Exhibition celebrates Otago women

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum visitor host Cora Woodhouse admires embroidered panels highlighting...
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum visitor host Cora Woodhouse admires embroidered panels highlighting some leading and trail-blazing Dunedin women. Photo: Gregor Richardson
An exhibition celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand also highlights the big role played by South Dunedin women in the suffrage battle.

The Suffrage & Beyond: 1893-2018 exhibition opened to the public on Saturday,  125 years since the New Zealand Parliament passed an electoral Bill granting the vote to all adult women.

A  Dunedin street map display showed where the women who had signed an ultimately successful 1893 national petition seeking votes for women had lived.

The display also showed  an estimated 57% of the women living in South Dunedin had signed, compared with 8% in Auckland.

A large display of embroidered wall panels, produced by the Otago Embroiderers’ Guild, highlighted the achievements of several key Dunedin women, including the first Otago female medical graduate,  Emily Siedeberg. 

Museum acting director Cam McCracken said the exhibition had aimed "to celebrate and acknowledge the importance" of women becoming able to vote, by telling local stories through "our own and borrowed collection objects".

Exhibition developer William McKee said the exhibition had taken more than a year to prepare, and had been "formulated by an expert group of local women". 

The reference group wanted to "share the struggles and successes" of Otago women since 1893, he said.

The show runs  until July 28 next year.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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