Marking the vote with flowers

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Flower power: From left, Inner Wheel Club of Queenstown president Pauline Dunbar with members Rosemary Chin, Jenny Mason, Margaret Robins and Louise Dalzell

Three white camellias have been planted in Queenstown Gardens to mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

The Queenstown branch of the Inner Wheel Club, one of the largest women’s voluntary organisations in the world, decided planting the flowers would be a meaningful way to celebrate last September’s date.

The camellias will grow up to three metres in size, and are the variety named after Kate Sheppard, who was the prominent leader of the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand.

In 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to allow women the right to vote in general elections.

In staying true to the theme, the flowers were planted, near a wisteria archway, by three female gardeners.

Long-serving member of Inner Wheel Jenny Mason hopes planting the beautiful blooms will raise awareness but also provide a place of peace for visitors to the garden.

“Inner Wheel has four representatives on the United Nations, with a focus on equality for women and girls around the world. We would also like to think that people in the gardens will appreciate the camellias.”

A plaque explaining the significance of the flowers will be installed at a later date.