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Suffrage 125

2018 marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.  On 19 September 1893 the Electoral Act 1893 was passed, giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.  As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

This Tier 1 Commemoration is being led by the Ministry for Women and supported by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.  We are working to connect events and activities across the country. Branding, social media and web platforms are being developed to facilitate these connections and establish a national programme of events to celebrate this significant anniversary.

Suffrage 125 aims to:

  • develop a commemorative programme that is relevant, meaningful and attractive to a diverse range of New Zealanders;
  • highlight previously untold stories of people who contributed to achieving suffrage in NZ – particularly stories from Māori, Pacific, and Chinese communities;
  • celebrate game-changing individuals of a range of ages and cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, who do extraordinary things to create positive social change for women and New Zealand; and
  • create a forum for conversations about our future and the importance of civic engagement and participation.

Key dates are:

  • 19 September, anniversary of when all New Zealand women over the age of 21 were granted the right to vote
  • 28 November, anniversary of when New Zealand women voted for first time.

There is no contestable funding available for the suffrage commemorations. Visit Creative New Zealand’s website for details about potential sources of funding for arts projects. You might want to visit the Lottery Grant’s website for other funding information.

Visit the NZHistory website to view a database listing the names that appeared on the main suffrage petition submitted to Parliament in 1893.

What’s happening so far?

These are just some of the organisations and proposed initiatives to celebrate Suffrage 125.

  • Royal New Zealand Ballet is proposing a programme of commissioned works by international female choreographers.
  • He Tohu at National Library will run a series of public programmes during 2018 focused around the suffrage petition.
  • Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision is working on an online exhibition of 125 people who have contributed to women’s rights in New Zealand, as well as a screening series and discussion forum.
  • Te Papa is publishing a book on 12 objects and essays exploring topics such women’s rights and suffrage.
  • Auckland Museum is holding a major exhibition exploring suffrage within a contemporary context.
  • Ministry for Education is seeking submissions on Suffrage 125 as part of Ministry in Māori Medium, bringing Māori history to life to Te Reo Māori learners.
  • Ministry for Culture & Heritage is developing a Suffrage 125 web page on NZHistory featuring educational content, timeline and an online exhibition juxtaposing women activists today, 1970s women’s liberation and the 1890s suffragists.

For more information on Suffrage 125 and how to get involved contact: kim.young@women.govt.nz

Related resources

Archives New Zealand – Women’s suffrage

Digital NZ – Women’s suffrage

He Tohu – Women’s Suffrage Petition

NZHistory – New Zealand and the vote

NZ On Screen – Pioneering women

Te Ara – Votes for women

 


Updated on 20th September 2017