125 years ago the suffrage movement gave New Zealand women the right to vote, and with it gave them a voice.

Creative director Justine Black - who works for NZME, publisher of the Herald - expresses that voice in the form of a paint brush.

Today, she was given the opportunity to create a piece of artwork to feature in the Herald's special Women's Suffrage edition. Black painted an artistic celebration of 125 years of women's suffrage in New Zealand.

"It was really special to be part of the Suffrage 125 project," she said.

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"I want to create a piece that, as a female leader in the company, would represent my visual thoughts of what today is all about, celebrating the strength, beauty and hope of New Zealand women."

Celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage today in New Zealand. It was such an honour to work on this piece for The New Zealand Herald. . . . Liquid watercolour and ink on Italia 550gsm. Her Story is an artistic celebration of 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. Representing strength (through stone) and beauty (through flora), a female figure breaks free of her surrounds to see a new beginning, full of hope and equality. The artwork’s centrepiece is a white Camelia symbolic of both the suffrage cause and as recognition of New Zealand’s unique position at the heart of the wider pacific community. A striking, multihued mix of Aotearoa flowers erupt into bloom around it – pikopiko, kowhai, flax buds and hebe – signalling growth, diversity and opportunity. Drawn in ink and watercolour, Her Story is brought to life with bold, striking colours. Defiantly it speaks: we are women, we are proud, we are bold, and we are strong. Every woman has a story. #herstory #womenssuffrage #womenssuffrage125 #strongwomen #nzherald #watercolour #nzart #nzartist #doitfortheprocess #ink #art

Posted by Art & Design by Justine Black on Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The painting was done over a 12-hour period, with various stages completed the week prior.

The Kiwi artist explained how each part of the painting represented different elements New Zealand women portray to the world.

"Representing strength [through stone] and beauty [through flora], a female figure breaks free of her surrounds to see a new beginning, full of hope and equality.

"The artwork's centrepiece is a white camellia symbolic of both the suffrage cause and as recognition of New Zealand's unique position at the heart of the wider Pacific community.

"A striking, multihued mix of Aotearoa flowers erupt into bloom around it – pikopiko, kowhai, flax buds and hebe – signalling growth, diversity and opportunity."

Black's artwork was drawn in ink and watercolour, with "Her Story" brought to life through use of bold, striking colours - signifying the strength of Kiwi women.

She feels her contribution to today's Suffrage 125 special edition is a sign she's come full circle after starting off as a junior in the Herald ranks.

"I'm very proud. I started as a junior designer at the Herald and it's somewhere I wanted to work. So to see it in print today is pretty cool. It's significant on so many levels.

"Every women who was involved in NZME's 125-year women's suffrage celebration feels like it's been a special day. It was a moment in history and it was great to play a small part in that."