Suf­frage pa­rade marks his­tory

Waihi Leader - - News - By SAN­DRA CONCHIE

Katikati comes alive this week­end as the his­toric town sets the clock back 125 years to mark a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in New Zealand’s po­lit­i­cal his­tory.

This year, to cel­e­brate 125 years since women got the vote in New Zealand, Katikati town­ship is go­ing all out with a Suf­frage 125 Com­mem­o­ra­tions event.

That in­cludes a march through the main street on Satur­day with ev­ery­one who at­tends urged to dress in Vic­to­rian-style pe­riod dress and carry a plac­ard or ban­ner pro­mot­ing cur­rent women’s is­sues.

The march be­gins at 11.30am from Ure­tara Do­main on Satur­day and pro­ceeds to the Katikati War Memo­rial Hall for speeches and live en­ter­tain­ment.

Lead­ing the Suf­frage 125 Com­mem­o­ra­tion pa­rade will be a Katikati fam­ily whose UK-born rel­a­tive was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind women get­ting the vote in 1893.

An­nie Jane Sch­nack­en­berg, a Wes­leyan mis­sion­ary, tem­per­ance and wel­fare worker, and well-known suf­frag­ist, was one of Kate Shep­pard’s right- hand woman.

“An­nie de­voted her life to social jus­tice,” her great­grand­son John Sch­nack­en­berg said.

An­nie was also vice-pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Coun­cil of Women New Zealand in 1896, and na­tional pres­i­dent of the Women’s Chris­tian Tem­per­ance Union from 1892 to 1901.

John and his wife Cather­ine, and their two daugh­ters Made­line and Char­lotte, who are An­nie’s great, great, grand­daugh­ters, will lead Satur­day’s street pa­rade.

Join­ing them will also be John’s fa­mous older brother Tom Sch­nack­en­berg of Amer­ica’s Cup fame and their sis­ter Mary who will be ac­com­pa­nied by her guide dog.

John said the fam­ily has al­ways known of his great­grand­mother’s po­lit­i­cal back­ground.

“But the im­por­tance of An­nie’s role prob­a­bly didn’t re­ally hit home to me un­til I saw her name listed among five or six oth­ers on a com­mem­o­ra­tive mo­saic in Auck­land 25 years.”

He was “im­mensely proud” to be asked to help hon­our An­nie and the other suf­fragettes who bat­tled so hard for women to be able to have a voice in their own fu­ture, he said.

For­mer Prime Min­is­ter He­len Clark, who was the coun­try’s first elected woman prime min­is­ter when she took of­fice in 1999, will be the guest speaker.

Event or­gan­iser Nicky Austin said Suf­frage 125 was a free, fun event that ev­ery­one was in­vited to at­tend to cel­e­brate a sig­nif­i­cant turn­ing point in the rights of women.

“It def­i­nitely adds a great touch to the day to have the Sch­nack­en­berg fam­ily lead­ing the pa­rade, and there will also be a num­ber of ladies tak­ing part who are di­rect de­scen­dants of women who signed the orig­i­nal [right to vote] pe­ti­tion,” Nicky said.

“There is a huge amount of buzz in the town and peo­ple are quite ex­cited about Suf­frage 125 event, and hav­ing He­len Clark as our guest of hon­our is amaz­ing,” she said.


Made­line, Cather­ine, and Char­lotte Sch­nack­en­berg along with other fam­ily mem­bers will lead the Suf­frage 125 Com­mem­o­ra­tion pa­rade through the streets of Katikati on Satur­day.

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