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Sound clip: suffrage and prohibition - NZ women and the vote

Audio file

Hear Arabella Manktelow (1871-1963) talk about the link between women's suffrage and prohibition. Find out more about Arabella Manktelow at Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.


Interviewer: Mrs Manktelow, you say that temperance and the franchise went hand in hand in New Zealand, then?

Mrs Manktelow: Yes, it did, because the Wesleyans were all out for prohibition. The Wesleyan support was mad for prohibition, and so they helped the women get the franchise because they knew that once women got the franchise the liquor laws would be altered. Oh, it was an exciting time, let me tell you. I think women wouldn't have got the franchise when they did, only for the Wesleyans working so hard on the temperance question. The Reverend Leonard Isitt was a great worker in this; his son was knighted and was a Member of Parliament. There was a man called French. They worked like 'niggers'. Old Seddon didn't want it, you see; he put everything he could against it. And the old hypocrite, when the whole thing was over he congratulated the women, you see, on having won the franchise, and one woman looked at him and said, 'You're nothing but a hypocrite,' and he said, 'No, I'm a politician. I always side with the winning side.'

Interviewer: But the men didn't like it? They didn't like their wives, their daughters voting?

Mrs Manktelow: No, they said their wives didn't want it, their wives were quite content. My own father said, 'My wife is content to be as she is.' And my mother said, 'But I'm not!' So we had a row at home over that [laughter]. Oh, I think it was quite exciting, you know.


Mrs Manktelow's interview is from Three Auckland women remember their first vote in 1893, recorded in 1963.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Ngā Taonga. Reference no: 156726 

How to cite this page

Sound clip: suffrage and prohibition - NZ women and the vote, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated