On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.This exhibition tells the local story – demonstrating how well Gisborne women mobilised to go to the polls for the first time on 28 November 1893.
The sheets of names of the women of this region who signed the 1893 Suffrage Petition have been lost but we do have a record of the over 200 women who signed the 1892 petition.
Gisborne women formed a number of active political groups leading to an 1894 newspaper headline throughout the country referring to them as ‘Ambitious Gisborne Women’.
The exhibition will profile some of these (mainly unknown) women and the women’s groups they belonged to. Items from the museum’s collection on display include a bible belonging to Gisborne political activist and community leader Margaret Home Sievwright.
-Jean Johnston, Curator