Parliament's female MPs put aside their political differences for the day to mark 125 years of women's suffrage in New Zealand.

From a breakfast organised by the New Zealand Group of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians to a smiling group photo, the female MPs from all parties came together to mark the day New Zealand women gained the vote.

Acting Women's Minister Eugenie Sage said people needed to consider how to continue making the country a fairer and better place to continue the legacy of the suffragists.

As well as a re-enactment of the suffrage petition, which was signed by more than 25,000 women in 1893, being presented on the steps of Parliament, there was a special suffrage debate by parliamentarians in the House.


"Amongst this seemingly ordinary set of people, the seemingly ordinary 25,000 women, has risen the extraordinary; from that small act of signing a petition," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the first speaker in the debate.

"As we celebrate 125 years, we have to ask ourselves: what has it got us. It's got us all of these wāhine toa in this House, it's got us three female prime ministers, but is that enough?" Ardern said.

National MP Amy Adams recalled vying for selection for the seat of Selwyn.

"I recall very vividly standing for selection and being told quite explicitly that they wouldn't vote for me because what sort of mother would I be to my children if I was in Wellington doing this job — how could I be a good mother and do this job. My response, after picking my jaw up from the floor, was 'actually, I'm doing this for my kids'."

Earlier in the day, female MPs gathered in the Parliamentary Library for a group photo, united by more than divided them.