Celebrating 125th anniversary of women's suffrage
It may be International Women's Day today but it was yesterday where the event was commemorated at Government House where the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage was celebrated.
A Māori woman, Meri Te Tai Mangakahia, who campaigned with Kate Sheppard more than a century to gain voting rights for women was fondly remembered
According to the Māori Women’s Welfare League President, Prue Kapua, it was a gathering to celebrate the influence of women and to remember the women who stood and fought for equal voting rights.
“Well, I think it's very significant for us as Māori women and for women generally to recognise 125 years.”
Besides the courageous Sheppard, Kapua says there's an example from within Māoridom.
“Meri Te Tai Mangakahia, of course, who, prior to this happening had the opportunity within Te Kotahitanga to advocate for women to have the vote. And, in fact, what she advocated for was a step further within the suffrage movement that was essentially for women to stand for a position which didn't happen until a bit later for pākehā women.”
Kapua also remembered Iriaka Ratana from the Whanganui River who was the first Māori female Member of Parliament.
“We have a relationship in terms of her having to be the first Aotea rep, area rep and we have Aotea represented today, she was a rep on our national executive as well as being the first Māori women into parliament.”
Te Tumu Ahurei of Te Kawa a Māui, Rawinia Higgins says it's hard to miss the women in key leadership roles.
“Kia kite i te mātotorutanga o ngā wāhine kei mua i te aroaro o ngā kaupapa maha katoa, mai i te Kāwana Tianara nōna te reo pōwhiri kia tū mai mātou ki tēnei kaupapa.”
Me aro ki te hā o Hineahuone (pay heed to the mana of women).