Celebration of New Zealand women gaining the right to vote in 1893 – a world first
People gathered at the steps of Parliament Buildings in Wellington on Wednesday 19 September for speeches and free performances in honour of the day 125 years ago when the 1893 Electoral Act was passed in New Zealand, making this country the first in the world to grant all women voting rights in parliamentary elections.
A group of men and women in colourful traditional Cook Islands dress waited in the shadow of the 'Beehive'. Then a solitary figure dressed in black moved slowly towards the group, holding a large, gently smoking poi in one hand.
A group of six Maori and Pasifika women moved in a stately procession across the grounds.
The performance was called 'Mausina', and directed by internationally acclaimed artist Lemi Ponifasio (founder of the dance theatre company MAU). It combined Maori and Pasifika languages, sound and movement, expressing 'adaptability and resilience' in a turbulent world.
The wind played over the dancers' graceful dresses on this beautiful spring evening.
This wahine with her spanner was unforgettable!