Suffrage 125

Plans to celebrate the 125th anniversary of New Zealand women achieving the right to vote are underway for next year. This part of New Zealand’s official commemoration programme.

We want to connect national and regional activities celebrating the anniversary under the umbrella of Suffrage 125. This is an opportunity to celebrate our achievements and highlight our people from many cultural backgrounds who have made a significant contribution to progressing women’s rights.

What does this mean for you?

If you are planning an event or activity related to Suffrage 125 you are invited to participate in the celebrations. This includes:

  • the opportunity to have your event  listed on a website promoting suffrage related activities being held throughout the country. The website is expected to go live in November
  • access to Suffrage 125 branding to help promote your event
  • being put in contact with other organisations in your region or city celebrating Suffrage 125.

Want to find out more about women’s suffrage?

On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country to grant women the vote.  In most other democracies – including Britain and the United States – women did not get that right until after the First World War. New Zealand women voted for the first time in a general election on 28 November 1893. You can see the suffrage petition in the He Tohu exhibition at National Library in Wellington. More information on the suffrage campaign and the people who signed the petition  is available on New Zealand History website.

What’s happening so far?

Many organisations have already proposed initiatives to celebrate Suffrage 125:

  • Royal New Zealand Ballet is presenting a programme of commissioned works by female choreographers from around the globe. 
  • 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 Maori Medium, bringing Māori history to life for te reo Māori learners.
  • Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and 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.

What will you do?

Email us for more information on Suffrage 125 and how to get involved or follow the Suffrage 125 Facebook page.