OPINION: What a way to celebrate Suffrage Day


If you’re a woman in Queenstown, you might have been more than a little miffed last Wednesday.

Sure, some of us could be forgiven for missing the significance of the day.

After all, in between earning roughly nine per cent less than men, doing the housework, looking after the kids and remembering to touch up our lippy, who has the time?

But it was also easy not to realise it was the 125th anniversary of Kiwi women gaining the right to vote because our town largely ignored the milestone.

Unlike Ashburton, where there was a march down the main street, or Auckland, where a 13-metre high projection of the Suffrage 125 – Whakatau Waahine logo graced the Sky Tower, it appears there were no formal events to mark New Zealand’s world-first.

Our MP Hamish Walker wrote a column specifically for Thursday’s Mountain Scene – but without a single mention.

You also would’ve been hard-pressed to find a mention of Suffrage Day in our regional daily paper, Mountain Scene’s sister title the Otago Daily Times, despite most media across the country devoting their front pages to it.

That was in a week where the same paper ran a column featuring an Arrowtown writer calling a former female employee a “bitch” and a “fatso”.

There was acknowledgement in the Queenstown district from some corners.

Glenorchy’s Rural Women of NZ branch had planned to dedicate a commemorative bench (the snow unfortunately put a stop to that), and when the Scene arrived in mailboxes on Thursday there was a full page marking the occasion with two of our female district councillors.

But in 2018, a year in which our young, female Prime Minister had a baby while in office and the #MeToo cause became a social justice movement across the globe, it feels like we fell well short of the mark.

It doesn’t take much to acknowledge the long fight of New Zealand’s suffragettes, but it does speak volumes when we don’t.

So, bearing all that in mind, this writer is a tad frustrated.

Of course, that might just be because women are too emotional.

It’s hard to say.