Happy Suffrage Day!

New Zealand was the first country in the world to give all women the right to vote 126 years ago.

GWN’s Sponsor, Naomi Ferguson, Commissioner, Inland Revenue, shared a special message with us to help celebrate this important day.



In recognition of Suffrage Day, we’ve challenged you to identify these amazing New Zealand women and what each of their trailblazing achievements were. Here are our answers (top-bottom, left-right):

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia – the first women to address Māori Parliament, where she petitioned for Māori women’s right to vote there

Kate Sheppard – New Zealand's most prominent suffragist, the woman who became the foremost champion for suffrage and the first President of the National Council of Women

Elizabeth Yates – first woman elected mayor in the British Empire, 1893

Elizabeth McCombs – NZ's first woman MP, 1933

Mabel Howard – NZ's first woman Cabinet minister, 1947

Iriaka Rātana – first Māori woman MP, 1949

Marilyn Waring – NZ's youngest elected woman MP, 1975, age 23

Fran Wilde – NZ's first woman party Whip, 1984

Dame Cath Tizard – first woman Governor General of New Zealand, 1990

Georgina Beyer – first openly transgender MP in the world, 1995

Pansy Wong –  NZ's first Asian MP, 1996

Dame Jenny Shipley – NZ's first woman Prime Minister, 1997

Helen Clark – NZ's first woman elected Prime Minister, 1999

Winnie Laban – NZ's first Pacific woman MP, 1999

Sian Elias – NZ's first woman Chief Justice, 1999

Margaret Wilson –  NZ's first woman Speaker of the House, 2005

Jacinda Ardern – youngest woman head of Government, 2017; first New Zealand Prime Minister to give birth in office, 2018

Take a moment to remember all of the amazing Kiwi women trailblazers from our past and present and share with a colleague or friend a woman who inspires you. Whakatū wāhine!


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