When it comes to women's suffrage, Kate Sheppard is a household name.

But her right-hand woman, Annie Jane Schnackenberg, is less familiar.

Annie Jane was a Wesleyan missionary, temperance and welfare worker and one of the driving forces behind women getting the vote.

"Annie Jane didn't need to be front and centre. She was happy behind the scenes," said her great-great-granddaughter Madeleine Schnackenberg.


The 16-year-old is a keen social justice advocate who wants to follow in her ancestor's footsteps.

"It inspires me to stand up for what I believe in and take all opportunities, because I know all the opportunities my sisters and I have, she wouldn't have had."

Madeleine is a Year 12 student at Katikati College where she's actively involved in school politics and social issues - much like Annie Jane, who was vice-president of the National Council of Women in 1896, and national president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

"Being a young woman in 2018 means I have more opportunities than in the 1840s," Madeleine said.

"At school, females have equal opportunities to males but it is a bit daunting knowing that if I want a career in engineering I will be the only woman in the room."

And while we have come a long way, Madeleine says we've still got much further to go.

"Annie Jane paved the way, so suffrage wasn't the only thing she went after - they also went after raising the legal age of consent, ensuring woman have the right to practise law ... That is definitely something I'm interested in because a career in law would be awesome."

Madeleine's parents and sister led Katikati's Suffrage 125 parade.


"I think Annie Jane would be proud of Madeleine," her father, John Schnackenberg, said.

Like her great-great-grandmother, Madeleine has a passion that may take her right to the top.

"I would definitely like to get into politics but I would like to have a solid career before doing so."

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