Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial

Khartoum Place And Te Hā O Hine Place, Auckland Central, Auckland

  • Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial, Auckland, viewed from Te Hā o Hine Place.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 12/01/2022.
  • Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial, Auckland. Mural panel with suffragists and flower wreath.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Taken By: Alexandra Foster. Date: 16/02/2022.
  • Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial, Auckland. Water feature surrounded by murals depicting the Southern Cross, Pohutukawa, Huia, flax and weaving .
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Taken By: Alexandra Foster. Date: 16/02/2022.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 9567 Date Entered 20th October 2022 Date of Effect 10th November 2022

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Legal Road, North Auckland Land District and the structure known as Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the List entry report for further information).

City/District Council

Auckland Council

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Legal Road, North Auckland Land District

Location description

NZTM Easting: 2666518.5

NZTM Northing: 6481429.5

Summaryopen/close

Erected in a busy pedestrian route in central Auckland in 1993 to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial is of special significance for its close association with the women’s movement in New Zealand, particularly the National Council of Women of New Zealand, noted as the most influential women’s organisation at the end of the twentieth century, who led a public campaign to save the memorial over a period of a decade. It was one of the first of a small number of dedicated suffrage memorials created in New Zealand which reflects the changing attitudes towards women’s issues following the rise of the women’s movement in the later twentieth century. Instigated, produced and supported by this community, the memorial consists of brightly coloured tiles that form a mural that is placed on three faces of an irregular water feature, enabling appreciation from various vantages as the viewer walks up the stairs. It is closely associated with its creators, including Claudia Pond Eyley who was a prominent feminist artist during the period it was created with the design incorporating a number of features which are characteristic of her work.

Located on the slope between Horotiu Pa and Waihorotiu in the Waihorotiu/Queen Street Valley, the site of Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial was part of an area which was successively occupied by a number of iwi including Te Waiōhua and Ngāti Whātua who maintained cultivations at Horotiu. In 1840 it formed part of the land offered by Ngāti Whātua to the Crown. The street was formed during the nineteenth century, initially providing a connection between the Waihorotiu/Queen Street Valley and Albert Barracks. A set of stairs was built in the centre of the street to facilitate pedestrian access in 1913 and by the middle of the century the upper and lower sections were being used for car parking. The street name was officially changed to Khartoum Place in 1939. In 1983 a water feature replaced the earlier steps in an upgrade of the street.

Commencing in the 1960s and 1970s, the rise of the second wave feminism movement in New Zealand in the later twentieth century raised national consciousness of women’s roles and rights and the first nationwide commemorations of New Zealand women attaining suffrage were held in 1993. New Zealand had been the first self-governing country to enfranchise women following a national campaign led by prominent suffragists around the country whose work included the collection of thousands of signatures on their 1890s petitions.

In Auckland a scheme for a civic tile memorial was proposed by Jan Morrison and commissioned with support from central and local government. Created in close collaboration between Jan Morrison and Claudia Pond Eyley, a prominent feminist Auckland artist whose work notably addressed social issues, the 2000 tile mural was installed around the water feature creating a multidimensional mural comprised of twelve panels that the public can travel through as they walked up and down the steps. A range of techniques were employed to produce bright, colourful tiles with glazed and replicated photographic elements. The mural depicts notable suffragists from the Auckland Region including founding members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (Te Rarawa), the first woman to address the Kotahitanga Parliament. It also features iconography associated with the suffrage movement, including the 1893 petition as a scroll across central panels, as well as associated with the Auckland and North Island.

The Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial has come under threat of redevelopment multiple times since 2005 and the National Council of Women and other prominent campaigners led a decade long campaign to save the Memorial. Their cause received significant public support and culminated in 2015 with the place being given the highest available protection in the Auckland Unitary Plan. In 2016 Ngāti Whātua gifted the name Te Hā o Hine to the lower section of Khartoum Place, referencing a whakatauākī that can be interpreted as ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’. It remains a busy pedestrian route through the city with strong visual links to the Art Gallery and Albert Park and is a significant tourist destination.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial has historical significance as one of the first memorials created to commemorate women’s suffrage in New Zealand. Reflecting the rise of the women’s movement and feminist thought in the late twentieth century, the memorial was created as part of the first nationwide program of commemoration of the event and remains one of a small number of permanent memorials which have been created across the country.

