Today is Women’s Suffrage Day in Aotearoa-New Zealand
Yes, on this very day, in 1893, New Zealand women achieved the vote.
New Zealand was not only the first country in the world to grant women suffrage “at all” (although I believe the state of Wyoming in the US granted women the state legislature vote in 1869), but granted it to all women, regardless of age, class or race. (Quite right, I hear you cry, but also understand that was not always the case.
“Canterbury had an integral part to play in the Women’s Suffrage campaign. Both the leader of the women’s campaign for women’s votes, Kate Sheppard, and the leader of the Parliamentary campaign, Sir John Hall, were Canterbury people.” (Source: Christchurch.org)
Something to be proud of, neh? And I am proud of it—although with women’s wages still lagging at around 85% (a very ’rounded’ average) behind those of men, and the continuing prevalence of violence against women in society, including family and domestic violence, the work of suffragists such as Kate Sheppard is far from done.
Suffrage Events in Christchurch Today:
5.30 pm at the Bridge of Remembrance, Cashel Mall: A Suffrage Day Event–Rebuild our Vote for our Schools, City and Environment
Here’s the Panui:
The goal is launch a new petition for democratic decision making for our schools, our city and our environment.
Why? Three big changes have removed meaningful local democracy:
1. A sweeping array of school closures and mergers threatens to take the heart of many communities away. These school communities have supported us and our children through disaster. Some ideas may be welcomed, others not. Many communities need much more time and support and information. School communities should debate and vote for their school futures via school board elections!
2. Real decision making power has been taken from the voters for Christchurch City Council and given to an unelected Government body CERA with no plan in sight for how this power will be returned. We may not have all agreed with the City Council, but it was ours! Local democracy and city votes must be at the heart of our rebuild!
3. We have lost our right to vote for our Regional Council ECan, which makes decisions about our children’s environment, water, air and public transport. If Government-appointed Commissioners are doing a good job, let them stand for election to win our support!
To recover from disaster we must take people with us. Our tamariki need to grow up with a clean environment, local schools and to be listened to with respect in rebuilding their city. It is undemocratic, unwise and unfair to force rushed change, and experiments while removing our voice. Change must be achieved with the people’s vote through our school boards, city council and regional council.
If you share our concern come along to launch the petition ‘Kids Vote Canterbury’ on 19 September, Suffrage Day, at the Bridge of Remembrance.
An online petition will also be available shortly.
Bring / Wear/Pledge:
-Bring white, purple and green balloons for Suffrage Day
-Wear a white camellia
-Bring along some signs, or come down early and make some!
-Pledge to support suffrage for our children, city and region by signing our petition ‘VOTECANTERBURYKIDS’
-Bring your families!! This is a community and family-friendly event.
Follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/votecanterburyk
Website: http://votecanterburykids.wordpress.com/ ”
7.30 pm: Middleton Grange School—Join Women on Air for their celebration of Suffrage Day & the end of 20 years of broadcasting!
The event will include:
- actress Helen Moran as Kate Sheppard; and
- Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson will read the maiden speech of Elizabeth McCombs, New Zealand’s first female MP.
- Comedienne Michele A’Court will read a piece called “A letter to my daughter”
As well as:
So, protest or party, or both—there really is something for everyone happening this September 19 in Christchurch, for Suffrage Day.