Suffrage Day celebrations with Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House

On Suffrage Day 19 September 2021, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga partnered with the National Council of Women – Te Kanuihera Wahine O Aotearoa at the National Memorial Event. 

A garden party planned for the 128th Anniversary of Suffrage for New Zealand women at Te Whare Waiutuutu Kate Sheppard House in Christchurch was reduced in numbers due to Level 2 restrictions, but celebrations still went ahead and were appreciated by all involved.  

The day started off with a tour of Kate Sheppard House at 10am and then a beautiful morning tea in the dining room. At 11am a coach chauffeured guests to the city with a stop at Kate Sheppard’s gravesite in the historic Addington Cemetery where  a large bunch of white camellias from her former garden were laid.  

At the national memorial event, which was organised by the City Council and the Christchurch Branch President of the National Council of Women, Rosemary Du Plessis, approximately 80 gathered. The event began at midday with the Hon. Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Ōtautahi Christchurch speaking about the importance of the day. Keynote speaker Hon. Sarah Pallett, MP for Ilam spoke about the contemporary experience for women in parliament, while Kate Sheppard House Property Lead, Helen Osborne, concluded by talking about the former home of Kate Sheppard and the impact she sees of the suffrage story on visitors to the house. 

The event concluded with an invitation to place the symbolic garden white camellia on the memorial.

- Helen Osborne