The place also has significance as a one of a small number of memorials which specifically commemorate women’s achievements and campaigns in New Zealand. The place primarily depicts suffragists who were based in Auckland and the wider North Island which emphasises the importance of women’s suffrage as a national movement which women from across the country participated in.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

Purposely designed for the unusual space, the multidimensional Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial has aesthetic significance for the extent to which it expertly combines colour, symbols, and photograph images to create a dynamic space which can only be fully experienced by traversing the steps through its centre, evoking a sense of movement and of progress, reflective of the suffragist movement.

Cultural Significance

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial has cultural significance for its connections to the feminist movement in New Zealand. The place was designed and created by members of this community to commemorate the centenary of the achievement of women’s suffrage in 1893 and incorporates important feminist motifs such as the white camellia, and depictions of significant feminist leaders. The place continues to be important to this community, who have fought to save the place from redevelopment, as one of a limited number of feminist memorials in the country.

Social Significance or Value

One of few memorials commemorating the centenary of New Zealand women’s suffrage, Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial is held is high regard by the women’s movement in New Zealand and particularly by the National Council of Women, the largest and most influential women’s organisation in New Zealand, who successfully led a public campaign for over a decade to save the memorial from threats of redevelopment and pushed for the place to receive the highest level of protection through council scheduling to protect the place in perpetuity. The mural is also important to the wider public who supported the campaign to preserve the memorial.

This place was assessed against the Section 66(3) criteria and found to qualify under the following criteria a, b, e, f, g, h, and k. The assessment concludes that this place should be listed as a Category 1 historic place.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial reflects the nationwide commemoration of the centenary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. Having been created as part of a national program of commemoration the place is representative of the prominence given to the centenary celebrations and the importance of the suffrage movement in Auckland and the wider North Island.

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial reflects the importance of second wave feminism in promoting women’s issues and scholarship towards the end of the twentieth century. The creation of the place as part of the first national commemoration of women’s suffrage in New Zealand demonstrates the changes in how women’s history and place its place in New Zealand Society changed in the century following suffrage.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

The place is closely associated with Claudia Pond Eyley, a prominent New Zealand feminist artist and activist, who, in close collaboration with fellow female artist Jan Morrison, designed and created the memorial,. Created at the height of her artistic powers during one of her most productive periods as a public artist, Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial shows many design features which were characteristic of her work including her signature bold colour palette and motifs which ground the work in Aotearoa and Moana Oceania, as well as reflecting her interest in creating art to address important social issues.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial has special significance as a reflection of the suffrage centenary and movement to New Zealand feminists, particularly for its close association with National Council of Women of New Zealand, the largest and most influential women’s organisation in New Zealand, and other women’s groups. Instigated, produced and supported through the efforts of the women’s movement during the centenary of women’s suffrage in 1993, these groups have continued to show their ongoing esteem for the place through their leadership in a successful decade long public campaign to save the place from redevelopment and their efforts to gain the highest level of statutory protection through council scheduling. Their petitions to retain the memorial as part of this campaign between 2005 and 2015 were signed by thousands, as well as supported by prominent dames including Dame Catherine Tizard, Dame Georgina Kirby, Dame Dorothy Winstone and Dame Thea Muldoon, demonstrating the wider public esteem for the place. The renaming of Te Hā o Hine Place subsequent to the campaign to save the memorial demonstrates how the mural has become integral to the community’s use of the place in the decades since its creation.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

The place has the potential for public education as it forms part of an accessible public space in a busy public thoroughfare that provides the opportunity for the public to experience the memorial and learn about the importance of suffrage and the centenary through the mural and associated information boards.

(g) The technical accomplishment, value, or design of the place

The design of Auckland Women's Suffrage Memorial expertly combines colour, symbols and reproductions of photographs within a subtle three-dimensional design that can be appreciated from multiple directions in an irregular space. This effect is achieved through the use of innovative techniques including airbrushing, hand application, slip-trailing and silk-screening any may have been the first time the techniques were combined on this scale.

(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place

The Auckland Women's Suffrage Memorial is one of a small number of places in New Zealand that commemorate Women’s suffrage and in contrast with other surviving memorials, it is the only surviving memorial to particularly commemorate the Auckland region contribution to the movement. The memorial specifically commemorates notable Auckland suffragists and Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, a prominent Māori suffragist.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural area

Auckland Women's Suffrage Memorial forms part of a civic landscape in Auckland City as part of a pedestrian route which links places including the Town Hall and Art Gallery. It further forms part of an area which incorporates a number of places associated with commemoration and social movements along with the many memorials located in Albert Park.

Summary of Significance or Values

Instigated, produced and supported by the New Zealand women’s movement, Auckland Suffrage Memorial was one of the first memorials created to commemorate women’s suffrage in New Zealand, including the contributions of Auckland women, created for the centenary. Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial is of special significance for its close links to the New Zealand Women’s movement, including the influential National Council of Women of New Zealand, in both its creation and their decade long campaign to save the place from redevelopment and protect the place in perpetuity in the early twenty first century. The place is one of a small number of suffrage memorials nationally and was created during the first nationwide commemorations of the 1893 events. It reflects the growing recognition and importance of women’s issues in the later twentieth century and has the potential for public education as it forms part of an accessible public space and utilises colour and a range of design techniques to create a striking mural which is representative of the work of Claudia Pond Eyley, an important Auckland based feminist artist, who worked in close collaboration with Jan Morrison in the creation of the mural.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Jan Morrison

Claudia Pond Eyley

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Historical Narrative

Early History

The name Tāmaki-makau-rau encapsulates the desirable qualities that have long led to dense settlement in this part of Aotearoa. Fertile volcanic soil, rich fisheries and abundant forests attracted inhabitants as a beautiful person gathered many lovers. Horotiu, in which the present-day Albert Park is situated, was successively inhabited by diverse iwi groups. Occupation included settlement beside the Waihorotiu, in the current Queen Street valley. A small settlement is reported to have been situated on or near the site of the current Auckland Town Hall and George Graham stated that Ngāti Huarere of Te Arawa waka established fortified settlements in the vicinity of Horotiu. Traditions also refer to a waka mooring site and food gathering place at the mouth of the Waihorotiu and the name Te Horotiu Horotiu ‘is said to refer to a settlement which disappeared in a slip during the seventeenth century’ although subsequently utilised by Māori to indicate the wider area. For several generations before the mid-eighteenth century, the land – encompassing nearby pā – was held by Te Waiōhua, a major force in central Tāmaki. After subsequently gaining control, Ngāti Whātua maintained cultivations at Horotiu – including at European arrival. Ngāti Whātua’s offer to transfer a large area of land to the British Crown for a colonial capital at Auckland was formally agreed in September 1840.

Development of Khartoum Place

Khartoum Place may have formed part of the earliest plan laid out for the city of Auckland by Felton Mathew in 1841, occupying a similar position to Russell Place on that plan. An 1866 plan showed the unnamed street as connecting Lorne Street and Kitchener Street, then known as Barrack Street and Coburg Street respectively, and buildings had already been constructed on the neighbouring lots.

The earliest recorded name for the street was Coburg Place after the Royal family. During the First World War (1914-1918) the name was changed to Kitchener Place after the death of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and of Broome in 1916. The name was subsequently changed again to Khartoum Place in further reference to Kitchener in 1939.

Initially a wide throughfare up the steep slope towards Albert Barracks/Park, in 1913 a set of steps were created to facilitate pedestrian access. A retaining wall and a u-shaped set of steps with a central landing oriented north-south was built in the centre of the lot creating two levels to connect the adjoining streets, a height of approximately 10m. The two levels of the Khartoum Place became used for car parking by the middle of the twentieth century and by 1968 plans for a redevelopment of the street were being discussed.

In 1983 a four-level concrete water feature and steps were installed in the centre of Khartoum Place, replacing the earlier steps.

Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand

On the 19th September 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country to allow women to vote in elections following a national campaign by New Zealand suffragists including Kate Sheppard and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as well as other groups including the Women’s Franchise League (WFL), a non-temperance suffrage group. Branches of both groups were established in Auckland and many women from varied backgrounds joined one or both branches. Prominent Auckland suffragists were heavily involved in the campaign locally and as part of the national organisations including Annie Schnackenberg and Amey Daldy who were presidents of the WCTU and Auckland WFL respectively in 1893. Thousands of women, including Māori, from around the country signed petitions which were presented by Sir John Hall to parliament in August 1893. The following month, the suffrage bill narrowly passed into law. The success of the movement was reflected in the 84% of woman eligible to vote registering within six weeks for the bill coming into law. In Onehunga, Elizabeth Yates was elected Mayor of the borough in the 1893 election making her the first female mayor in the British Empire.

As well as campaigning for universal suffrage. Māori suffragists such as Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, a Te Rarawa wahine of mana from Hokianga, campaigned for Māori women to vote in Te Kotahitanga (unity) Parliament (1892-1902). Mangakāhia, whose husband was the first pirimia (premier) of the parliament, was the first woman to address Te Kotahitanga when, in July 1893, she called not only for the right to vote but also for wahine to stand as members in their own right, a position beyond the aims of the national suffrage movement. Although not immediately successful, wahine Māori were eventually able to vote in Te Kotahitanga from 1897.

Commemorating Women’s Suffrage

Many suffragists continued to push for further women’s rights reform beyond suffrage and formed the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) in 1896 to continue this work into the twentieth century. By the end of the twentieth century the NCWNZ ‘was the largest and most influential women’s organisation in New Zealand.’ Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, the rise of second wave feminism saw a renewed focus on advocacy for women’s issues and consciousness raising in mainstream society with campaigns advocating for equal pay and employment, equal rights, maternity leave and the minimum wage act as well as a rise in artistic expression of feminist ideas through art, literature, and drama. The rising consciousness of women’s roles and rights led to dramatic improvement in women’s educational achievement and by 1988 women accounted for 51% of university enrolments, up from 28% in 1966, which contributed to increased scholarship in Women’s History in the late 1980s. The Auckland Women’s Liberation Front pushed for the commemoration of Suffrage Day from 1971 to raise the profile of women’s history which became an annual event. The day was sometimes marked by women’s groups through activist events, and in 1973 the 80th anniversary was commemorated by holding the first United Woman’s Conference in Auckland. However, few public memorials to the events or individual suffragists had been created in the first century of New Zealand women’s suffrage.

The centenary of New Zealand women’s suffrage was widely observed in 1993, possibly reflecting a wider mainstream acknowledgement of the importance of women’s history by the end of the 1980s. Officially designated the ‘Suffrage Memorial Year’, the centenary was marked by nationwide celebrations, conferences, books and memorials. A $5 million trust fund, the 1993 Suffrage Centennial Year Trust/Whakatu Wahine, was established to contribute to commemorations which would “promote public understanding of Suffrage year, […] be of lasting benefit to the community and […] encourage all women to develop their full potential”.

Creation of Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial

In preparation for the centenary, artist Jan Morrison’s business Tile Art New Zealand proposed the creation of a mural commemorating the suffrage centenary and approached the Suffrage Centennial Year Trust and Auckland City Council as part the Suffrage Committee for Greater Auckland to secure the required funding. Although the original proposal identified Khartoum Place as a potential location for this civic memorial, alternative sites near Ellen Melville Hall and in Aotea Square were subsequently considered. The Council settled on Khartoum Place which was close to the Auckland Art Gallery and a busy pedestrian route and was the artist’s preferred location.

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial was purposely designed for the space and was created over a period of six months by Jan Morrison and Claudia Pond Eyley in close collaboration, commencing in early 1993. Morrison was an artist with a varied career path based firmly in the arts including activism in environmental and human rights causes and whose work at the time included designing and installing tile murals on the concrete seats along Queen Street in central Auckland celebrating the flora and fauna of New Zealand in 1989. Morrison had co-organised human rights marches in Auckland and across New Zealand during the 1980s in the support of the Human Rights Bill being considered by Parliament. Morrison hired Claudia Pond-Eyley to work with her on the project as a fellow woman artist. Pond Eyley was a prominent Auckland artist whose work had an explicitly feminist perspective. She was a key voice as an artist in the women’s, peace and social justice movements as a founding member of Visual Artists Against Nuclear Disarmament and a member of the Association of Women Artists. Having created other murals around central Auckland including one at the Auckland High Court in 1991 as well as other works in the 1980s and early 1990s, this memorial was created during “one of Pond Eyley’s most productive periods when she was at the height of her artistic powers as a visual artist” and was part of a group of Auckland artists whose work reflected contributed to ‘new understandings of New Zealand’s place in Moana Oceania’. The design and creation of the mural was a successful collaboration between both artists who understood the suffrage movement and were passionately devoted to the message they were trying to convey.

