World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard
Kate Sheppard, photographed in 1905
Born Catherine Wilson Malcolm
(1847-03-10)10 March 1847
Liverpool, England
Died 13 July 1934(1934-07-13) (aged 87)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Other names Katherine Wilson Malcolm
Home town Liverpool
Spouse(s) Walter Sheppard (m. 1872)
William Lovell-Smith (m. 1925)
Children Douglas Sheppard (b. 1880)

Katherine Wilson "Kate" Sheppard (10 March 1847 – 13 July 1934)[1] was the most prominent member of New Zealand's Women's Suffrage and was the country's most famous suffragette. She also appears on the New Zealand ten-dollar note. Since New Zealand was the first country to introduce universal suffrage in 1893,[3] Sheppard's work has had a considerable impact on women's suffrage movements in several other countries.


  • Early life 1
  • Women's suffrage movement 2
  • National Council of Women 3
  • Later life 4
  • Commemoration 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Sources 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Kate Sheppard was born Catherine Wilson Malcolm in Liverpool, England to Scottish parents Jemima Crawford Souter and Andrew Wilson Malcolm.[4] She generally preferred to spell her given name "Katherine", or abbreviate it to "Kate". She received a good education, and was noted for her intellectual ability and broad knowledge. For a time she lived with her uncle, a minister of the Free Church of Scotland at Nairn.[3] In 1869, several years after her father's death, Sheppard and her siblings immigrated with their mother to Christchurch, New Zealand. She married Walter Allen Sheppard three years later, and their only child, Douglas, was born on 8 December 1880.[4]

In 1885, Kate Sheppard became involved in establishing the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union, part of the larger temperance movement.[3] Sheppard's involvement arose primarily from her religious beliefs, which she had derived from her uncle.[4]

Women's suffrage movement

Discovering that much of the support for moderation came from women, the Temperance Union increasingly became active in advocating the cause of women's suffrage, an area in which Sheppard quickly became prominent. Her interest in women's suffrage, however, went beyond practical considerations regarding temperance: her views were made well known with her statement that "all that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome."[5] Sheppard proved to be a powerful speaker and a skilled organiser, and quickly built support for her cause.[4]

Sheppard helped introduce the first suffrage bill in 1887.[5] In 1888, she published a pamphlet entitled Ten Reasons Why the Women of N.Z. Should Vote which championed the reasons women should be allowed to vote and also displayed her "dry wit and logical approach."[3]

The Temperance Union presented a petition in favour of women's suffrage to

  • Brief biography at NZ Edge
  • "Kate Sheppard's Story" at NZGirl
  • "Celebrating Women's Suffrage 106 Years On" at NZine

External links

  • Malcolm, Tessa K. (30 October 2012). "Sheppard, Katherine Wilson".  
  • Roth, Herbert Otto (1966). "Sheppard, Katherine Wilson". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. 
  • "Kate Sheppard House". Register of Historic Places. New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  • "Brief history – women and the vote". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  • Brewerton (20 December 2012). "Kate Sheppard". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  • "A brief history of women and the vote in New Zealand" (PDF). Retrieved 21 May 2013. 


  1. ^ Malcolm 2012.
  2. ^ Roth 1966.
  3. ^ a b c d Fleischer, Jeff (2014). Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcom X. San Francisco, California: Zest Books. pp. 151–154.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f Malcolm, Tessa K. (30 October 2012). "Sheppard, Katherine Wilson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – The Enclyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Lusted, Marcia Amidon (March 2009). "International Suffrage". Cobblestone 30 (3): 40.  
  6. ^ a b Adas, Michael (2010). Essays on Twentieth-Century History. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press. pp. 91–92.  
  7. ^ Kate Sheppard House.
  8. ^ "House Competitions". Cashmere High School. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "School houses – Student information". Christchurch Girls' High School. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Houses". Rangiora High School. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 


  1. ^ Sources such as the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography,[1] give a birth year of 1847; others such as the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (1966) give a birth year of 1848.[2]


See also

Several New Zealand schools have houses named after her. In the Greater Christchurch area alone, a Sheppard house exists at Christchurch South Intermediate, Cashmere High School,[8] Christchurch Girls' High School,[9] and Rangiora High School.[10]

One of the streets in Wellington's parliament precinct is named after her. Kate Sheppard Place is a short one-way street running from Molesworth Street opposite Parliament House to the intersection of Mulgrave Street and Thorndon Quay. A Kate Sheppard Avenue also exists in the Auckland suburb of Northcross.

A play about Sheppard and the Temperance movement 'O Temperance', written by acclaimed New Zealand playwright Mervyn Thompson, was first performed in 1972 at the Christchurch Court Theatre. Actress Judy Cleine played Sheppard.

Sheppard is considered to be an important figure in New Zealand's history. A memorial to her exists in Christchurch, and her image appears on New Zealand's ten-dollar note. The Fendalton house in 83 Clyde Road where the Sheppards lived from 1888 to 1902, known as the Kate Sheppard House, is registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I heritage building, as many of the events relevant to women's suffrage happened there.[7]

Kate Sheppard's grave at Addington Cemetery


In 1925, Sheppard married William Sidney Lovell-Smith, her first husband having died in 1915 in England. Lovell-Smith died only four years later. Sheppard herself died in Christchurch on 13 July 1934. She is buried at Addington Cemetery in a family grave.

In 1904, Sheppard returned to New Zealand. She remained relatively inactive in political circles, but continued to write. While she did not recover her former energy, her health was no longer declining, and she continued to influence the New Zealand women's movement to a great extent. In 1916, Sheppard and a group of other prominent suffragettes were able to revitalise the National Council of Women, which had gone into recess.

In 1903, Sheppard stepped down from her positions at the National Council of Women due to ill health. Later that year, she and her recently retired husband moved to England, intending to retire there. She briefly stopped in Canada and the United States, meeting American suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt. In London, she was active in promoting women's suffrage in Britain, but was soon unable to continue her work due to her deteriorating health.

Kate Sheppard, circa 1914. Photographer unidentified.

Later life

Many ideas that Sheppard promoted were related to improving the situation and status of women – in particular, she was concerned about establishing legal and economic independence of women from men. She was not wholly occupied with advancing women's rights, however, also finding time to promote political reforms such as proportional representation, binding referendums, and a Cabinet elected directly by Parliament.

The year after women's suffrage was achieved, Sheppard returned to England for a short time, where she met prominent British suffragettes and gave a number of speeches. Upon her return home, she was elected president of the newly founded National Council of Women of New Zealand which had considerable influence on public opinion. Sheppard later became involved in the production of the council's newspaper, the White Ribbon.

National Council of Women

Sheppard had no time to rest, however, as the 1893 election was only ten weeks away. Along with the Temperance Union, she was highly active in getting women to register as voters. One of her largest detractors was the liquor industry, fearing for its continued business.[6] Despite the short notice to register women voters, nearly two-thirds of women cast a vote.[4]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.