A new series is set to shine a light on some of New Zealand's brightest trailblazers next week, as part of the 125th suffrage anniversary.

Trailblazers will debut on nzherald.co.nz from Monday and features the stories of 12 extraordinary Kiwi women who have changed the world.

The series will feature a combination of high profile women, such as Helen Clark and Dame Whina Cooper, as well as lesser-known stories, such as that of foster mother Wanda Messam and adventurer Helen Thayer.

"Traditionally, newsrooms have been dominated by men, which has historically influenced the stories that were covered," explains executive producer Joanna Hunkin.


"As a result, some women's stories and achievements have gone unknown or unreported.

"Trailblazers gave us a chance to acknowledge and address that imbalance – and celebrate some truly remarkable stories."

One of the women featured in the series is astrophysicist Beatrice Tinsley, who was the first woman to become an astronomy professor at Yale University and is credited with changing how we view the universe.

Originally from New Plymouth, Tinsley is regarded as one of the brightest minds in science – compared to the likes of Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton – yet few New Zealanders know her name.

Funded by New Zealand on Air, the series features original artwork by acclaimed artist Rebecca Hart and was directed by an all-female lineup, including Melanie Rakena, Sophie Musgrove, Sarah Boddy and Rochelle Umaga.

The series is part of a wider Herald project, which will showcase 125 trailblazing Kiwi women throughout history, beginning with the ancient Māori healer Kahupeka.

The interactive project will launch online this Monday.



Watch our special live broadcast from the New Zealand Herald newsroom on Tuesday night, when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joins us as guest editor of the newspaper.

The broadcast will capture all the action behind-the-scenes as well as explore the story behind the Trailblazers project.

Hosted by Laura McGoldrick and Joanna Hunkin on nzherald.co.nz from 7pm on Tuesday.