Comprised of 2000 brightly coloured glazed square ceramic tiles and combining the bold colour palettes of Morrison and Pond-Eyley, which has been described as a signature feature in the latter’s work, the design embraced the three-dimensional space of the water feature to create a mural that the public could experience as they walked through the stairs in Khartoum Place with portions of the mural facing different directions and the bulk of the mural traversing the three levels of the water fountain. The process for the creation of the tiles included airbrushing of ceramic glazes prior to firing, and “slip-trailing and silk-screening processes achieved the stencil transference of images”. The mural is believed to have been the first time all three processes were combined at that scale having been previously developed by Morrison and a previous collaborator and was the first time it was employed in a public art space.

Designed to represent the struggles of women, the mural highlights the historical achievement and progress of the suffragists through contemporary techniques and could be seen to raise the potential of what women can achieve in the future. The mural prominently displays the 1893 petition as a scroll across the fountain pools along with iconography and emblems of the North Island and Suffrage, as well as Māori flax kete pattern to represent a weaving together of cultures. The walls beside the steps feature life size images of leading suffragists including prominent Auckland figures.

The individuals featured include:

Amey Daldy (1829-1920) president of the Auckland Women’s Franchise League (AWFL) and who went on to be a driving force in forming the National Council of Women New Zealand (NCWNZ) and was its president in 1898;

Anne Ward (1825-1896) the first President of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU);

Lizzy Rattray (1855-1931) one of the earliest women journalists, an elected member of the AWFL, and one of the suffragists who presented the 1893 petition to the House of Representatives;

Elizabeth Yates (1849-1918), first woman mayor in the British Empire;

Annie Schnackenberg (1835-1905) was a founding member and president of the WCTU (1891–1897) and a founding member of NCWNZ;

Matilda Allsopp and Fanny Brown, two of the first seven women enrolled to vote in New Zealand; and

Ada Wells (1863-1933) suffragist and first national secretary of NCWNZ.

A further portion of the mural depicted a flower wreath with names of leading suffragists additionally including:

Elizabeth Caradus (1832-1912) working class suffragist who was a leading figure in the Auckland movement being described as a key member of the WTCU and Treasurer of the AWFL; and

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868-1920), (Te Rarawa) Māori suffragist, first recorded woman to address Te Kotahitanga Parliament.

A separate portion of the mural showed four women with bicycles which emphasised the importance of bicycles in empowering women in their campaign as they were able to visit outlying areas to gather petition signatures. This section of the mural was added a few weeks after the official unveiling. The use of bright red railings complemented the mural and the lush green plantings were set above the fountain.

The design of the mural has been considered representative of Claudia Pond Eyley’s work which has been described as being ‘characterised by bright colours, dynamically abstracted tropical foliage, and energy’ as well as featuring the ‘lushness of the Auckland landscape’ and being ‘strongly pacific based’, in this mural focusing on Māori influenced motifs which grounds the work in Aotearoa. This work continued her use of art to address important social issues as it ‘celebrates suffrage with [a] bold and unapologetically fresh aesthetic’.

The Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial was officially unveiled on 20 September 1993 by the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson and Governor General Dame Catherine Tizard at a ceremony attended by hundreds of women, including descendants of the Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, only a day after the unveiling of the Kate Sheppard National Memorial in Christchurch on the centenary of New Zealand Women’s Suffrage. The event included speeches at the Town Hall followed by a women’s march to the memorial where a powhiri was held. The mural cost $75000 to complete.

Public Perception and Campaign to Protect Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial

Over the following twelve years the Memorial became well known as a landmark in Auckland city. A few years after its creation Lonnie Hutchinson, a Samoan, Māori (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri) artist, incorporated the mural as one of three sites across Auckland in a performance art piece to intended to ‘highlight the absence of Indigenous women in both the memorial and in historical narratives about the right to vote’ in which she was bound in packing tape and placed motionless and taped to the mural.

