Note­wor­thy por­trait on $10

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JOAN STAN­LEY

Kate Shep­pard’s face on our New Zealand $10 note is fa­mil­iar to us all.

But who was she and why is her pic­ture on our money? A re­cent TV drama ex­plained why she is such an im­por­tant per­son in our his­tory.

Cather­ine ( Kate) Wil­son Mal­colm was born in Liver­pool Eng­land in 1848, em­i­grated to New Zealand in 1869 and mar­ried Wal­ter Allen Shep­pard two years later.

She be­came the Fran­chise Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Women’s Tem­per­ance Union and drove the cam­paign for the fight for the women’s vote in New Zealand.

Kate spoke at many meet­ings, wrote ar­ti­cles and pam­phlets sup­port­ing votes for women and was re­spon­si­ble for sev­eral pe­ti­tions to Par­lia­ment ask­ing that women be granted the right to vote. The Women’s Elec­toral Bill fi­nally passed through the two houses of par­lia­ment and re­ceived the gover­nor’s assent on Septem­ber 19, 1893, 119 years ago.

New Zealand was the first na­tion in the world to grant women the right to vote.

Af­ter this Kate was in de­mand as a speaker at con­fer­ences and pub­lic meet­ings in Eng­land and Amer­ica.

Kate Shep­pard was the founder of the New Zealand Coun­cil of Women (NCW) in 1896 in Christchurch and served as pres­i­dent for many years.

The Mata­mata branch of the Na­tional Coun­cil of Women was formed in 1955 and is now one of the few, if not the only, ru­ral branch in New Zealand. Mem­bers strongly sup­port state­ments made by Kate Shep­pard say­ing that al­though the mem­bers are women they are hu­man be­ings, which must take prece­dence over their wom­an­hood.

Mata­mata mem­bers of NCW agreed at a re­cent meet­ing that fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties are of con­tin­u­ing in­ter­est and con­cern to them in their de­lib­er­a­tions and de­serve their sup­port.

In 1993 dur­ing the Mata­mata Centenary Suf­frage Cel­e­bra­tions for the grant­ing of women’s right to vote in New Zealand, five “Kate Shep­pard“camel­lias were planted in Founders’ Park.

A plaque at­tached to a rock there bears the words: “Kate Shep­pard Camel­lias. Planted in Suf­frage Year, 1893 – 1993’’.

Kate Shep­pard.

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