Celebrating the right stuff
Purple, gold and white balloons at Lachie and Ann Duncan’s gate at Piarere welcomed Matamata women to the opening event celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage, (the right to vote), in February 1993.
The event was called Summits for Suffrage.
The two dozen women and two babies who attended climbed to the highest point on the property to mark the occasion and afterwards enjoyed a picnic lunch together.
Twenty years ago, this was the start of a series of special events organised by many organisations in the Matamata district and over the whole of New Zealand to celebrate that New Zealand was the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote.
That was on September 1893.
events included a women’s-only triathlon, pot-luck lunches and picnics, a Matamata College speech contest entitled A Woman’s Place, an intermediate school writing competition on A Woman I Admire, various speakers on topics related to women’s suffrage and the decision to allow women to become members of the Matamata Club.
A Suffrage Festival from September 16 to 19, organised by the Matamata Suffrage Centennial Committee included a Suffrage March to open the proceedings, most of which were held at the Matamata Memorial Centre, a women’s art exhibition, various speakers, demonstrations, a variety concert, a play with all women actors and a launch of the book Matamata Women.
The final functions
a combined Thanksgiving Service in the Anglican Church and a Women’s Suffrage Hui, held at the Raungaiti Marae, Waharoa, where women were allowed to speak on this marae for the first time.
Acknowledgment: Summits for Suffrage on Lachie and Anne Duncan’s farm in February 1993 celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote and New Zealand being the first country to grant this.