In 2005 Auckland City Council held a design competition to redevelop Khartoum Place and none of the entries, including the winning design, included the retention of the mural. There was a public outcry in response to the proposed designs and, following a public appeal from Morrison for public support to retain the mural, many letters to the editor noted the importance of the mural as a memorial as well as a public artwork that should not be moved from its location in Khartoum Place. Morrison refused to agree to its removal arguing that it would damage the tiles too much for it to be relocated. Further campaigns for its removal were led by supporters of the Art Gallery in 2006 and 2010 who wished to replace it with a grand staircase that would highlight the gallery on Kitchener Street. These attempts were staunchly resisted in a public campaign by interested groups including the NCWNZ, Zonta Club of Auckland, Auckland City Councillors, and a group of Prominent Dames including Dame Catherine Tizard, Dame Georgina Kirby, Dame Dorothy Winstone and Dame Thea Muldoon. The campaigns included rallies in Khartoum Place as well as petitions calling for public support which received 4300 signatures. Te Runanga O Te Rarawa also wrote to the council in response to the proposed the relocation of the memorial in 2010, noting that they are honoured by the inclusion of their whanau Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia as one of only six women named in the mural and that she was a woman of high regard and standing in their iwi.

In 2012 Auckland Council unanimously voted to add Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial to the Auckland District Plan as a Category B place and began a $2.2 million upgrade of the site. This included opening up the space further by adding another set of steps at the top of the structure through a blank wall that had no pieces of the mural. Some additional changes which had been made since the memorial’s creation included the removal of plants around the fountain and the replacement of the initial red fencing with a more modern silver coloured fence.

During the creation of the Auckland Unitary Plan in 2015 further attempts to allow for the removal of the Memorial were made. The NCWNZ continued their campaign for the protection of the Memorial and Khartoum Place in perpetuity, contrasting its potential loss to the protection given to war memorials, which mainly commemorated men, and to the loss of another 1993 suffrage memorial in New Lynn which was temporarily removed during a redevelopment of the community building it was installed on but was not reinstated and cannot be found. In the culmination of a decade long public campaign which demonstrated the wide breadth of public support for the place, the NCWNZ were successful in their submission and the entirety of Khartoum Place including the Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial was given the highest protection available in the Unitary Plan which recognised its ‘outstanding significance well beyond [its] immediate environs’.

Although it has been critiqued as being “folksy” by opponents, the Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial has been credited with being “typical of women’s art, collaborative [and] funded by women” and in recent years it has been noted that the mural “offered an opportunity to redress the imbalance of female to male reminders of heroic or sustained efforts visible in our landscape”.

In 2016 Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei gifted the name ‘Te Hā o Hine Place’ for the lower portion of the street, adjoining Lorne Street. This name is taken from te reo Māori whakatauākī ‘me aro koe ki te hā o Hine-ahu-one’ which can be interpreted to mean ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’ and further confirmed the importance of the suffrage memorial to the place.

Since its creation Auckland Suffrage Memorial has become an iconic part of Auckland and is visited and photographed by tourists as well as being experienced regularly by Aucklanders as part of a busy throughfare connecting the City to Auckland Art Gallery, Albert Park, and Auckland University. It has been the site of official suffrage commemorations on Sep 19 annually and other events including a pay equity rally in August 2017 which was attended and addressed by multiple female politicians.

Physical Description

Current Description

Context

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial is located in Central Auckland, in the area of the city with the largest grouping of civic buildings including the Town Hall (List No. 549, Category 1 historic place), Auckland Art Gallery (List No. 92, Category 1 historic place), Wellesley Street Post Office and Telephone Exchange (List No. 2651, Category 2 historic place) and Auckland Library, and forms part of a pedestrian route the connects the central business area to Albert Park and the University of Auckland. Located between Lorne Street and Kitchener Street, the place has strong visual connections with the Art Gallery extension which is visible above the memorial when viewed from Te Hā o Hine Place, and to Albert Park which contains a number of memorials and other notable structures created during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries including: Sir George Grey Statue (List No. 119, Category 1 historic place); Albert Park Bandstand (List No. 538, Category 2 historic place); South African War Artillery Memorial (List No. 556, Category 2 historic place); and Queen Victoria Statue (List No. 633, Category 2 historic place). Many of these structures have been the sites of protest and counter cultural movements during the twentieth centuries.

Site

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial is a rectangular site at two levels joined by the Water Feature/Mural in the centre of the lot. The north and south sides are bordered with tall buildings which have door opening onto the site. The lower portion of the site, known as Te Hā o Hine Place, adjoins Lorne Street and is generally paved with two raised garden beds around tall trees with marble paving forming seats. The upper portion of the site retains a slight slope and has multilevel paving with some raised seating. A section of planting is located on the east boundary.

