suffrage campaign

Events In History


Women and the vote

Suffrage 125

The House of Representatives

  • The House of Representatives

    New Zealand's Parliament dates back to 1854, just 14 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the beginning of the European settlement of the country. For most of its history as a nation state, New Zealand has had some form of elected government.

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  • Page 2 - Quick historyNew Zealand's Parliament has been making laws, scrutinising the government and representing New Zealanders for over 150 years.

Māori and the vote

  • Māori and the vote

    Between April and June 1868 the first four Māori MPs were elected to New Zealand's Parliament. Despite ongoing debate, the Māori seats remain a distinctive feature of this country's electoral landscape almost 150 years later.

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  • Page 2 - Setting up the Māori seatsEarly Māori representation in New Zealand


  • Stout, Robert

    The careers of Sir Robert Stout and Sir Julius Vogel were so closely intertwined that Stout’s governments are usually referred to as Stout-Vogel ministries. Both men started their public lives in Otago and followed similar policies.

  • Stout, Anna Paterson

    Anna Stout was dedicated to the advancement of women, championing calls for equal political, legal, social and educational rights. She was particularly concerned for the education of Maori women.

  • Yates, Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Yates was elected mayor of Onehunga on 29 November 1893, becoming the first woman in the British Empire to hold the office.

  • Wells, Ada

    Ada Wells is remembered for her contribution to the women's suffrage campaign in the 1880s and 90s, and for becoming the first woman elected to the Christchurch City Council in 1917.

  • Hall, John

    John Hall was a force in our politics for several decades, serving as Premier and leading the parliamentary campaign for votes for women.

  • Sheppard, Katherine Wilson

    New Zealand was the first country in the world to grant women the vote. Kate Sheppard, leading light of the suffrage movement, was vindicated when 65% of New Zealand women took the chance to vote in their first general election.

  • Morison, Harriet Russell

    Dynamic and determined, Harriet Morison helped establish trade unions for female workers and was one of the leaders in the campaign to get votes for women.

  • Fish, Henry Smith

    An able but controversial politician, Henry Smith Fish is best remembered for his aggressive attempts to prevent women getting the vote.

  • Rātana, Iriaka Matiu

    The first Māori woman to be elected to Parliament, Iriaka Matiu Rātana was a passionate advocate for the welfare of her people.

  • Howard, Mabel Bowden

    In 1947, 14 years after Elizabeth McCombs had become the first woman MP, and more than half a century after women had won the vote, Mabel Howard became New Zealand’s first woman Cabinet minister.

  • Mangakāhia, Meri Te Tai

    Meri Mangakāhia petitioned the government on land rights and argued for women’s suffrage, and actively participated in the Kotahitanga movement, the Māori parliament based at Pāpāwai, Wairarapa.