Sandra Coney

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Sandra Lorraine Coney, QSO (born 22 October 1944) is a New Zealand local body politician, writer, feminist, historian, and women's health campaigner.

Activist career[edit]

She is best known for her co-authorship (with Phillida Bunkle) of a Metro magazine article that alleged that women had been experimented on, without their consent, at National Women's Hospital in Auckland. The article, titled 'The Unfortunate Experiment', led to the controversial Cartwright Inquiry, which confirmed the article's allegations. The article and the subsequent inquiry are seen as a turning point in healthcare ethics in New Zealand.[citation needed]

Coney has been involved in other women's health causes, and in 1984 co-founded with Bunkle Women's Health Action to co-ordinate claims by women who had been injured by the Dalkon Shield IUD.[1] Coney was the co-founder of the feminist magazine Broadsheet, which she co-edited for 14 years.[2] She is the author or editor of 14 books, including the major Suffrage Centennial publication Standing in the Sunshine (1993), which was also a television series. She wrote a regular column of political and social comment for the Sunday-Times for 16 years from 1986.

She is also involved in the local politics of the Piha area such as the unsuccessful campaign against the Piha cafe. She has also written an history of Piha and is currently researching Anzac soldiers from the Piha area.[3][4]

Her father was Tom Pearce, who was ARC chair from 1965 to 1976 and a New Zealand Rugby Football Union administrator.

Political career[edit]

Auckland Council
Years Ward Affiliation
2010–2013 Waitakere Best for the West

Between 2001 and 2010 Coney represented Waitakere City on the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and served as Chair of the Parks and Heritage Committee between 2004 and 2010.

In October 2010, she was elected as a representative of the Waitakere Ward on the Auckland Council on the Best for the West ticket. She was also elected as an independent representative on the Waitemata District Health Board.[5]

In the 2013 Auckland local elections Coney stood down as a councillor, endorsing fellow Future West candidate Christine Rose for the position.[6] She was re-elected to the Waitemata District Health Board,[7] and was elected to a new role as chair of the Waitākere Ranges Local Board,[8] having received the most votes of any of the board's members.[9]

Writing career[edit]

Coney is the author of more than 30 books on topics including history, feminism, and women's healthcare.[10][11]


In the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Coney was made an Companion of Queen's Service Order.[12]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • 2009: Piha: guardians of the iron sands: the first 75 years of the Piha Surf Life Saving Club. Piha Surf Life Saving, ISBN 978-0-473-14906-2
  • 1998: Stroppy sheilas and gutsy girls: New Zealand women of dash and daring. Tandem Press, ISBN 1-877178-29-2
  • 1997: Piha: a history in images. Keyhole Press, ISBN 0-473-04883-3
  • 1996: Feeling fabulous at 40, 50 and beyond. Tandem Press, ISBN 0-908884-83-4
  • 1995: I do: 125 years of weddings in New Zealand. Moa Beckett (NZ), ISBN 1-86958-171-7
  • 1993: Standing in the sunshine: a history of New Zealand women since they won the vote. Viking, ISBN 0-670-84628-7
  • 1993: Unfinished business: what happened to the Cartwright Report? Women's Health Action, Auckland. ISBN 0-473-02018-1
  • 1991: The Menopause Industry: How the Medical Establishment Exploits Women. Penguin ISBN 0-89793-161-0 (U.S. Edition 1994)
  • 1990: Hysterectomy. Heinemann Reed (NZ), ISBN 0-7900-0089-X
  • 1988: The Unfortunate Experiment: The full story behind the inquiry into cervical cancer treatment. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-011671-0
  • 1986: Every girl: a social history of women and the YWCA in Auckland 1885-1985. Auckland YWCA ISBN 0-908636-27-X


  1. ^ Women's Health Action - Everybody - Health Information for New Zealanders
  2. ^ Rose, Jeremy (6 December 2009). "Influential Kiwis talk about their Influences". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "NZ Herald: New Zealand's Latest News, Business, Sport, Weather, Travel, Technology, Entertainment, Politics, Finance, Health, Environment and Science". The New Zealand Herald. 
  5. ^ "2010 Election Results" (Press release). Auckland Transition Agency/Auckland Council. October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 
  6. ^ Orsman, Bernard (2 August 2013). "Heritage hero Coney exiting council to focus on West". New Zealand Herald (Auckland: Wilson and Horton). Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Elections: Final results - District health board". Auckland Council Website. Auckland Council. 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Contact Waitākere Ranges Local Board". Auckland Council Website. Auckland Council. 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Local boards final results" (PDF). Auckland Council Website. Auckland Council. 17 October 2013. p. 5. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Dickey, Delwyn (17 September 2013). "Radio astronomy's Pakiri role". Rodney Times (Orewa, New Zealand: Fairfax Media). Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Search results for 'au:"Sandra Coney"' > 'Book'". WorldCat. OCLC. 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  12. ^ 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List