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Are We There Yet? An Evening with Jan Tinetti

Suffrage 125 Tauranga: Media Release, 18 September 2018

Former principal of Merivale School and current Labour List MP based in Tauranga, Jan Tinetti will be speaking in Tauranga on Wednesday this week as part of the Suffrage 125 celebrations. Jan will take part in a discussion moderated by community advocate Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell. After her talk, she will spend time answering questions from the floor.

This event is hosted by the Suffrage 125 Tauranga Committee. 2018 marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. On 19 September 1893 the Electoral Act was signed into law, giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.

Jan passionately believes everyone should have equal opportunity to succeed in life. Throughout her career in education, she has fiercely advocated at a national level for equal educational opportunities.

Jan believes that all New Zealanders, regardless of their background, deserve the opportunity to be the best they can be. “I am really looking forward to having an interactive discussion on how far women’s issues have advanced in 125 years and how far we still have to go to ensure equality for all women”, she said.

Earlier in the day, Jan will plant ‘Kate Sheppard’ camellias at Robbin’s Park to remember the 2018 Suffrage commemoration. An existing ‘Kate Sheppard’ camellia was planted in the park in 1993 during the Suffrage Centenary.

The white camellia flower (Camellia japonica alba plena) became the symbol of the New Zealand women’s suffrage movement after the suffragists presented a white camellia flower tied with a white ribbon on 12 September 1893 to those members of the House of Representatives who had voted in favour of women gaining the vote.

However, on 16 September 1893, a basket of red camellia flowers were presented to an MP by a group of anti-suffrage women for those who voted against women’s franchise, thus beginning the ‘Battle of the Buttonholes’. A reporter at the time wrote, ‘let us hope that the ladies of the red and white camellias may not meet’

Camellia shrubs often produce masses of blooms in September, and this is likely why they were used by the suffragists. Today they are worn on Suffrage Day, 19 September, and also feature on the $10 note.

For the 1993 suffrage centennial Taranaki camellia breeders Viv Joyce and her father Alf Gamlin bred a special variety of white camellia. They named it ‘Kate Sheppard’ after the Christchurch feminist and suffrage leader. Many plantings of this variety of camellia took place across the country.

Where: Tauranga City Council chambers
Meet and greet from 5.30pm.
When: 6.00pm on Wednesday 19 September.
We anticipate the event will be finished by 7.30pm.

The event is free, but bookings are essential.

“Proud to be a part of the Suffrage 125 national event programme.” #suffrage125 #suffrage125tauranga #whakatūwāhine


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