The Kate Sheppard National Memorial to Women's Suffrage


Margriet Windhausen



  • Sculpture
  • Bas-relief


  • Bronze
  • Concrete


  • H1950 x W5730mm

Margriet Windhausen, ‘The Kate Sheppard National Memorial to Women's Suffrage’ (1994), CBD, Ōtautahi Christchurch

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


Bronze relief of Kate Sheppard and other suffragettes, flanked by images depicting women working and information panels.

"In 1989 moves were first made towards observing the 100 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote. A memorial to Kate Sheppard was initiated by Women Towards 2000...

... The choice of Margriet Windhausen to produce a national memorial to Kate Sheppard provoked debate. The issue was raised that gender had been put before merit in the choice of the artist. Windhausen’s proposal was considered dull and old fashioned, however the Kate Sheppard National Memorial Committee favoured an unchallenging work that they felt would be understood by the public.

Windhausen created a stone memorial with a life sized bronze relief sculpture. In this sculpture Kate Sheppard is flanked by other suffragists. The group of women are depicted taking the petition to parliament in a cart. Smaller panels on the side illustrate traditional roles for women one hundred years ago, while the history of the women’s suffrage movement and Kate Sheppard’s contribution are also recorded in the outer panels.

When the memorial was unveiled on the centennial of women winning the right to vote, a time capsule was placed within the monument. The time capsule records the names of the memorial fund supporters, news clippings and other material depicting lives of New Zealand women in 1993."

~ quote from "Public Art in Central Christchurch: a study by the Robert McDougall Art Gallery" (1997), compiled by Simone Stephens.