Writing a Biography Guide – 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition HTML

In 1893 Aotearoa New Zealand became the first country in the world in which all women gained the right to vote in general elections — thanks to the women who created, organised and signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition. Now we need your help to tell their stories.

13 petitions were submitted to the House of Representatives in 1893 demanding the right for women to vote. They contained the signatures of 31,872 women from across the country and across the social spectrum. 12 of the petitions have not survived, but the "monster" that did contains 25,519 signatures, including some men.

Our goal is to collect as many biographies of these signatories as possible, and we want you to help us.

Your research will add to the growing number of biographies created for He Tohu, an exhibition of three constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand (and home of the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition). It will feature on the suffrage interactive on the floor of the exhibition, and also on the Women's Suffrage Petition database at NZHistory.

Your work will help recognise and celebrate the important achievement of these individual women who, by acting together, made history.

Getting started

The best place to start is the Women’s Suffrage Petition database on NZHistory.

This database allows you to search by surname, by suburb or town, by city or region, or by sheet number. A digital version of each sheet of the Petition is available.

Tips for selecting someone to write about

Where to find information: search tips

Things to watch out for

Writing your biography

Submitting your biography

Please submit your biography and/or images to NZHistory at: webqueries@mch.govt.nz

By submitting your biography to NZHistory it will also appear in the He Tohu exhibition.

You will be credited for writing the biography and notified of any use of the biography beyond He Tohu or NZHistory.

Thank you!

From the team at He Tohu and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage