Friday, April 21, 2017

Green Light for NZ Suffragette Kate Sheppard

Big hat tip to Jane for linking me to this smile-inducing news from Wellington, NZ's capital. (We're frankly forever grateful to Jane and Judy, who told us years ago when we met them at a Lake Superior campground that we had to visit NZ.)

In the week prior to the election ‘cross now’ pedestrian lights will be swapped out from a green man to a picture of Kate Sheppard on eight Wellington intersections near Parliament. 

This change will shine a light on the suffrage movement led by Kate Sheppard that resulted in New Zealand becoming the first country to introduce voting for women in 1893.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the new lights will remind New Zealanders of that historic achievement and the importance of our right to vote. 

“Wellington was the first capital where women had the right to vote. It’s this world-leading attitude that we want to continue to showcase in distinctive and innovative ways.”

“Next year is the 150th anniversary of Wellington becoming the Capital, we want people to recognise Wellington as a truly progressive city,” says the Mayor.

The eight intersections that will have the Kate Sheppard pedestrian green lights in place have been chosen based on their proximity to Parliament.

Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says he’d like to see the change become permanent and be rolled out across more sites in the city.

“While the signal change is a small gesture, it marks a truly radical move in history. This is a quintessentially quirky Wellington way to celebrate a unique and important part of our history.”

Archives New Zealand has the Women’s Suffrage petition on public display in their Wellington Office on Mulgrave Street. Further information on New Zealand’s Suffrage movement can be found on the NZ History website

Watch the video to see how simple it was to make the change, which occurred in 2014. Where have I been? (trouble viewing click here.)

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