Water Feature and Tile Mural

The mural and water feature form an interconnected space with the mural being a three-dimensional installation on three vertical walls of the water feature. The mural is composed of twelve brightly coloured panels of mosaic tiles. The water feature includes four tiered pools arranged around a central s-shaped set of stairs from the bottom right to top left with two landings. A recent set of steps is located at the top right of the structure.

The frontmost portion of the structure consists of three multilevel pools in front of the main part of the steps. The mural tiles in this section are primarily yellow/orange with a section of dark blue and incorporates a depiction of the 1893 petition as a scroll spread across four panels. The highest panel includes the words of the petition while the lower panels represent the collected signatures and are overlaid with the words ‘women achieve the vote – 1893’. Symbols around the scroll include tukutuku patterns, fern, koru, and white camelias.

The rear sections, behind the stairs, are broken into three images with primarily blue tile backgrounds. The lowest, and largest single panel features a line of nine suffragists with painted multipatterned 1890s dresses and reproduction photograph faces. The women have been identified as (from left to right) Amey Daldy, Anne Ward , Lizzy Rattray , Matilda Allsopp, Elizabeth Yates , Annie Schnackenberg, Fanny Brown, and Ada Wells and a representation of a London suffragist. The upper right side of the panel features a wreath with flowers including kowhai, roses and irises with the names of six notable suffragists wrapped around as if on ribbons. The named suffragists include Lizzy Rattray, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhika, Elizabeth Caradus, Amey Daldy, Elizabeth Yates, and Annie Schnackenberg.

On the side of the top pool, towards the back left of the stairs above the scroll, is a panel which incorporates iconic symbols of Auckland, North Island, and New Zealand, including pohutukawa (region), Rangitoto (place), huia (although now extinct it was not in 1893), and the southern cross constellation (place on the planet). The initials of the WCTU are shown on a ribbon with a single white camelia. To the south, beside the recent stairs, is the final large panel which shows a group of four women on bicycles.

Tile mosaics of white camelias are located opposite the bottom of each set of steps through the memorial, visible when walking down towards Te Hā O Hine Place. A plaque identifying the mural details is located at the bottom of the lowest steps.

Comparisons

Auckland Women’s Suffrage Memorial was part of a national program of commemoration of the centenary of Women’s suffrage in New Zealand. It has been described as the most prominent mural created for the commemorations.

The Kate Sheppard National Memorial was also created as part of these centenary. Paid for through public subscription, this bronze life size sculpture depicted figures from across the country who were leaders in the suffrage movement in 1893 including Kate Sheppard as well as Amey Daldy and Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia who featured on the Auckland Memorial.

A second mural was created in Auckland in 1993 in New Lynn on a community centre, which depicted multiple scenes from 1893 including figures such as the suffragists and Richard Seddon. The memorial was removed from the building in the early twenty first century and has since been lost.

Many other commemorative creations included camelia plantings, tapestries, and books.

Some memorials to individual suffragists have been erected including a stone monument to mark the birthplace of Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia in Hokinga, created in 1993, and Margaret Home Sievewright Memorial, Gisborne (List No. 3536, Category 2 historic place) which was created in 1906 and was the first memorial to a suffragist in New Zealand.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1983 -
Creation of water fountain

Original Construction
1993 -
Creation of Mural

Refurbishment/renovation
2013 -
Redevelopment of Te Ha o Hine, Khartoum Place, Additional upper steps added.

Construction Details

Concrete, Ceramic Tile

Completion Date

30th September 2022

Report Written By

Alexandra Foster

Information Sources

Pierce, 1995

Jill Pierce, The suffrage trail: a guide to places, memorials and the arts commemorating New Zealand women, Wellington, 1995

Our Auckland

Our Auckland, 17 Sep 2021, URL: https://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/news/2021/09/celebrating-women-s-suffrage-in-central-auckland/#

Other Information

A fully referenced copy of the listing report is available on request from the Northern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Disclaimer

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

Archaeological sites are protected by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, regardless of whether they are entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero or not. Archaeological sites include ‘places associated with pre-1900 human activity, where there may be evidence relating to the history of New Zealand’. This List entry report should not be read as a statement on whether or not the archaeological provisions of the Act apply to the property (s) concerned. Please contact your local Heritage New Zealand office for archaeological advice.