One hundred and tweny five years ago, on 19 September 1893 the New Zealand Governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which “all women” were granted the right to vote in parliamentary elections. By “all women” we really mean those who were “British subjects” aged 21 years or over, and in an enlightened move included Māori women. New Zealand residents who were not “British subjects” such as Chinese women were excluded.
In 1893 Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia addressed the Kotahitanga, the Māori parliament that met from 1892 to 1902 in various locations around the North Island, to ask that Māori women be allowed to vote for and become members of that body. Click here to find out more about Meri.
Check out whether your ancestors added their name to the 1893 petition here. I cannot find any Shellock’s but my mother’s research confirms a number on that side of the family did sign. There are some Edgar’s (but not my husband’s family, who arrived too late). On my father’s side there are heaps of them listed – but I don’t recognise any particular names from the family tree, but at 125 years you can forgive me.