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 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Pendant

Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Pendant

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 Document Room - Waka Huia Credit: Jeff McEwan, Capture Studios

He Tohu Document Room - Waka Huia
Credit: Jeff McEwan, Capture Studios

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.

 
  Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Drop Earrings

Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Drop Earrings

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.

 
  Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Pendant

Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Pendant

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.


  Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Pin - Men’s Lapel

Suffrage 125 Sterling Silver, Amethyst Pin - Men’s Lapel

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.

Find out more about The Village Goldsmith

Visit He Tohu at The National Library of New Zealand

He Tohu Travel Fund for Schools


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Enabling school students to experience He Tohu Learning Programme

Donations to this campaign contribute to a travel fund, which will allow us to bring school aged children from all around New Zealand to participate in He Tohu learning programme.

The vision for the exhibition is: He whakapapa kōrero, he whenua kura; Talking about our past to create a better future.

He Tohu has three objectives: Improving access to these iconic documents for all New Zealanders and visitors to our country; preserving our fragile and priceless documentary heritage for future generations; and enhancing learning opportunities about the historical, constitutional and cultural significance of the documents for young New Zealanders.

All schools from anywhere in NZ can apply for travel assistance to attend the He Tohu learning programme in Wellington from March 2018.

The level of assistance will be based on a graduated scale according to the distance in kilometres from the school to Wellington CBD.

For further information on how to apply for assistance go to the Travel Fund section


Auditorium – 'Seats of Knowledge'


 The new state-of-the-art auditorium

The new state-of-the-art auditorium

You, your family or organisation can be part of the beautiful new National Library state-of-the-art auditorium.

Staggered “light and dark” areas feature throughout the National Library of New Zealand, and these have been reflected in the design of the new 168 seat auditorium, which showcases the Takarangi spiral — “a journey from darkness to enlightenment.”

Recently rated as “one of the best small auditoria in the Asia Pacific region” by ICE Design Australia, leaders in acoustic and audio visual design services.


There are 168 seats in the auditorium - we need your support to help the National Library share New Zealand’s unique stories and knowledge. Sponsoring a seat for $1500 allows us to continue to deliver excellent experiences, programmes and events that help New Zealanders to turn knowledge into value.

All seat sponsors will be recognised on our special honours board at the auditorium.


Our General Fund


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By gifting to our general fund you are enabling Te Puna Foundation to assist the National Library to collect, preserve and make our documentary heritage and taonga more accessible for all New Zealanders.

This will give the National Library the opportunity to direct funds where they are needed most such as preservation and restoration work on artwork, books and taonga.