Suffrage petition, 1893

Suffrage petition, 1893

This is the first sheet of the giant suffrage petition signed by ‘Mary J. Carpenter and 25,519 Others’ that was submitted to Parliament on 28 July 1893. Suffrage leader Kate Sheppard’s signature appears about halfway down the left column. You can now search a database of the signatures here.

This huge roll of names – which stretches more than 270 m – is exhibited in the He Tohu exhibition at Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, alongside the Treaty of Waitangi and 1835 Declaration of Independence. The international significance of the treaty and the petition has been recognised by their inclusion on the UNESCO Memory of the World register of documentary heritage.

Read more about the suffrage petition here.

Community contributions

7 comments have been posted about Suffrage petition, 1893

What do you know?

Jamie M

Posted: 02 May 2017

Hi Prue - I'm notquite sure what you mean, you can search across all the petition sheets here:

Prue Cruickshank

Posted: 21 Apr 2017

Thanks for putting on line. Would like to search for a name across all archived petitions. Frustrating needing to search page by page.


Posted: 31 Mar 2014

Hi K Carpenter - we'd definitely be interested in a photo of Mary Carpenter, thank you! Please email [email protected]

You can see (and print) a hi-res copy of the first sheet here: And add more information about Mary Carpenter here:

Regards Jamie Mackay

K Carpenter

Posted: 28 Mar 2014

Thank You, I hope one day I can see the role in person. I think I have a photo of Mary J. Would that be of interest?


Posted: 17 Sep 2013

Hi K Carpenter - I think it is almost certainly the same woman, unless others in the family had the same forenames - see her page on the suffrage petition database:

K Carpenter

Posted: 16 Sep 2013

My (three times) Great Grandmother was called Mary Jane Carpenter, (nee Griffith), and was the second wife to Yaldhurst farmer, George Frederick Carpenter. I don't suppose there's any way to confirm the Mary J atop the list is my relation?

karen russo

Posted: 04 Aug 2008

NZ history site has so much valuable info. Found the Suffrage Petition by mistake and noticed that the signature listed at 10th is my great grandmother Margaret Watson. Her life long friend Ester is also under her signature. Her parents migrated from Galway Ireland and she was born in 1872 so she had just turned 21when the petition was offered to parliament. She married on 19/10/1898 to Patrick H. Reddington. Had 3 children Louisa Ann 1899 music teacher, William Henry 1901 railway guard and my Grandmother Ena May 14/5/1906. Throughout her life she was a true matriarch of our family, a Milliner of repute. She died 16 June 1969 at 96 years. Her family of descendants still live in chch the Withell and Watson & Reddington families all contribute to making NZ the incredible country it is. Some of her family also migrated to Australia and all currently live in Queensland and her dads family also went to Canada.