The Queen's power in making New Zealand laws is largely a formality, but when it came to giving women the vote, the country was in an uproar over what the Governor should do.
For 11 tense days in 1893, suffragists organised meetings demanding Lord Glasgow give his immediate vice-regal assent to the women's suffrage bill that had been passed by Parliament.
On the other side of the wrangle, the liquor industry organised petitions demanding the opposite - with the help, allegedly, of free drinks.
And amid all the shouting, the colony's new Premier, the wily Richard "King Dick" Seddon, who still holds the record for the longest stint in the job, 13 years, just kept everyone guessing.
The struggle for women's suffrage - the right of all women aged 21 or older to vote in parliamentary elections - had gradually gained speed in the 1870s. However the tactics of ever-growing women's petitions and regular bills for legislators to debate shifted into high gear only once the first Liberal government took office in 1891.
Expectations were heightened with the entry of the reforming Liberals, but the question of women's suffrage unleashed competing forces on both radical and more conservative politicians.
The progress towards women's suffrage was never without parliamentary wheeling and dealing, twists and turns. Four women's suffrage bills stalled or were withdrawn or defeated from 1890 to 1892.
Sir John Hall's 1891 women's suffrage bill stumbled through opposition from liquor industry-aligned members of the House. It was passed, but only with an amendment - a clause to allow women to stand for Parliament - which would be considered a step too far until 1919. This ensured the bill's death in the Legislative Council, New Zealand's Upper House, which survived until 1951.
The suffragists ramped up their efforts for 1892: six petitions for the vote, bearing more than 19,000 women's signatures, were presented to Parliament. This was more than double the number of the previous year.
The petitions came to be organised by the charismatic Kate Sheppard, of the Christian Women's Temperance Union (WCTU), an organisation that grafted the growing call for women's equality with men on to the sentiments of the anti-liquor movement.
Established in New Zealand in 1885, the WCTU wanted to purify politics and society. It believed women would refine the polling booth, were "less accessible" to vote bribery, and would be more inclined to vote for peace. By being excluded from voting, the WCTU argued, women had been classed with juveniles, lunatics and convicts.
The campaign faced arguments, based on religion and tradition, that women's "natural" sphere was the home and that upsetting this by drawing them into the turbulent men's world of politics would wreck the social order. Then there was the formidable liquor industry, which feared the women's vote would swing the electorate towards tighter alcohol controls.
Radical Liberals - and some conservatives - thought most women would support radical reforms. Other Liberals - and many conservatives - thought women would vote conservatively.
George Stead, a Christchurch businessman and chairman of the Press newspaper company, voiced the fears of the conservative minority in a letter to Hall.
"I cannot help expressing the opinion that you are making a fatal mistake in advocating the female franchise. It will double the majority against us and make the country more communistic that it is already."
"There are more poor than rich in the world and the poor women having no sense of justice or in fact of right or wrong will be the most ardent supporters of spoliation. I have been amongst the poor in Christchurch quite lately and it is among women that one hears the most democratic and revolutionary theories."
Seddon biographer Tom Brooking writes that by the end of 1892 it was clear there was considerable public support for the women's franchise.
"A huge petition of over 30,000 signatures, representing nearly a quarter of the adult women in New Zealand, collected by Kate Sheppard and presented … [to Parliament] on 28 July 1893, reinforced this point.
"No Government promoting itself as liberal, advanced and progressive could afford to swim against such a democratic tide."
Brooking told the Herald that Seddon and most of his Cabinet, rather than being "misogynist or anti-suffrage per se", were terrified that enfranchised women would vote the Liberals out of office.
Alongside the national suffrage campaign, there was a brief push for voting equality in the Kotahitanga, the autonomous Māori Parliament that existed from 1892 to 1902. In 1893, Meri Mangakahia, the Speaker's wife, was recorded as being the first woman to address the Kotahitanga Parliament when she proposed, unsuccessfully, that Māori women be allowed to vote at its elections and stand for membership.
All Māori men were permitted to vote in the New Zealand Parliament's elections from 1867, initially only in Māori electorates. This was 12 years before the franchise was extended to all men regardless of property ownership. All Māori women gained the right in the 1893 change, despite doubts while the bill passed through the House.
The WCTU's current president, Annette Paterson, said the importance of Sheppard, who lobbied politicians and wrote letters to editors and pamphlets as well as organising meetings and the petitions, can't be overstated in the history of women's suffrage.
"She was the driving force. Without her, it wouldn't have happened."
Paterson said those involved in the petitions went to enormous effort to gather signatures.
"They did a fantastic job. There weren't cars. They would go out on the bike, ride around getting [signatures], they walked miles, they rode a horse."
The last petition comprised more than 500 individual sheets, which were glued together to form a 270m-long scroll that was ceremoniously rolled out down the aisle of the House by Hall in July 1893.
After the Electoral Bill passed the House, the Government's "double dealings" began to emerge in the Legislative Council, writes historian Patricia Grimshaw. Councillors newly appointed by the Government didn't all support women's suffrage.
Supporters in Parliament were given white camellia flowers - which became a symbol of women's suffrage - to wear in their buttonholes. Opponents were given red ones.
Newcomers in the council unsuccessfully proposed delaying women's voting until after the next election, and allowing women to be elected. The Opposition unsuccessfully proposed allowing women to vote by post, which would have led to the Government killing the bill because of fears employers and postmaster-shopkeepers could influence women's votes by the threat of dismissal or withholding credit.
But in the crucial council vote, two Opposition members, Edward Stevens and William Reynolds, who had always opposed women's suffrage without postal voting changed sides because of Premier Seddon's meddling in the council.
"So incensed were they at his manipulations that rather than let Seddon get his own way, they themselves switched sides and cast their vote in the bill's favour," said Grimshaw.
After the council passed the bill 20 votes to 18 on September 8, 1893, the Herald wrote, "... the enfranchisement of women has been accomplished by her enemies".
The paper wrote on Saturday, September 9 that the council vote meant women's suffrage "may now be taken as the law of the land".
But during the following week, the 18 councillors petitioned the Governor to withhold his assent, a request virtually without precedent. They wanted a delay so the (male) electorate could express its views on women's suffrage at the next general election. Suffrage supporters in turn threatened to cut off Government spending if there was a delay in getting the Governor's assent.
The Herald said the Governor could refuse assent, seek parliamentary amendments to the bill, or even send it to the British Government and Queen Victoria where New Zealand women's suffrage was likely to be rejected.
"Her Majesty is universally believed to view such an innovation with disfavour," the paper noted.
However, on September 19, the Governor gave his assent and New Zealand became the first country to allow all adult women to vote in parliamentary elections.
Seddon told Sheppard by telegram: "Electoral Bill assented to by His Excellency the Governor at quarter to twelve this day and trust now that all doubts as to the sincerity of the Government in this very important matter has [sic] been effectually removed."
On November 28, 1893, women voted for the first time in a parliamentary election. They enrolled and voted in unexpectedly large numbers. The Liberals were returned to office that year and remained in power until 1912.
Grimshaw said Seddon, who had been an "arch-anti-suffragist", "ironically became one of the world's most enthusiastic advocates of women's suffrage, which he recommended to one and all on his trips abroad".