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’.

2 thoughts on “Women’s Suffrage Day – Spotlight on our local heroines

  1. Marion H 19 September 2010 / 9:17 am

    Have a good Suffragette’s day. If you missed it (like I did – it was starting just as I was getting out of the car on the way to work) here is a link to Sandra Grey and Ana Gilling – Women and MMP – a report that played on National Radio this morning. “Marking women’s suffrage day, Sandra Grey and Ana Gilling are releasing a report on MMP and women’s political representation in New Zealand. They look back at the suffrage movement, and talk to Chris about MMP’s role in improving the number of female MPs – and what that’s meant in the lives of women.”


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