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Women’s right to vote


The progression for women’s rights originated during the late 19th century and transpired for two primary concerns: “equal political rights for women and a determination to use them for the moral reform of society” (NZHistory, 2016). The developments happened when a large number of women confronted the narrow beliefs of the world. Wherein, women are solely capable of domestic affairs instead of politics.

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New Zealand’s suffragist was motivated by numerous feminists and missionaries such as “Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU)” (NZHistory, 2016). Kate Sheppard started the campaign by organizing requests for Parliament to consent to women’s rights to vote. Although Sheppard had failed in her attempts of the “suffrage bills in Parliament in 1888, 1891 and 1892” (Christchurch City Council, 2017), she remained persistent in the advancement and continued to gain support. Sheppard’s last appeal presented to Parliament had estimated 32,000 signatures. Therefore, the Electoral Act 1893 was established allowing women to vote and was enforced on the 19th September.


This event allowed New Zealand to become the “first self-governing country in the world” (Turnbull-Library, 2012) to permit every woman to vote in parliamentary elections. Hence, this is an important part of New Zealand’s history since our nation has legislation to safeguard human rights and reduce discrimination against women.


Bastion Point


In 1977, a group of activists captured Bastion Point (Takaparawha) which is located on Auckland’s Waitemat? Harbour. The New Zealand government declared that new housing development would occur on previously owned Ngati Whatua reserved land. However, Ngati Whatua argued that the land was unreasonably acquired from them as the government’s plan was to section the land for houses.


The development occurred during 1978 when the government proposed to reimburse a small portion of “land and houses to Ngati Whatua if the iwi paid $200,000 in development costs” (NZHistory, 2016). However, the protestors remained to fight for their rights and occupied the Orakei land for 506 days until “police and army personnel removed 222 people from Bastion Point” (NZHistory, 2017). Hence, in 1988 the government agreed to Waitangi’s Tribunal’s suggestion as the Ngati Whatua claimed rights on the land.


The significance of the Bastion Point occupation happened to be New Zealand’s most prominent protest movements in history. Since, it generated several Maori activists across New Zealand to fight for their land, for example, “Raglan protest (1978), the eighty-day occupation of P?kaitore (1995)…” (Weebly, n.d.). Therefore, this significant event had renewed Maori identity to uphold their culture.