Kate Sheppard House a hub for Heritage Festival Events

Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House is hosting events and new exhibitions as part of Christchurch City Council’s 2022 Heritage Festival.

Christchurch Heritage Festival 2022 logo.

There will be two new free exhibitions during the festival. ‘Making Your Mark: Women’s Suffrage Exhibition’ showcases Kate Sheppard’s pen, which is on loan from Parliamentary Services. Prime Minister Richard Seddon presented the pen to her as a symbol of her leadership throughout the women’s suffrage campaign. Helen Osbourne, Property Lead for Kate Sheppard House, says, “Its provenance was lost until recently, and to our knowledge the pen has never been publicly displayed before.”

An accompanying exhibition, ‘Walter Sheppard: Storekeeper and Suffragent’, explores Kate’s husband’s life, business, and support for women’s suffrage. Newly uncovered archaeology and newspaper articles reveal fascinating details about Walter’s business, and challenges popular culture’s portrayal of Walter as a distant and cold husband, who only tolerated Kate’s political work.

There are also three exciting evening events planned. Girlhood in Ōtautahi Christchurch is an evening of quickfire talks from a diverse group of women, who will talk about how places in Christchurch shaped them during their formative years. The evening includes a guided tour of Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House, and a glass of temperance champagne and nibbles with the chance to mix and mingle.

Two evening events uncover Christchurch history and heritage through archaeology. In Exploring the Underworld: Tales of Christchurch’s Dark Side, a panel of four archaeologists will talk about the less salubrious aspects of Christchurch’s nineteenth century history. Expect tales of bankruptcies, ill health, and tragedies.

In Talking Shop: The Archaeology of 19th C. Retail Culture archaeologist Jessie Garland explores what it was like to shop in colonial Christchurch through several archaeological excavations undertaken on the sites of nineteenth century shops.

Rosemary Baird