Make a Beautiful Statement with the Suffrage 125 Jewellery Collection
125 years ago, New Zealand women were vigorously campaigning to achieve the right to vote and would finally win that right in September of 1893.
The 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition is on display in a state-of-the-art conservation case to preserve the document for all New Zealanders as part of the permanent multi-award winning He Tohu exhibition at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington. You can view this important document which represents a monumental part of New Zealand history.
As part of the celebrations 125 years on, Te Puna Foundation, the independent charity established to support the National Library, invited The Village Goldsmith to design a pin, pendant and earrings that pays tribute to these women.
Suffrage: A Brief History
On 19 September 1893, after the suffragists submitted a petition with nearly 32,000 signatures, New Zealand became the first self-governing country to grant women the vote. In most other democracies – including Britain and the United States – women did not get that right until after the First World War. Another major milestone was then achieved when New Zealand women voted for the first time in a general election on 28 November 1893.
He Tohu and Te Puna Foundation
The 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition, fondly known as the ‘Monster’ petition, is on display as part of the permanent multi-award winning He Tohu exhibition at the National Library in Wellington. Proceeds from purchases of the Suffrage jewellery are being donated directly back to Te Puna Foundation which helps fund the brilliant work the National Library carries out.
By gifting to the Foundation, New Zealanders will enhance the National Library’s ability to share New Zealand’s unique stories and knowledge as well as continue to deliver excellent experiences, programmes and events that help New Zealanders to turn knowledge into value. Your gift will also assist Te Puna Foundation's Travel Fund for Schools which enables school aged children from all around New Zealand to participate in He Tohu's learning programme.
The White Camellia - A Symbol for Suffrage 125
The white camellia features alongside Kate Sheppard, the leader of the Women’s Suffrage movement on the New Zealand ten dollar note. The white camellia is seen as a symbol for women’s suffrage. In 1893, the Electoral Bill passed through the House of Representatives, and white camellias were presented to Council members who supported the suffrage bill to wear in their buttonholes.
Crafting the Suffrage 125 Jewellery
The team of designers and craftspeople at The Village Goldsmith took inspiration from the Suffrage 125 camellia symbol and interpreted this into sterling silver jewellery featuring purple amethyst gemstones. Purple is an important colour that represents dignity and self-respect.
The rippling lines of sterling silver were inspired by the camellia as well as the soul-stirring He Tohu exhibition’s ‘waka huia’ treasure box in which the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition is housed. The design allows light to pass through and bounce off the open folds of silver, reflecting the purple hues of the amethyst gemstone at the heart of these pieces.
Make a Statement and Make it a Beautiful One
The wearer of the jewellery can feel as if they have put themselves in the shoes of those women who fought so hard for the right to vote 125 years ago, as we all remember, celebrate and look to the future to continue to progress women's rights here and around the world.
The pin, pendant and earrings are available to purchase in-store and online at The National Library store and The Village Goldsmith in Wellington. They are also available online through the Air New Zealand Airpoints Store. Air New Zealand is a proud supporter of
Te Puna Foundation.