The Sussex Team

Meghan and Harry mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

For the last engagement of the day, Meghan and Harry joined the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Prime minster Jacinda Ardern for a reception marking the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand!

Meghan and Harry arriving:

Credit: Kensington Palace

Harry and Meghan meet leader of the National Party, Simon Bridges, and his wife Natalie.

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Meghan and Harry had a chat with Jacinda Ardern

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

New Zealand women won the right to vote on 19 September 1893. The reception today marks the 125 anniversaries while being an opportunity to remember the suffragists and what the women fought for, while reflecting on women’s rights today.

More from Library Of Congress:

“With this Act, New Zealand “became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.” Sure, Wyoming granted this right in 1869, and a couple of other U.S. territories followed suit in the next fifteen years or so. Various other places around the world had also granted some women the right to vote or only in some elections, but we New Zealanders are very proud of our “firsts”. Indeed, “New Zealand’s world leadership in women’s suffrage became a central part of our image as a trail-blazing ‘social laboratory’.”

During the reception Meghan met with Pomegranate Kitchen’s cook Majed and co-founder Rebecca. The kitchen offers catering services and delivers delicious meals prepared by former refugees living in Wellington. The girls where “honored to meet the Duke & Duchess of Sussex tonight! We chatted with Meghan about her favorite recipes from her cookbook, and with Harry about the power of food to bring people together.”

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Then it was time for Meghan to give a speech! She began with greeting guests with “tēnā kotou” katoa, before she lauded the nation for being the first to allow women to vote, noting the “larger impact of what this symbolized.”

She said:

“The achievements of the women of New Zealand, who campaigned for their right to vote and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired”

Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

In preparing to mark the historic anniversary of women’s suffrage in the country, Meghan said she “reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolized.Because, yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism,” she added, “but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents,” Meghan said. “The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.”

You can hear the full speech here:

Meghan’s full speech:

“Tēnā koutou katoa. We are proud to be able to join you tonight, in celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in your country.

The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote and were the first in the world to achieve it are universally admired.In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes.

Because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.

Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents – the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.
The involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of.’

And women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women but also about what that represents.
The basic and fundamental right of all people- including members of society who have been marginalise – whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation – to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.

So bravo, New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago for the women who well-deserved to have an active voice and an acknowledged vote and for all of the people that this effort has paved for, globally.

We all deeply thank you. In the words of your suffragette, Kate Sheppard: ‘All that separates whether of race, class, creed or sex is inhuman and must be overcome.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern loved Meghan’s speech and could be seen leaning forward to telel her, that her speech was “perfect” as she returned to Prince Harry’s side after the speech.

Meghan looked absolutely flawless tonight, wearing the Herve dress by Gabriela Hearst

Featuring a flattering square neckline, fitted bodice and A-line skirt, this dress provides ultra-glamorous Hollywood vibes that wouldn’t be amiss on the red carpet. It’s a modified version of the ‘Herve’ dress.

Meghan wore a pair of Stuart Weitzman ‘Nudist’ black sandal

She accesorized with a diamond Tattoo pendant by New Zealand-born jewelry designer Jessica McCormack. Each Tattoo pendant is made into a unique piece by the random setting of the various sizes of diamonds on the spiral motif. The design draws on the designer’s New Zealand heritage and the rich culture of its native people. It is inspired by the fern frond or koru and the ancient Maori tradition of ‘Ta Moko.’

According to Jessica McCormack’s description of the collection:

For the Maori, the practice of ‘Ta Moko’ – a form of permanently scarring and marking the skin – is a deeply personal art. The tattoos are rife with symbolism and meaning – from birthplace and ancestry to social status and rank. No two Moko are the same, but each conveys a sense of history and place unique to its owner. The fern, or Koru, symbolizes new life, strength and peace, and is an iconic symbol deeply familiar to all New Zealanders.

She also wore her Birks Snowflake Large Round Jacket Earrings.

That´s a wrap for today

Tomorrow’s schedule:

  • The Sussexes will start the morning with a visit to one of New Zealand’s most famous cafes to talk to young people involved in mental health projects.
  • Then they’ll visit Abel Tasman National Park where they’ll be greeted with a traditional welcome ceremony, go on a trail walk to learn about the park, and join young ambassadors and school children for a barbecue lunch and tree planting.
  • At night, they’ll visit Courtenay Creative to celebrate the city’s creative arts scene.

Stay tuned!

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