Celebrating 127 Years of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand

September 20, 2020 8:50 pm

This past Saturday 19 September marked 127 years since the vision, perseverance, and dedication of our suffragist heroes resulted in the women of Aotearoa New Zealand gaining the right to vote. To all Rural Women New Zealand members and our wider community – happy Suffrage Day! 

How can we commemorate Suffrage Day online and at home? Here are six ways to learn more about the history of the suffragist movement in New Zealand: 

Explore National Library’s He Tohu site for details around New Zealand’s suffrage history and resources for schools and community groups.

–      Read about Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, Kate Sheppard, Mary Anne Müller, and other suffragists on Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand.

–      Search the 1893 suffrage petition database on NZ History to see if your ancestors signed the petition.

–    Read He Tohu Rangatira – Māori women and the 1893 suffrage petition from Archives New Zealand to learn about the wāhine Maori who signed the petition.

–      Download the free ebook, New Zealand Women and the Vote, from Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

–      Find out about women’s activism in New Zealand throughout history from NZ History.

–      Write a biography on one of the women who signed the petition. Archives New Zealand has advice for researching and writing a biography on one of the signatories so we can learn more about the individual women who came together to make history.

We hope these resources allow you to enjoy exploring, reading, and writing about the work of outstanding women like Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, and Mary Ann Müller. 

However, the best way to celebrate Suffrage Day in 2020 is to ensure that you are registered to vote in this year’s General Election. Visit www.vote.nz for more information. 

If you are interested in participating in a discussion on the importance of women’s participation in the political process, join us next Wednesday 23 September at 7.30 pm for the next installment of the RWNZ Summit Policy Series featuring RWNZ President Fiona Gower, Chief Electoral Officer Alicia Wright, Professor Jennifer Curtin of the University of Auckland and Charles Chauvel of the United Nations Development Programme. Click here to register: https://my.ruralwomennz.nz/civicrm/event/info?id=5&reset=1

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