Story: Nation and government

The right to vote (1st of 2)

The right to vote

When democratic government was first instituted in New Zealand, only adult males who owned or rented property of a certain value were permitted to vote. Before the end of the 19th century the country had universal adult suffrage. In 1893 women were given the right to vote. New Zealand was the first country in the world to extend this right to all its women. The step was taken only after women organised a vigorous campaign, which included presenting this massive petition to Parliament.

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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: LE 1, 1893/79

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'Nation and government - The electoral system', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 May 2022)

Story by John Wilson, updated 1 Sep 2016