Noteworthy portrait on $10
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’’.