Girl Guides was founded in the UK by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1910, three years after he launched the boys’ Scouting movement. Baden-Powell was a military scout in Africa during the Boer War. It was here that his ideas for building self-reliance took root. He translated these ideas – minus the military aspects – in a book called Scouting for Boys, which was published in 1908. The reaction was phenomenal and Scout Patrols popped up all over England. Scouting for Boys is the fourth-bestselling title of all time.
Lieutenant Colonel David Cossgrove served in the Boer War with Baden-Powell. Cossgrove was a headmaster in Christchurch and brought the Scout Movement to New Zealand. Cossgrove had four daughters, and his youngest, Muriel, living in a country where women had already had the vote for fifteen years, asked for a girl’s equivalent to Scouts. In 1908 – a year before girls in Britain made the same request – Cossgrove organised the Peace Scouts for girls.
On Baden-Powell’s suggestion, Cossgrove wrote Peace Scouting for Girls, which was published in 1910. In 1928, Peace Scouts became GirlGuiding and New Zealand joined the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) as a founding member.
Today, New Zealand is one of 150 countries that belong to the association.