Women’s Suffrage Day – Spotlight on our local heroines

Sunday 19 September is Women’s Suffrage Day – a celebration of  New Zealand women getting the vote  in 1893. The Kate Sheppard Memorial in Oxford Terrace celebrates some of our pioneering sisterhood.

The Kate Sheppard Memorial

Another group of leaders are Christchurch’s own Women in the Council Chamber and we have brief political audio biographies  on Ada Wells, Elizabeth McCombs, the famed Mabel Howard as well as more recent councillors.

Our collection of Unsung heroines highlights local identities. These women were characters in all senses of the word. Bella Button – famed for her horseriding prowess – trained cats to jump like horses. Lizzie Coker, of Coker’s Hotel fame, was remembered as a ‘fantastic creature in elaborate wigs and huge fur coats’.

Other things to explore:

  • A brief diary written on board the Tintern Abbey en route from Gravesend to Christchurch, December 1874 – May 1875 by Mary Anne McCrystal, 1849-1929.
  • Ngaio Marsh – one of Canterbury’s most famous authors.
  • Elsie Locke – one of our Canterbury Heroes, her plaque reads ‘Political, social and local community activist, well-loved historian and writer, determined and doughty fighter for the rights of the under-dog, active to the end’.

What is the outlook for feminism in the 21st Century?

Princesses & pornstars by Emily Maguire

The statement certainly made me wonder what the outcome for feminism and women in general will be if all of the younger generation think that way. I was looking forward to Your skirt’s too short, one of the events at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival. Unfortunately the Festival was cancelled due to the earthquake. It was going to feature panellists Marilyn Waring, feminist and gender rights expert, and Emily Maguire, journalist and novelist who is widely published with articles and essays on “sex, religion, culture and literature”.

So any inspirational feminist texts that particularly made an impression on you?

Fings wot i have lurned this month

Every month on the website we have a different theme.  September’s theme is Learning, and in the spirit of ‘sharing the lurn’, here are a few fings wot I have lurned:

  1. Earthquakes (and other natural disasters) are much less exciting when actually lived through, rather than just observed on the telly.
  2. CoverYou should never leave on your workdesk on a Friday afternoon: anything important (chocolate bars, urgent messages, cellphones, any books that you have been waiting to read for months); anything perishable; anything you don’t want to have collected by Civil Defence guys in hard hats on Monday morning.
  3. There are still some words in the world that I do not know the meaning of (and not just rude ones).
  4. People, in general, can rise to pretty much any occasion with astonishing levels of community spirit and generosity.
  5. It is entirely possible to hear the word ‘liquefaction’ too often, and to have too much of a conversation about porta-loos.
  6. I was looking forward to the Christchurch Writers Festival oh-so-much-more than I realised.
  7. A really good book (clearly not the one I left on my desk on Friday 3rd September) still has the power to take me out of the rather stressful and shaky real world, and transport me to other worlds.  And I love this.
  8. These are really good books:  Kraken, by China Mieville.  The Manual of Detection, by Jedediah Berry. Good Oil, by Laura Buzo.  The Authenticity Hoax, by Andrew Potter.  And I loved them.