Suffrage parade marks history
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.