In most other democracies - including Britain and the United States - women did not gain the right to vote until after the First World War. New Zealand women voted for the first time in a general election in November 1893.
In the last decades of the 19th Century, New Zealand women vigorously campaigned to achieve the right to vote. In September 1893, they finally won that right for all women over the age of 21.
New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. This set a path for further elevation of women, including the 1919 Women’s Parliamentary Rights Act. Our country's first female MP, Elizabeth McCombs, was elected in 1933 and, as of 2018, New Zealand has now been led by three female prime ministers.
This milestone also paved the way for the furthering of women’s rights in the realms of economics, health, education, the arts, and domestic life, and is a treasured touchstone for those who continue to campaign for equality.
New Zealand’s early embrace of women’s voting rights has become a key part of its identity as a world-leading, progressive democracy. In 1990, Kate Sheppard was commemorated on New Zealand’s $10 banknote, alongside the suffragists’ symbol, the white camellia.
Miniature Sheet and First Day Covers
The first day cover highlighted the camellia as the symbol of the women's suffrage movement. The miniature sheet displayed a quote from Kate Sheppard - "Do not think your single vote does not matter much. The rain that refreshes the parched ground is made up of single drops." The miniature sheet first day cover was adorned with the petition that led to the passage of the Electoral Act 1893 which gave all New Zealand women over the age of 21 the right to vote. The camellia that flowed across both stamps was embossed to lift the image from the rest of the stamp.
Product Listing for Suffrage 125 Years Whakatū Wāhine
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||5 September 2018|
|Number of stamps:||Two gummed stamps|
|Denominations:||2 x $3.00|
|Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by:||Helcia Berryman, Grange Park Creative, Raumati South, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||35mm x 46mm (vertical)|
|Paper type:||Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||24 (12 pairs of $3.00 stamps)|
|Perforation gauge:||14.78 x 14.86|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 4 September 2019. First day covers remained on sale until 4 November 2018.|