contact group. While this served the primary goal of offering support to prematurely menopausal women, over time we became aware that there were many women who did not know about our group. This realization led to the development of this web site. It is hoped that this web site will make our group more accessible to a wider range of women.

With the development of a web site came the need to develop a logo for our group. Given that we are a New Zealand based site, we wanted something that was able to capture our ‘kiwi-ness’ while still reflecting the purpose of the group. The koru in particular, speaks to many of the key themes of NZEM, symbolising new life, growth, strength, tranquility, spirituality and ultimately, new beginnings. Our logo designers, NZEM member Nicole and her husband Dave, also point to the circular shape of the koru and its capacity to represent the moon’s monthly cycles, the un-released eggs that are ultimately at the core of this condition and its powerful representation of the feelings of wholeness and unity that a support group can provide. We hope you agree.

Who are we and how might we help?

The women from this group are all volunteers. We do not bring formal qualifications to the support we provide. However, we each have our own unique experience of menopause. We understand how powerful it can be to share those experiences with others who have experienced something similar. It can help to cut through some of the feelings of isolation that many women experience. We understand the importance of having someone to listen to. There are a number of ways that we do this:

Email contact

NZEM provides email support to women throughout New Zealand. Having made your initial contact with us, with your permission we will inform other members of the group (particularly those within your region) so that you may be provided with a support network of women who have shared similar experiences. Being on the email contact list also gives you access to relevant and timely menopause information and group news. If you would like to be added to the list of contacts, please email us.

Telephone contact

Technology is all well and good, but you might find it easier to talk to someone in ‘real time’ on the phone. If this is the case for you, it’s no problem to make contact by telephone. Simply email us with your telephone details and we will make sure that a group member makes contact as soon as possible. We will try to connect you up with another woman who has shared a similar experience to you, and, if at all possible, someone from your own region.

Regional face-to-face contact

In the Auckland region, we’ve started getting together every three to four months for a shared meal. Sometimes we head out to a cheap and cheerful caf