Issue date
5 September 2023
S130 dark

2023 is a special year for wāhine in Aotearoa marking 130 years since women fought for, and secured, the right to vote.

Artist Vanessa Smith has developed a beautiful symbol that represents the importance and significance of this milestone.

Suffragists gave white camellias to their supporters to wear in Parliament during the passing of the Electoral Act 1893. Since then, the flower has become the symbol of New Zealand women’s suffrage movement.

There are 130 petals in this hand-drawn camellia — one for each year — representing a moment of gratitude for the suffragists and wāhine across Aotearoa who fought tirelessly for this right. It's a tribute to all women who have contributed to Aotearoa’s progress for women’s rights, past and present.

Each element is hand-drawn, representing the raw, emotionally charged spirit of the movement that still resonates 130 years later.

This symbol isn't about perfection; it's about humanity, relatability, and progress. Just like the journey towards equality, it's uniquely imperfect, yet incredibly powerful.

Together, let’s celebrate our progress, reflect on our past, and acknowledge the path that still lies ahead.

You can read more about the concept of this beautiful design on Vanessa’s website.

Note: Please help us maintain the mana and integrity of this design—our camellia is only to be used on Manatū Wāhine official content. You are welcome to share our content on social media to celebrate suffrage 130—we love to see how you are commemorating!

Find out more about Suffrage 130