Auckland Girl Guides and Brownies 'shocked' to learn women had to fight for the vote 125 years ago

A group of Auckland Girl Guides and Brownies are learning about the biggest women's rights fight in New Zealand history, days out from the 125th anniversary of Kiwi women winning the right to vote.

There's a big celebration next week. It was September 19 1893 that New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

Te Atatu Girl Guide Leah Kim, 10, told Seven Sharp it really upset her to learn that women didn't get to vote until the law was changed 125 years ago.

"I didn't understand why men just got to vote and not women," she said.

Girl Guide Leader Nicola Igusa said when the girls realised that women didn't have the same rights "they feel really shocked and surprised and say 'why? why not?. That's really unfair'. Small children are really focused on fairness, so they really get it".

Kate Sheppard had tried and failed to change the law with petitions in both 1891 and 1892, but she refused to give up.

She organised 'the monster petition' of 31,872 signatures - 25 per cent of all adult women, whose collective voices created a mammoth paper protest, 274 metres long.

A new Electoral Act was passed  and in the General Election that followed a whopping 85 per cent of New Zealand women registered to vote, did so.

Next week will be 125 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote. Source: Seven Sharp


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