The Rotorua community is invited to a walk, ceremony and picnic lunch celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.

Members of the Zonta Club of Rotorua invite people to join them on Saturday, September 15, 11am to 2pm, to a gathering and picnic at the Zonta Suffrage Grove in Centennial Park - formerly known as the Rotorua Tree Trust.

The Zonta Suffrage Grove, established in 1993, has 35 trees planted to acknowledge Rotorua women and community groups, with many of them having contributed to women's advancement in Rotorua.

Starting at 11am from the Mokoia Drive car park in Tihiotonga, members and guests will walk through the Suffrage Grove where the names of each woman or group will be read out and a white camellia placed on each tree.


Zonta Club of Rotorua president Karen Clark says she would like as many family members or representatives of groups honoured to join in marking the special occasion.

"We also invite the public to come along and help us celebrate New Zealand being the first country in the world to give women the vote."

Zonta Suffrage Grove plaque. Photo / Supplied
Zonta Suffrage Grove plaque. Photo / Supplied

Following the walk through the grove, a short formal ceremony will take place with mayor Steve Chadwick planting a new Kate Sheppard camellia to commemorate the 125th anniversary.

Steve will reflect on women in government and Zonta member Sierra de la Croix will give a short history of the suffrage movement.

Weather permitting, everyone is then invited to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy Centennial Park.

To RSVP or for more information, contact Karen on (027) 231 6541.

Zonta is an international service organisation of business and professional women working to improve the status of women through service and advocacy.

In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote.

Many larger democracies, such as Britain and the United States, did not grant the vote to women until after the World War I.