Suffrage symbol

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Fight for suffrage and the Empire

12:10 to 1pm, Wednesday 28 February 2018

Free – booking is not required

Programme Rooms, Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets

It is often said that New Zealand women ‘fought’ a battle for the vote, while their role in World War One has been largely overlooked. New Zealand vaunts its famous first of women’s suffrage, but not the firsts of the war, for example:

  • the first woman doctor in a British military medical unit
  • the first member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service
  • some of the first-ever OBEs and MBEs.

In this talk, Jane Tolerton explores how the feminist 1890s fuelled female ambition and how this was expressed in the fight for suffrage and in the 1914–1918 war. The latter included all-female Scottish Women’s Hospital units largely funded by British suffrage societies, which were still waiting to get the vote.

About the speaker

Jane Tolerton is the author of:

  • Make her praises heard afar: New Zealand Women overseas in World War One
  • An awfully big adventure, and
  • Ettie Rout: New Zealand’s safer sex pioneer.

Dr Mary Blair In SalonikaDr Mary Blair in Salonika 'Muggins is bored'. Image courtesy Maryanne Blair.

For more information, email

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Call Me Royal

7pm, Friday 9 March 2018

$29.  Tickets available at New Zealand Festival website

National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets

Selina Tusitala Marsh performs live

Last Festival’s National Library of New Zealand Poet Laureate event sold out, so be quick to join us for another scintillating evening of poetry. 

This year the New Zealand Poet Laureate, Selina Tusitala Marsh, performs her epic "The Queen’s Sequence", inspired by her meeting Queen Elizabeth II in 2016 and other queens. 

After interval refreshments, she will be joined on stage by fellow poets Tusiata Avia, Serie Barford and former Laureate Jenny Bornholdt to share selected readings, with poet Paula Green as chair.

In association with the National Library of New Zealand and Te Mata Estate Winery

Selina Selina Tusitala Marsh