Three women recall their first vote in the NZ election of 1893
March 7, 2017 7:51 PM   Subscribe

Listen to three women, Mrs. Dickson, Mrs Hills and Mrs Mankelow recall their first vote in the general election on November 28, 1893. Recorded in 1963.

In 1893, women in New Zealand were granted the right to vote for the first time. It was the result of many years of hard campaigning by the suffragettes. Despite some underhanded political machinations, the bill granting suffrage narrowly passed.

Some more on New Zealand's pioneering women:

Because her husband disapproved of her views, Mary Ann Muller wrote to newspapers under a pen name - Femina. In 1869 she wrote the first womens rights pamphlet in New Zealand - "An appeal to the men of New Zealand":

A wise ancient declared that the most perfect popular government was that 'where an injury done to the meanest subject is an insult upon the whole constitution'. What, therefore, can be said for a Government that deliberately inflicts injury upon a great mass of its intelligent and respectable subjects; that virtually ignores their existence in all that can contribute to their happiness as subjects; that takes a special care to strike at the root of their love of country by teaching them that they have no part in forming or maintaining its glory, while it rigidly exerts from them all penalties; even unto death?

Kate Sheppard is New Zealand's most famous suffragette and appears on the NZ $10 note. A series of petitions climaxed in 1893 with a petition filled with over 25000 signatures on a roll 270 meters long that was dramatically unfurled in Parliament.
posted by Start with Dessert (8 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Nice post, especially today. I am very proud that two of my relatives signed that original petition in 1893 seeking women's suffrage. Kate Sheppard not only appears on our $10 note as described above, but also on a pedestrian "cross now" light here in Wellington.
posted by vac2003 at 8:23 PM on March 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Listen to three women, Mrs. Dickson, Mrs Hills and Mrs Mankelow recall their first vote in the general election on November 28, 1893. Recorded in 1963.

Sound archives FTW.
posted by in278s at 9:07 PM on March 7, 2017

Were the aboriginal people of New Zealand given the right to vote before women? I find it interesting that black and Native American males were afforded a higher status than females in the United States (by fifty years) and wondered whether it was something that happened in other countries.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:32 AM on March 8, 2017

Do give the audio a listen, MeFites - it's less than 6 minutes long and just perfect in every way.

Flagged as fantastic! Thank you for this great post.
posted by kimberussell at 7:01 AM on March 8, 2017

Maori became eligible to vote in 1867, so yes, Maori could vote before women.

Theoretically, Maori could vote in elections prior to that. However at the time, mens' right to vote depended upon owning a sufficient amount of property. In 1853, that amount was land worth £50, so quite a bit. Maori held land communally, so few qualified.

The property requirement for men wasn't removed until 1879.
posted by happyinmotion at 10:29 AM on March 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Great post! My favourite event in the suffrage battle is this own-goal (from the Underhanded Political Machinations link in the FPP):

The vote on the third reading was marked by complex manoeuvres on the part of the ministry. It was evident that Council members were almost evenly divided. Seddon realised he needed one more vote to defeat the bill so he telegraphed one of the new councillors to change his vote. The ploy backfired. Angered by Seddon's action, two opposition councillors, who had favoured women's suffrage but only with the safeguard of electoral rights, changed sides and voted in favour. On 8 September the bill was passed 20 to 18. As the New Zealand Herald commented, 'it is hardly too much to say that the enfranchisement of the woman has been accomplished by her enemies'. On 11 September Seddon announced to a crowded House and gallery that the government would accept the bill.
posted by Paragon at 1:07 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

And that's why they called him 'King Dick'!
posted by Soulfather at 6:36 PM on March 8, 2017

Maori became eligible to vote in 1867

To add a little to this: the original means of enabling Maori to vote was the establishment of separate electorates for them, which got around the land ownership requirement. Though at the time only four electorates were established, which meant Maori were vastly underrepresented as they made up a much larger percentage of the population. The electorates still exist, but Maori can choose whether or not to register in a Maori or a general electorate, and the number of Maori electorates is calculated proportionally.
posted by Pink Frost at 10:38 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older The friendship of a dog is precious.   |   So you wear a hat...that's funny Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments