Monday 18 September 2017

In 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant all women the right to vote. 19 September is Suffrage Day. You might like to mark the occasion by considering these half-a-dozen books on the politics of women in New Zealand: 
A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes       $70
Professor Barbara Brookes' achievement is phenomenal, spanning two centuries from 1814-2015. Looking at our society through the stories of women, the book tells the political and social history of New Zealand from a female perspective. In the early chapters Brookes covers Maori women’s place within Maoridom and early Paheka contact, early settler roles as missionary wives and traders, the colonial era where roles for both Maori and Pakeha women were altered by the circumstances of a new country, the tensions that arose and the changes to female roles either by design or necessity. The tone is perfectly set - readable, interesting history with enough analytical depth and a wealth of knowledge that places this work among our best histories. The overarching themes are dotted with specific examples of women and their lives in early New Zealand, giving both a depth of analysis and fascinating insights on a personal level, bringing history alive. These vivid accounts are well-illustrated with photographs, sketches, paintings, and maps on most pages.
He Reo Wahine: Maori women's voices from the nineteenth century edited by Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla         $50
"This book presents a rich and ranging collection of Maori women speaking from the nineteenth-century archive. The hopes, the persistence, the effort to set down a cause are all apparent in the words of women presented in these pages. It is in various measures an inspiring, instructive and agonising read." - Charlotte Macdonald, Victoria University of Wellington
>> Disrupting the narrative of our colonial history
Polly Plum, A firm and earnest woman's advocate: Mary Ann Colclough, 1836-1885 by Jenny Coleman          $40
Coleman argues that Colclough was just as important as Kate Sheppard for the New Zealand women's movement in New Zealand.

The Women's Suffrage Petition / Te Petihana Whakamana Poti Wahine (1893)       $30
A full facsimile of the 270-metre long petition, with biographies of many of the 24000 signatories. 
The Whole Intimate Mess: Motherhood, politics and women's writing by Holly Walker         $15
"I began to pull the threads of my experience back together. Instead of divergent stories about public failure, private torment, and postnatal distress, I started telling myself a united story: the truth, or as close as I could get to it." A Rhodes scholar and former Green MP, Holly Walker tells the story of how she became one of New Zealand's youngest parliamentarians, how motherhood intervened, and how she found solace and solidarity in the writings of women. 
The Secret Diary of Charlotte Gatland by Patricia Charlotte Dennis        $39
In 1847, Gatland left London high society and travelled first to California during the gold rush, and then to New Zealand, about the social conditions of which (and the prevalent attitude towards women) she makes some very fresh observations. 

Risking Their Lives: New Zealand abortion stories, 1900-1939 by Margaret Sparrow         $40
No Country for Old Maids? Talking about the 'Man Drought' by Hannah August         $15
Does New Zealand's demographic gender disparity provide an opportunity to reconsider prejudices against singleness and nontraditional relationships? 
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 tales of extraordinary women edited by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo    $40
Kate Sheppard is one of the 100 outstanding women featured in this inspiring book. 

>> Read more about women's suffrage in New Zealand <here

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