The man in the centre of this 1899 photograph was handing out election information near the Drill Hall, Auckland, on election day. When printed in the Auckland Weekly News the photo’s title – ‘An enthusiastic committeeman’ – referred to the committees that were set up to elect a particular candidate. Committees were a forerunner of political parties, which were still developing in the late 19th century. A candidate relied on the energy of his committee's members for the success of his campaign. By 1919, when women could also stand for election to Parliament, political parties had taken over this role.
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