For its celebration of Suffrage Day 2023, Manawatu Branch planned a field trip to Wellington. Unfortunately by the time 19th September came round, numbers able to make the trip were depleted and it was a small group that took part. Thus it became a reconnaissance trip in preparation for 2024.
Three of us drove to Waikanae and took the train to Wellington; as we passed each station in turn we counted the number of empty carparks, which confirmed that we had made the best choice of starting point. Checking out the train timetable made it clear that this is the simplest way to travel, and we arrived in good time for our booked tour of Parliament. We found out that there is an alternative tour that focuses on suffrage and so we’ll book for that one specifically next year.
After the tour we crossed over to the Cathedral of St Paul and perused the “Trail of Light” book put together by Landmarks Project Celebrating Women Trust (chaired by Dame Miriam Dell) in recognition of the centennial of women’s suffrage. It contains biographies of 100 notable women over the previous 100 years. Three volumes of the book have been digitised and available via the Wellington City Recollects website: Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3.
Staff at the National Library told us that the Suffrage Petition itself can still be viewed, though the accompanying interpretation, which adds richness to understanding, was not available because of building renovations.
Of course, we made visits to cafes for nourishment and a sit, but the Backbencher pub was closed until too late in the day for us to sample that venue with its large puppets of politicians. All the sites we visited are in easy walking distance of each other and a short distance from the station, and we look forward to bringing the rest of the group next year.
Manawatu Branch President