History & heritage  |  19 Sep 2019

The former Christchurch home of suffragist Kate Sheppard is going to be used as a heritage venue and educational centre where people can learn about trailblazing New Zealand women.

The Government this morning announced it has bought Kate Sheppard’s former home in Clyde Road, Fendalton, for $4.5 million.

Today is Suffrage Day.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga will manage the sprawling house, which dates back to 1888 and was used as the base for Kate Sheppard’s suffrage campaign.

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern says the home has huge significance both nationally and internationally as it was centre for the activities that ultimately led to New Zealand becoming the first country to give women the vote.

“The legacy of the suffrage movement and achievements of Kate Sheppard and other New Zealand women will be told at this special place,’’ the Prime Minister says.

“In the lead-up to the 126th suffrage anniversary, the Government has secured this house to recognise all New Zealand women who have made a difference and to highlight the milestones and trends that led to social change in our history.

 “Through a partnership with the University of Canterbury, the house will be used as a base for collaboration, teaching and academic research. In a second educational partnership, schools will be encouraged to bring students for special tours as part of teaching New Zealand history.

"Part of the property can also be available for events and functions, returning revenue into the upkeep of this heritage property,’’ the Prime Minister says.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods says the Government is working with the local community to ensure the best uses of the property.

 “We have a joint vision with the local council in showcasing the suffrage movement and the achievements of Kate Sheppard, profiling women from New Zealand’s history who have made a difference, and providing information reflecting social change, such as the introduction of free education and the establishment of human rights legislation.

 “Purchasing and developing Kate Sheppard’s house as a public asset allows us not only to make it accessible to the public all year round, but we’re able to conserve its unique heritage values for future generations,” the Minister says.