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Suffrage 125

2018 marked 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 was led by Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women and supported by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. We worked together to connect events and activities across the country. Branding, social media and web platforms were developed to facilitate these connections and establish a national programme of events to celebrate this significant anniversary.

Throughout 2018 you will have seen the above symbol on Suffrage 125 related activities. Details about wishing to use the Suffrage 125 symbol are here.

Suffrage 125 pins can be purchased through the National Council of Women, the National Library of New Zealand's gift shop and also Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga properties.   

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.

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

The above item is taken from NZHistory's web feature about women, the vote and activism.

Visit the Ministry for Women's Suffrage 125 events page for more details. 

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

Te Papa – Whakatū Wāhine  


Updated on 9th November 2020