The achievement by New Zealand’s women of the right to vote will always be a world-first. Gaining that specific social justice right and freedom created a cornerstone of this country’s social justice fabric, one that we are lauded for globally.
2018 marks the 125th anniversary of that achievement, which undoubtedly will be celebrated in various ways across the nation.
It’s easy to see why it is exciting to discover a largely unknown suffragist, a Māori woman named Meri Te Tai Mangakahia, offering a new focus for suffrage celebrations.
Meri Te Tai Mangakahia is the only recorded Māori woman to speak out in favour of suffrage to the Māori parliament, Te Kotahitanga. Her speech is in the public record and with clarity, conveys her passion for social justice and her belief in the capability of women.
The When Piwakawaka Fly website and stage play have been created with the involvement and help of both the Te Tai whanau as represented by Emma Frost, and the Mangakahia whanau as represented by Jill Williams. Their help was especially welcome in correcting inaccurate information.