Back in the late 1800's, colonial women were expected to take the role of mothers and housewives. They didn't have a lot of rights or control. But that was about to change:
Kate Sheppard was an independent woman with a calmly persuasive air. She was married to Walter Sheppard; they had one son, Douglas. Her philanthropy was instilled in her by her lawyer father; and she and her sister came to be known as some of Christchurch's first women bikers.
Kate Sheppard first came to be familiar with a lot of the social issues at the time through the Women's Christian Temperance Union, when they came to New Zealand to speak against alcohol. The WCTU soon realised they should form an enfranchisement department, as being able to vote would mean women would actually get listened to
The suffragists' fights were long and hard. However, compared to other countries such as England and the US, it was positively peaceful. Instead of being trampled by horses, points were evidenced with petitions. Instead of hunger strikes, statements were made with camellia flowers.
There were many petitions presented to the government over the course of 1880-1893. But perhaps the most famous story of all is of the "main" petition; where Kate Sheppard rolled her long, long petition around a broom handle. Then she presented it to Parliament, rolling it out to display approximately 24,000 signatures. It was apparently quite the sight.
...came in September 1893. New Zealand officially became the first country to give women the right to vote: the first election where voting was not limited to men was held just 10 weeks after the Electoral Act 1893 was signed. In that timeframe, about 84% of NZ's female population registered to vote.